New Overnight Developments Abroad: Slow Start to Busy Week

January 26, 2009

Many Asian markets are closed for the Chinese new year: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia,and Vietnam. China will be shut all week.

Australian markets were also closed today in observance of Australia Day.

Japan’s Nikkei dropped another 0.8%, and the Pakastani bourse slumped 2.4%. In contrast, European share prices are higher, with gains of 1.7% in the U.K., 1.0% in Germany and Switzerland, 1.2% in France, and 0.9% in Italy. South African stocks are up 0.8% following their greatest weekly drop in seven weeks.

Ten-year sovereign debt yields are higher in continental Europe and the United States but down in the U.K. and Japan. Euribor rates continued to ease, with the 3-month now a pip under 2.15%.

Oil prices slipped 0.3% to $46.35 per barrel. Gold is another 1.1% higher and above $900 for the first time since October at $907.30 per ounce.

The British Hometrack house price index in January recorded declines of 1.0% from December and a series record 9.4% from a year earlier.

U.K. mortgage approvals, according to the British Bankers Association, were 27% greater in December than November’s record low but 46.8% lower than in December 2007. Net mortgage lending slid over 9%.

A new fiscal package unveiled in Norway of Nkr 20 billion was somewhat smaller than expected. Real GDP in 2009 is projected to dip 0.5% compared to a prior forecast rise of 2.3%.

The IMF will again slice projected 2009 global growth, this time to 1.0-1.5% from an estimate of 2.2% made last November.

Polish retail sales in December were 6.6% higher than in December 2007, a bigger rebound than anticipated, but the jobless rate increased to 9.5% from 9.1% in November.

Two members of the ECB Governing Council made conflicting remarks about interest rates, one suggesting that more cuts would be needed to preserve price stability and the other railing against the danger of excessively low rates. Yet another said Germany’s downturn is steeper than expected. The ECB has cut its key rate since October by 225 basis points to 2.0%.

British Prime Minister Brown said the Bank of England does not target sterling. Press reports in Britain said yet another stimulus package is being prepared. The most dovish policymaker at the central bank, Blanchflower, made a case for cutting U.K. rates to 0.-0.25% as the Fed has done.

Russia’s rouble has been stable today.

Spanish producer prices fell 2.2% in December. Sweden’s trade surplus doubled to Skr 11.0 billion in December from Skr 5.4 billion in November. Retail sales in Hungary fell 2% in November from a year before.

Second-guessing of Obama’s advisors and the team’s economic policy proposals picked up over the weekend. U.S. existing home sales and the index of leading economic indicators will be released at 15:00 GMT. Indices from the some Fed regional banks are also due today.

Copyright 2009 Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.


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