Week 13 2017

Week 13 2017

27 March – 31 March


27 March


The pace of credit growth to households and businesses in the eurozone fell back a little in February. Monthly money supply data from the European Central Bank revealed the annual rate of loan growth to consumers rose by 4.3 per cent last month compared to February 2016, down from 4.6 per cent in January.


Greece’s beleaguered banking system has taken a fresh hit from the country’s shaky bailout talks this year, registering its worst deposit outflows since the height of its debt crisis in the summer of 2015.


Two of Britain’s leading banks have drawn criticism from some big shareholders over decisions to lower the hurdles for long-term bonuses for their bosses, in the latest example of UK companies coming into conflict with their investors over executive pay.


In July 2011 an unusual fascination had gripped some members of New York’s financial community. Walk into a Manhattan office expecting to discuss the US stock market with an investor who exclusively backed equity hedge funds, and they instead had Italian government debt on the brain.


28 March


The performance of risky car loans backing subprime bonds improved in February for the first time since May 2016, as deliquencies fell to 5.35 per cent from 5.6 per cent in January, according to Fitch, a ratings agency.


Some of the world’s biggest agricultural companies have said that key food markets are likely to remain oversupplied for at least three more years, in a likely boon for consumers facing higher inflation but a possible crimp on margins for growers, processors and traders.


The head of Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, said he had no concerns about China’s economy in the year ahead, predicting restructuring of the country’s state-owned enterprises would lead to demand for higher-quality commodities.


Mexico is on a roll. It has notched up a trade surplus in February and the economy grew more than analysts were expecting in January, according to new data out this morning. That on top of the fact that the peso is back within spitting distance of its pre-election level and the stock market hit a record high last week. Trump trouble averted?


29 March


Foreign investors bought UK government bonds again in February after selling gilts at the fastest pace of sales in three years at the start of 2017. Data from the Bank of England revealed £742m of net gilt purchases by overseas investors in February following net sales of £7.6bn January. The January selling was the worst monthly drop since March 2014.


The UK’s currency held its losses after Scotland’s parliament backed a second independence referendum, further muddying the outlook for Britain as it prepares to start negotiating its own divorce from the EU.


The decline in US Treasury prices picked up steam and sent yields higher, after a top Federal Reserve official re-affirmed the central bank’s forecast for two more rate increases this year.


The head of Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, said he had no concerns about China’s economy, predicting restructuring of the country’s state-owned enterprises would lead to demand for the iron ore it produces in Australia.


30 March


Sales growth at Booker Group slowed in its fourth quarter but remained stronger than last year, as the UK’s biggest food wholesaler prepares for a £3.7bn takeover by Tesco.


A boastful WhatsApp message has cost a London investment banker his job and a £37,000 fine in the first case of regulators cracking down on communications over Facebook’s popular chat app.


Slightly stronger-than-expected US economic growth during the fourth quarter is likely to support moves by the Federal Reserve to increase the pace of its policy tightening. However, analysts say the revised GDP figures, in themselves, are not enough to pave the way.


Shares in Singapore Exchange have jumped higher amid reports the bourse operator has recently held exploratory talks with a number of global peers about possible tie-ups.


31 March


China’s factories stopped losing jobs in March for the first time in nearly five years as manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace since 2012, according to an official gauge of the sector.


Mexico’s central bank delivered a quarter-point rate rise in line with market expectations, taking its key lending rate to 6.5 per cent to keep up the fight against rising inflation.


McDonald’s will start using fresh beef patties instead of frozen ones in its Quarter Pounders across the US by the middle of next year, marking a change to one of its biggest-selling products at a time when it is trying to lure back customers.


A late slide has seen Japan’s stock market wipe out its gains for the year. With hefty losses among energy companies, consumer staples and the banks, the Topix ended Friday trading 1 per cent lower at 1,512.6.