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BOV Market Watch - Week Ending 3 June 2016
03 Jun 2016
U.S. manufacturing activity index rose in May. U.S. manufacturing activity increased in May, as a sign that U.S. factories have
adjusted to a strong dollar and economic weakness overseas. Last week the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) says its
manufacturing index rose to 51.3 in May from 50.8 in April. A reading above 50 indicates growth. In May, new orders and production
grew at a slower pace whilst export orders and the employment measure were unaffected. The unforeseen growth by the index came
as twelve of the eighteen manufacturing industries reported growth in May, influenced by wood products manufacturers and textile mills.
The dollar has fallen as from January, following the surge of last year, giving some relief to American factories.

European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged. The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep the interest rates
unchanged, as policymakers expect that the stimulus measures announced previously will boost Eurozone growth and inflation in the
coming months. After the policy session in Vienna, the 25-member governing council, headed by Mario Draghi, kept the benchmark
interest rate (refi) at record low of 0%. In April, the interest rate was held steady, following an unexpected 5 basis point deduction in
March. The deposit rate was left unchanged at -0.40%, following a 10 basis point reduction in March. The marginal facility rate was kept
at 0.25%, after a 5 basis point cut in March. The ECB also declared that on June 8, it will start making purchases under the corporate
sector purchase program (CSSP) and on June 22 it will conduct the first operation in its new series of targeted longer-term refinancing
operations (TLTRO).

U.K. construction sector slowdown continues in May. Survey data from Markit showed that the UK construction experienced another
difficult month as output growth eased to its weakest level for almost three years. The seasonally adjusted UK construction Purchasing
Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.2 in May, from 52.0 in April. It was projected to remain unchanged at 52. The survey revealed that a
third of the respondents had been negatively affected by the uncertainty surrounding the European vote. Samuel Tombs, economist at
Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that “The construction sector is in the doldrums, confirming that the recovery is faring badly under the
strain of Brexit risk.” He also added that “Even after a "Bremain" vote, we doubt that the recovery in the construction sector will race
away.”

German consumer prices rise in May. Preliminary data from Destatis showed that German consumer prices increased marginally in
May, reversing a similar minimal fall in April. The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.1% year on year after a 0.1% decline in
April. The rise was in line with analysts’ projections. The CPI increased by 0.3% when compared to the previous month, meeting
economists’ forecasts. During the month of April, prices declined by 0.4%. The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices was unaltered
annually in May following a drop of 0.3% in April. Economists were expecting a rise of 0.3%. The EU measure of inflation increased by
0.4% from the previous month, defying economists’ estimations of a 0.1% decline. Prices fell by 0.5% in April.

Greece PPI declines at stable rate in April. The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) published its seasonally adjusted data that
Greece’s producer prices fell at a constant rate in April. The Overall Producer Price Index (PPI) in industry recorded a decrease of
10.2% compared with April 2015, the same rate of decline as in March. A fall in the PPI has been recorded since July 2014. Domestic
market producer prices fell by 8.8% year over year in April and prices in the foreign market dipped by 14.8%. Amid the key industrial
groups energy prices fell by 21.3%, followed by the intermediate goods sector with a drop of 3.6%. In April, producer prices increased
by 0.4%, lower than the 2.1% rise in March.

Australia new home sales fell in April. This Housing Industry Association (HIA) said that its survey showed that new home sales
adjusted to 4.7% in April, after rising to 8.9% in March. Detached house sales declined by 3.0% in April while sales of multi units dropped
by 10.8%. HIA Economist Diwa Hopkins said “The trend in new home sales reiterates that the peak for the cycle has passed, but the
descent we're now observing is very mild”. “Our forecasts reflect an expectation that a modest decline in new home building in 2016
will be largely driven by a decline in multi-unit construction, following the successive record levels that occurred in 2015 and 2014,”
Diwa Hopkins said.

Japan retail sales fell 0.8% on year in April. Government Data showed that Japan’s retail sales were down 0.8% from a year earlier,
compared with a decline of 1.2% projections in the survey, marking the fastest decline since March 2015. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
will postpone the tax increase by two and a half years due to concerns that a tax hike could reduce consumer spending even further
and increase the possibility of a return to deflation. Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute said that
“Consumer spending is stagnating.” He also said that “Wages are rising and people are worried about high food prices. I can understand
why the government would want to delay this tax hike.” Retail sales were flat in April, a slowdown from March when they increased by
1.5%.
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