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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 10th July 2020
10 Jul 2020
10 July 2020

US services activity rebounds sharply in June. Activity in the US services sector rebounded sharply in June, almost returning to its pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. However a resurgence in coronavirus cases that has forced some restaurants and bars to close again threatens the nascent recovery. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Monday that its non-manufacturing activity index jumped to 57.1 last month, the highest since February, from 45.4 in May and 41.8 in April, which was the lowest since March 2009. A reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity. The upbeat survey, however, has been overshadowed by raging Covid-19 cases in large parts of the country.

US weekly jobless claims drop more than expected. New applications for unemployment benefits in the US inched down last week and the number or people receiving payments fell to the lowest level since mid-April, signs that the labour market is healing and so far not significantly affected by a rising number of Covid-19 cases in several states. Initial unemployment claims fell by a seasonally adjusted 99,000 to 1.3 million for the week ended July 4, the Labour Department reported on Thursday. That extends a trend of gradual declines from a peak of 6.9 million in mid-March. Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 1.375 million from the 1.427 million originally reported for the previous week. Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also plunged by 698,000 to 18.062 million in the week ended June 27th.

UK Chancellor 30 billion pound plan to support jobs. UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Wednesday announced a package worth 30 billion British pounds to stimulate the economy which has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Among a raft of measures, the package includes tax cuts and bonuses to support jobs. The latest measures are part of the government's three phase plan to boost the economy that is severely hurt by the lockdowns and social distancing measures. The chancellor also announced a job retention one-off bonus of 1000 pounds for each furloughed employee who is still in employment as of January 31, 2021. "We are, as I’ve said before, entering into a very significant recession. We know that that is happening” Mr Sunak said. But he also struck a note of optimism, adding: "We don't want people to be left without hope or opportunity."

Rising food prices weigh on Chinese consumer inflation. China’s consumer inflation ticked up slightly last month as floods in southern China and a new wave of Covid-19 infections in Beijing caused vegetable prices to rise due to short supply, an official statement said on Thursday. The consumer price index, or CPI, which measures the prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, rose 2.5 percent year-on-year last month, up slightly from a 2.4 percent gain in May and ending four successive months of decline, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. At the same time, downward pressure on factory-gate prices eased as domestic demand recovered and global commodity prices picked up.

Australia home loans plummet 10.2 percent on month in May. The total value of owner-occupied home loans issued in Australia tumbled by a seasonally adjusted 10.2 percent on month in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday - coming in at A$12.31 billion. That missed expectations for a fall of 7.5 percent and followed the five percent decline in April. Investment lending plummeted by 15.6 percent to A$4.10 billion after slipping by 4.2 percent in the prior month.
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Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking and investment services in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta) and the Investment Services Act (Cap.370. of the Laws of Malta).