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Weekly Market Report

25 Mar 2019

25 March 2019


The Market Last Week

Global equities ended mostly weaker last week, as slowdown in global economic growth, spurred fears about a US recession.

UK Markets ended the week in positive territory, amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty and global growth worries.

UK’s ILO unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to a 44-year low in the November-January 2019 period.

Average weekly earnings advanced more than market forecast on an annual basis in the November-January 2019 period.

Public sector net borrowing posted a surplus in February.

Retail sales registered an unexpected advance on a yearly basis in February.

UK’s consumer price index (CPI) advanced more than anticipated on a yearly basis in February.

The nation’s retail price index slowed to a 6-year low level on an annual basis in February.

The house price index climbed less than market forecast on an annual basis in February.

The Bank of England (BoE), in its latest monetary policy meeting, held its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.75%, in line with expectations. Additionally, the central bank reiterated that a further tightening of policy at a gradual pace may be required, if the economy expands in line with projections. However, the BoE forecasted a 0.3% gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter.

European Markets ended the week on a negative footing, amid concerns over global economic slowdown.

The Eurozone’s construction output declined on a monthly basis in January.

The Markit manufacturing PMI in the Eurozone unexpectedly dropped to a five-year low level in March.

The Eurozone’s services PMI fell in line with market expectations in March.

The Eurozone’s trade surplus widened in January.

The ZEW survey economic sentiment index in the Eurozone climbed in March.

The Eurozone’s consumer confidence index improved in March.

Current account surplus in the Eurozone widened in January.

Germany’s ZEW survey current situation index declined more than market forecast in March.

The Markit manufacturing PMI in Germany unexpectedly fell for a third consecutive month in March.

Germany’s ZEW survey expectations index advanced in March, notching its highest level in one year.

In Germany, the producer price index climbed less than expected on an annual basis in February.

The services PMI in Germany fell less than market forecast in March.

US Markets ended the week in red, amid rising fears of an impending recession in the US economy.

The US reported a more-than-anticipated monthly budget deficit in February.

The Markit manufacturing PMI registered an unexpected decline in March, marking its lowest level in 21 months.

The services PMI fell more than market anticipations to a two-month low level in March.

Factory orders advanced less than market expectations in January.

Durable goods orders registered a less-than-expected rise in January.

The leading index climbed more than market forecast in February.

Initial jobless claims fell more than market expectations in the week ended 16 March 2019.

The Philadelphia Fed business outlook recorded a rise in March.

Existing home sales climbed more than market forecast to a 3-year high level on a monthly basis in February.

The MBA mortgage applications advanced on a weekly basis in the week ended 15 March 2019.

The NAHB housing market index remained unchanged in March.

Asian Markets ended firmer last week.

Australia’s CBA services PMI in Australia jumped in March.

The ANZ Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence index declined in the week ended 17 March 2019.

The house price index in Australia fell more than market expectations on a quarterly basis in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Australia’s CBA manufacturing PMI recorded a drop in March.

Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in February.

Australia’s Westpac leading index remained flat on a monthly basis in February.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), in its monetary policy meeting minutes, reiterated that there was not a strong case for a near-term adjustment in monetary policy. Meanwhile, members expressed concerns over “significant uncertainties” influencing Australia’s economic outlook.

Japan’s CPI climbed less than market expectations on an annual basis in February.

Japan’s final machine tool orders plunged on an annual basis in February.

The Nikkei manufacturing PMI in Japan remained unchanged in March.


Currency Update

The EUR ended lower against the USD, after the Eurozone’s Markit manufacturing and services PMI declined in March.
The British Pound ended weaker against the greenback, amid ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.
The US Dollar ended mixed against its major counterparts last week.


Fed pauses interest rate hikes, signals end to tightening

The Federal Reserve (Fed), in its March policy meeting, decided to leave its key interest rate steady at 2.5%, as widely expected, amid signs of a slowdown down in the nation’s growth momentum. The central bank signalled that interest rates are likely to remain unchanged for the remainder of the year and it is in no rush for an interest rate hike before 2020. On the outlook front, the central bank downwardly revised its forecasts for overall consumer price inflation, although core inflation is expected to remain at 2.0% over the next three years. Meanwhile, the Fed also confirmed that it intends to conclude the gradual reduction of its balance sheet by the end of September.


The Week Ahead

Going ahead this week, investors will keep a tab on the US GDP, consumer confidence index, housing starts, building permits, trade and current account balance along with pending home sales, new home sales, the Michigan consumer sentiment index, the Chicago Fed national activity index, the Dallas Fed manufacturing index, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for further direction. Additionally, the Eurozone’s CPI, economic and consumer confidence indices along with Germany’s Ifo indices, the GfK consumer confidence index, CPI and unemployment rate will attract significant investor attention. Also, UK’s GDP, GfK consumer confidence index, net consumer credit, mortgage approvals and consumer credit will be on investors’ radar.


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