Archive forFebruary, 2014

‘Have to Watch Inflation in Japan: Franklin’ – Mike Franklin on Bloomberg’s “On the Move”, 28th February 2014

Michael Franklin, Chief Investment Strategist at Beaufort Securities, discusses the impact of Fed monetary policy on world markets. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “On The Move.” – 28/02/2014

UK consumer confidence at record high in February

A survey by GfK NOP revealed the measure of UK consumer confidence in February was unchanged from last month at -7, the highest reading since September 2007. This was an improvement over -13 in December 2013 and -19 for the whole of 2013.

France witnesses record unemployment in January

France’s labour ministry reported that the country’s unemployment rate edged up 0.3% m-o-m to reach a record high of 3.32 million in January, matching previous month’s pace. The rise was majorly driven by higher number of jobseekers above the age of 50. Meanwhile, the number of people looking for full-time employment advanced 0.5% to 4.92 million.

European Commission raises Eurozone growth forecast

Yesterday, the European Commission raised the Eurozone growth projection for the current year to 1.2% from an earlier estimate of 1.1%. Growth estimates for 2015 were also revised to 1.8% from 1.7%. The agency cited improvement in domestic demand as the driving force behind this upgrade; however, it cautioned about high unemployment and weak inflation. Inflation estimates were lowered to 1% from 1.5% for this year and 1.3% from 1.4% for 2015. Meanwhile, jobless rate projections were decreased to 12% from 12.2% for 2014 and 11.7% from 11.8% for next year.

UK service sector sentiment reaches record high

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that in the three months ended February, the optimism of UK service sector companies rose to the highest level since the survey began in 1998. It was the third consecutive quarter of growth for the measure. Gauges of outlook of both consumer and professional services companies posted record readings in February.

G-20 targets boosting the global GDP by over 2% in next five years

The meeting of Group of 20 nations, held over the weekend, decided to support an easy monetary policy for majority of the developed economies. The participating countries resolved to increase the global GDP by over US$2trln in the next five years, translating into a +2% GDP improvement over and above the current expected levels.

OECD warns of slow growth and high unemployment globally

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in its report that global productivity might decrease further in the absence of comprehensive structural reforms. Even with a strengthening global recovery, advanced and emerging economies still faced the risk of low growth, it said. Eurozone countries including Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain were said to have exhibited a sharp progress towards the reform agenda. Meanwhile, the report also recognised efforts made by Australia on the reform front.

Fed likely to revise its rate guidance

Minutes from the January FOMC meeting indicated the Federal Reserve would probably change its guidance on the interest rates. Earlier, Fed planned to consider a hike in the benchmark rates after the jobless rate reached below 6.5%. However, ongoing weakness across the labour market, despite an improvement in the unemployment rate, led the central bank to reconsider its rate guidance.

Scotland can issue own bonds 2015 onwards

Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury, Danny Alexander, announced that Scotland would be entitled to sell its own bonds 2015 onwards. This would result in enhanced funding sources for the country even as borrowing remains limited to £2.2bn. However, the bonds would not be guaranteed by the UK government.

BoJ loan programme extended for one year

Today, the BoJ announced its decision to maintain the pace of its monetary easing programme at the current rate of ¥60-70trln. Besides, the central bank announced doubling of a funding tool to ¥7trln and entitled financial institutions to borrow funds up to an amount twice the net increase in their lending. Moreover, the expiry of both schemes was extended by one year.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigns; Matteo Renzi may form government

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned on Friday. President Giorgio Napolitano is expected to ask Matteo Renzi, the young mayor of Florence and a centre-left leader, to form the government on Monday.

ECB survey reports revision of inflation forecasts

The ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) reported the current year’s inflation forecast was revised downward to 1.1% from 1.5%. The inflation projection for 2015 was also lowered to 1.4% from 1.6%. The survey predicted an inflation rate of 1.9% over the longer term.

BoE to maintain low interest rates

Yesterday, Bank of England’s (BoE) Governor Mark Carney stated the bank would retain benchmark interest rates at the current low level of 0.5% at least until 2015. Previously, the central bank had mentioned that it would consider an increase in the interest rates only after unemployment dropped below 7%. In the quarterly inflation report released by the bank, UK GDP growth projections for Q4 2013 were revised to 0.9% from 0.7% and the growth forecast for 2014 was upgraded to 3.4% from 2.8%.

US House passes bill to raise government’s debt limit

Yesterday, the US House approved an increase in the US government’s debt limit until March 2015 without any conditions. The bill was favoured by 28 Republicans and the Democrats, resulting in a vote of 221-201. Earlier, the Republicans had rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to relate the US$17.2trln rise in debt ceiling to reduction in military pensions.

UK retail sales jump 5.4% in January

As per the British Retail Consortium, retail sales in the UK rose 5.4% y-o-y in January vis-a-vis 1.8% y-o-y in December. On like-for-like basis, sales were up 3.9% y-o-y during the month compared with 0.4% in December. Growth in the non-food category was particularly strong, owing to a 19.2% y-o-y jump in online sales.

Swiss voters support curb on immigration

On Sunday, a large number of people in Switzerland voted for a proposal to limit immigration into the country. As per the Swiss public television SRF, the ‘Stop Mass Immigration’ referendum received 50.3% of the total votes. The referendum requires more than 50% votes to pass. The measure could harm the Swiss economy and its relations with the European Union. Immigrants form roughly one-fifth of the total population in Switzerland.

UK economy to grow 2.5% in 2014

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) upgraded its growth projection of the UK economy for current year to 2.5% from 2%. GDP forecast for the next year stood at 2.1%. The agency said that growth in these two years would be primarily driven by a rise in consumer spending. Unemployment rate was likely to fall below 7% by the end of the year, it added.

BoJ to maintain a supportive monetary policy until inflation stabilises at 2%

Today, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) asserted the central bank would maintain its supportive policy until inflation stabilises at 2%. He assured the negative effect of an increase in sales tax on consumer incomes would be reduced by the government’s economic measures. However, he warned the recent emerging market turmoil was likely to hamper the economy’s progress.

UK shop prices witness record pace of decline in January

Today, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported shop price deflation of 1% in January versus 0.8% in December. January reading marked the ninth consecutive month of deflation in prices. Food inflation was 1.5% in January as compared to 1.7% in December, whereas non-food deflation was 2.7% versus 2.3%.

Germany aspires UK to remain in the EU

Yesterday, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stated the country anticipates UK would play an important role in the EU despite having different views related to the treaty reforms. He said Germany would offer limited support to the UK for a change in the treaty between the latter and the EU.

UK house prices show an uptick in January

Today, data from Hometrack revealed that average asking prices for a house in the UK edged up 0.3% m-o-m in January after advancing 0.5% in December, rising for 12 months in a row. On y-o-y basis, prices moved up 4.8%, gathering pace after increasing 4.4% in the previous month.