Chernobyl Anniversary, Five U.S. Primaries, and Firmer Oil Price

April 26, 2016

Today is the 30th anniversary of the nuclear reactor accident in Chernobyl.  That event still constrains use of nuclear power even as the planet continues to warm.

Today’s U.S. presidential primaries are in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.  384 Democratic Party delegates and 118 Republican delegates are at stake.  Trump is expected to win all five states and currently leads in the Republican race by a count of 845 to 559 for Cruz.  Clinton is projected to win in the first four states, while Sanders leads in Rhode Island.  Clinton has 1944 delegates to Sanders’ 1192. 

A rise in oil prices related to BP’s stronger-than-expected earnings lent overnight support to stocks.  The prices of metals softened.

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil recouped 0.7% to $42.95 per barrel.
  • Comex gold slid 0.3% to $1,234.05.  Copper fell almost 1%.
  • Stocks in the Pacific Rim climbed 1.3% in India, 0.6% in China, and 0.3% in South Korea and Taiwan but fell 1.3% in Indonesia, 1.1% in New Zealand, and 0.5% in Japan.
  • Stocks in Europe have so far risen 1.7% in Italy, 1.3% in Spain, 0.3% in the U.K., 0.2% in Switzerland, and 0.1% in Greece and Germany.

The dollar is mostly lower, with declines of 0.6% against sterling, 0.5% versus the kiwi, 0.3% relative to the yen and Aussie dollar, and 0.2% vis-a-vis the euro and loonie.  The Swissie is flat, and the yuan edged 0.1% lower.

The Malaysian ringgit fell 0.5% in response to a missed bond payment by a state investment firm.

Ten-year sovereign debt yields fell three basis points in Japan to -0.11% and one basis point in Germany to 0.25%.  The 10-year British gilt is steady, and futures point to a lower Treasury yield at the open.

The FOMC begins a two-day policy meeting today that will not be followed by a press conference.  A federal funds rate hike is not anticipated, but a better economic assessment is possible.

The central bank in Hungary, which resumed interest rate cutting last month, announces its latest decision today.  Another cut is quite likely.

The Bank of Japan and Reserve Bank of New Zealand also hold policy meetings this week.  A stimulus in response to lower growth and inflation is possible from Japan.  No change is expected from New Zealand.  Bank of Canada Governor Poloz speaks publicly today.

Several U.S. economic indicators get reported today: the Case Shiller house price index, durable goods orders, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index, a services purchasing managers index compiled by Markit Economics, and weekly chain store sales according to the Johnson Redbook index.

South Korean real GDP growth decelerated in the first quarter of 2016 to +0.4% on quarter and 2.7% on year.  Exports and personal consumption contracted from 4Q15 levels.

Industrial output in Singapore rose 1.0% in March following February’s plunge of 4.7%.  Production was 0.5% lower than a year earlier.

Hong Kong’s trade deficit of HKD 97.5 billion last quarter was down from HKD 118.7 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

The British Bankers Association reported a 3-month low in mortgage approvals to 45,098 in March.

Swedish producer prices posted a smaller 3.7% on-year decline in March after dropping 4.2% in February.  Import prices sank 6.1% on year.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment remained steady at 9.2% in Finland last month.

Copyright 2016, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserves.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

Tags: , , ,


Comments are closed.