New Developments Abroad: Many Markets Shut For Good Friday

April 10, 2009

Virtually all European markets are closed. So were Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. U.S. and Canada to shut, too.

Asian stocks rallied, gaining 4.3% in Vietnam, 4.1% in Pakistan, 3.1% in China, 2.6% in Malaysia, 1.5% in South Korea and 0.5% in Japan.

The dollar and yen are a little firmer, each showing rises of 0.4% against the Canadian dollar, 0.3% relative to sterling, 0.2% against the Swiss franc and kiwi, and 0.1% against the Australian dollar and euro.

The 10-year JGB yield closed down 2.5 basis points at 1.45% but not before touching a high of 1.49%.

The International Energy Agency reduced its forecast for global oil demand to a 5-year low of 2.4 million barrels per day.

Japanese Prime Minister Aso formally unveiled a Y 15.4 trillion fiscal stimulus, the fourth so far, and such is projected to generate two percentage points of growth and lift the total of deficit bond issues in fiscal 2009 to Y 44 trillion from Y 33 trillion planned earlier.

Chile’s central bank interest rate was cut by 50 basis points to 1.75%, lowest since 2004.  The size of the reduction was smaller than three cuts in 1Q09 totaling six percentage points.

The Vietnamese refinancing rate was slashed to 7% from 8%, and the central bank also cut the discount rate by a full percentage point to 5%.

Japanese M2 posted on-year growth of 2.2% in March, 2.1% in the first quarter, and 2.1% in 2008.  M3 went up 1.3% in the year to March, and broad liquidity was unchanged.  A 3.4% increase in bank lending, although down from 3.5% in the year to February, still reflects corporate cash hoardingBOJ minutes from the Policy Board’s meeting on March 17-18 foreshadows downwardly revised growth and inflation forecasts at the end of this month.

French industrial production sank by a much less-than-expected 0.5% in February.  Factory output only eased 0.1%. On-year declines amounted to 13.5% for industrial production and 15.7% for manufacturing output. French consumer price inflation slowed to 0.4% on year in March. The monthly gain was 0.2%. The French budget gap widened 32% to EUR 29.9 billion in February from a year earlier, as revenues plunged 21.8%, and spending fell 4.3%.

Thailand’s prime minister declared today a holiday amid mounting unrest, but markets and banks stayed open.

The Bank of Korea released new economic forecasts for 2009 and 2010, showing much weaker growth of -2.4% this year and 3.5% next year.  The central bank expects GDP last quarter to eke out a 0.2% uptick but to be 4.2% below its year-earlier level.

Hungary, Pakistan, and Romania reported lower inflation.  In Hungary’s case the 2.9% pace was in target for the first time in three years.

Industrial production in Slovenia plummeted 22.3% in the year to February.

China’s new agency reported a larger-than-expected $18.56 billion trade surplus in March after $4.84 billion in February and $39.1 billion in January.  Exports (down 17.1% on year) and imports (off 25.1%) fell for a fifth consecutive month.

Readings in the OECD index of leading economic indicators fell in February for the whole group, the United States, Euroland, Britain, Canada, Japan, Brazil, China, India and Russia.  The U.S. reading dropped 1.1 points, while Euroland’s only slid 0.2 points.

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


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