Good Friday 2020

April 10, 2020

With so many countries closed for Good Friday, there’s been no leadership to move world financial markets. The dollar is flat to -0.1% against other key currencies. The 10-year Japanese JGB yield is two basis points lower, while other sovereign debt markets are shut. Equity trading has been minimal, with Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and Indonesia out of action. North American and South American markets also will be closed for Good Friday. Among the few Asian stock exchanges that traded, share prices rose 1.3% in South Korea, 1.1% in Vietnam, 1.5% in Thailand, and 0.8% in Japan but fell 1.0% in China and 0.9% in Malaysia.

Commodities aren’t trading, but yesterday saw sharp swings. A tentative OPEC production reduction deal to which Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed isn’t being supported by Mexico, and the price of West Texas Intermediate crude closed down 9.3% Thursday at $22.76 per barrel. On the other hand, Comex gold climbed 4.1% to $1,753 per ounce.

Finance ministers in the euro area agreed on a EUR 500 billion stimulus package to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but it conspicuously omitted any joint debt issuance, an option that the Dutch have vehemently opposed.

Japanese domestic corporate goods prices slumped 0.9% in March and posted a 0.4% on-year decline versus 12-month increases of 1.5% in January and 0.8% in February. On-year slides of 5.1% in export prices and 7.7% in import prices were the biggest drops in four months.

Japanese bank lending increased 2.0% on year in both March and the first quarter.

Reflecting a much more stimulative Chinese monetary policy to counter economic weakness, new bank lending in that economy during March of CNY 2.85 trillion was three times greater than February’s total. M2 money growth of 10.1% on year was up from 8.8% in February and 8.2% as recently as November.

Chinese consumer prices slumped 1.2% in March and to a 5-month low in the year-on-year comparison of 4.3%. Producer prices were 1.5% lower than a year earlier, also the largest on-year decline in five months.

On-year growth in French industrial production was negative in February (-1.4%) for a third straight month. So was industrial production in Finland, which was 0.1% below its February 2019 level.

Greek consumer price inflation slowed to a 5-month low in March of zero percent. Romanian CPI inflation of 3.0% was its lowest since October 2017.

The Dutch January-February trade surplus of EUR 10.12 billion was 31% greater than a year earlier.

Although U.S. markets are closed for Good Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release CPI data shortly.

Many markets will remain shut after the weekend for Easter Monday, including those in New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Norway, Germany, Spain, Canada, the U.K., and Switzerland. South Africa will also be closed for Family Day.

Copyright 2020, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

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