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BOV Market Watch - Week Ending 07 December 2017
07 Dec 2017

OECD area inflation eases in October. Consumer price inflation in the countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) slowed in October, mainly as a result of lower energy and food prices. Inflation within the economic bloc eased to 2.2 percent in October from 2.3 percent in September, data from the OECD showed. In the meantime, core inflation, that is excluding food and energy, rose slightly to 1.9 percent from 1.8 percent a month earlier. Energy price growth softened to 5.8 percent from 7.7 percent in September. Likewise, food price inflation slowed marginally to 1.8 percent from 1.9 percent in September. Among individual OECD members, inflation weakened in the United States, Canada, Germany and Japan. At the same time, the rate was stable in the United Kingdom and France. The Eurozone experienced an easing in inflation.

U.K. service sector growth slows in November. Growth in the U.K.'s services sector slowed slightly last month after reaching a six-month high in October, as increased operating costs weighed on service providers and Brexit uncertainty dampened growth and confidence. The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), dropped more-than-expected to 53.8 in November from 55.6 in October. Economists had expected the gauge to drop marginally to 55.0. This shows that firms in the sector were still expanding but growth has eased. These services data contrast with record-high order books recently reported in the manufacturing sector and figures showing a return to growth among construction firms.

U.S. manufacturing index indicates modestly slower growth in November. The U.S Institute of Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers’ index dipped to 58.2 in November from 58.7 in October. However, a positive reading still indicates growth in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch down to 58.4. The small decline the manufacturing score still leaves it at an elevated level consistent with solid economic growth. Many analysts are of the view that the depreciation in the dollar this year, together with the strength of demand in the rest of the world, means the outlook for the manufacturing sector still remains bright.

Greece reaches preliminary agreement with creditors over reforms. Greece and its Eurozone creditors have reached a preliminary agreement on the reforms Athens needs to put in place, paving the way for the disbursement of around five billion euro in funds next month and the country leaving its bailout programme in August. The deal covers fiscal issues, energy and labour market reforms, bad loans and privatisations. Financial markets remain cautious of lending to the Greek government and it seems likely that it will still need significant financial support even if it formally exits its bailout next August as hoped.

India's private sector expanded marginally in November. India's private sector registered only a marginal expansion in November, as growth in the manufacturing sector was largely offset by a downturn in the service sector, survey data from IHS Markit showed. The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India composite output index dropped to a three-month low of 50.3 in November from 51.3 in October. Readings above 50 indicate expansion in the sector. Sluggish demand and lower customer turnout due to the recently-launched Goods and Services Tax resulted in a contraction in the services sector. On the other hand, manufacturing orders grew at the fastest pace since October 2016.

Reserve Bank of Australia leaves interest rates on hold amid solid GDP growth. At its last meeting before Christmas, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left its cash rate on hold at the record low of 1.5 per cent. The RBA board noted that it left the cash rate unchanged for the 16th meeting in a row because wage growth was going nowhere in the near term and inflation remained below the target rate of two percent. However, the RBA warned that household consumption in the lead-up to the festive shopping season was a "continuing source of uncertainty". In the meantime, Australia's economy grew at the fastest annual pace in over a year last quarter, with gross domestic product expanding at a 2.8% annualized rate due to a jump in private business investment.

Disclaimer. This documents is issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c. (the Bank) for information purposes and personal use only. This document is not and should not be construed as an offer or recommendation to sell or solicitation of an offer or recommendation to purchase or subscribe for any investment. This information may not necessarily be appropriate and suitable to your particular investments requirements and risk profile. It is therefore recommended that if you require investment advice or wish to discuss the suitability of any investment decision, including if the financial instrument being considered in this research note carries a higher risk than your risk profile, you should immediately seek financial, legal or tax advice from your professional advisers as appropriate. Opinions, estimates and projections in this report constitute the current judgment of the author as of the date of this report. The Bank has obtained the information contained in this document from sources it believes to be reliable but it has not independently verified the information contained herein and therefore its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The Bank makes no guarantees, representations or warranties and accepts no responsibility or liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this document. The Bank has no obligation to update, modify or amend this report or to otherwise notify a reader thereof in the event that any matter stated therein, or any opinion, projection, forecast or estimate set for the herein changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate. Income from an investment may fluctuate and the price or value of the financial instrument described in this report, either directly or indirectly, may rise or fall. Furthermore, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is licensed to conduct investment services by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

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