International Markets Update

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The Federal Reserve dropped its pledge to be "patient" before raising interest rates, freeing its hands to lift official borrowing costs .....

Executive Summary

  1. The Federal Reserve dropped its pledge to be "patient" before raising interest rates, freeing its hands to lift official borrowing costs for the first time in nearly a decade. 
  2. US consumer spending fell for a second straight month in January as households continued to cut back on purchases, opting to save much of the massive windfall from cheaper gasoline. 
  3. The ECB began purchasing sovereign and covered bonds on March. The purchases have averaged just over €3 billion per day, putting it on pace to meet its stated target of €60 billion per month. 
  4. The Eurozone's inflation rate has been confirmed at -0.3% in February, up from the low of -0.6% touched in January due to diving oil prices but still dangerously low as the ECB battles the threat of deflation. 
  5. With several funding requirements coming up over the next few weeks, including a €450 million payment to the IMF on April 9th, the possibility of Greece missing a payment is creating additional volatility in markets, and will likely continue to do so. 
  6. German business confidence increased for a fifth month in March, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is back in position as the region’s economic powerhouse. 
  7. A jump in exports helped to trim Japan's trade deficit in February to its slimmest in nearly two years.

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International Markets Update

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