New Overnight Developments Abroad: Awaiting Slew of U.S. Data

April 15, 2009

Following yesterday’s much worse-than-forecast U.S. retail sales and disappointing earnings reports, stocks fell by 1.1% in Japan, 0.7% in South Korea and the Philippines, and 2.2% in Vietnam. Equities are also trading down 0.6% in France and 0.5% in Germany.

UBS posted a $1.7 billion loss last quarter, and Intel failed to give any profit guidance regarding next quarter.

The dollar is mixed, with drops of 0.8% relative to sterling and 0.2% against the euro and Canadian dollar but advances of 0.3% against the kiwi, 0.2% versus the Swiss franc, and 0.1% against the Australian dollar.  Dollar/yen is unchanged.

Most sovereign bond yields are down appreciably.  For example, the 10-year JGB slid 2 basis points to 1.44%.

Oil is above $50 and up 1.5% from Tuesday close.  Gold is steady and fractionally below $900.

Chinese foreign direct investment inflows were 20.6% lower than a year earlier in 1Q09 but off just 9.5% on year in March.  A press report claims that on-year GDP growth in the first quarter will lie between 6.0% and the 6.8% posting in 4Q08.  This estimate implies better quarter-on-quarter growth in 1Q than 4Q08.

German wholesale prices sank another 0.9% in March and fell 8.0% on year, the biggest 12-month drop since the year to January 1987.  Prices fell three times faster from February than forecast.  The DIW Institute of Berlin revised projected German GDP growth in 2009 to negative 4.9%.  Bundesbank President and ECB Council member Weber said cutting the refi rate below 1% would damage money markets.

Australia’s index of leading economic indicators had a disappointing reading of -5.1% in February, weakest since September 1982, suggesting another quarter in which GDP will have contracted.

Machimura, a Liberal Democratic Party leader in Japan who heads a key parliamentary committee, urged the Bank of Japan to bump up its quota of outright JGB buying.

In Britain, the DCLG house price balance index weakened to -12.3 in February from -11.5 in January.  The RICs house price index improved to a 13-month high of minus 73.1 from minus 78.1.

Spanish consumer price inflation was confirmed as swinging into the red in March, with a 12-month dip of 0.1%.

Czech producer prices fell 2.0% in the year to March.

French retail sales fell by a further 1.3% in March according to Bank of France figures.

South African real retail sales fell 4.5% in the year to February, which was a much weaker print than expected.

Revised Japanese industrial production data showed drops in output of 9.4% on month and 38.4% on year in February.  The inventory ratio jumped by 5.5% from January and 60.8% from February 2008.  Capacity usage plunged 11.9% on month and by 44.3% on year.

Georgia’s central bank cut its refinancing rate by 50 basis points to 6.0%.

Scheduled U.S. data releases today include consumer prices, industrial output, capacity use, TIC capital flows, the NAHB index, the Empire State factory index, weekly mortgage applications and oil inventories, and the Fed Beige Book.

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


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