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BOV Market Watch - Week Ending 2 November 2018
02 Nov 2018

Eurozone inflation rate ticks up to highest level in nearly six years. Consumer prices across the Eurozone rose at their fastest rate in nearly six years in October, largely due to higher energy costs, official figures showed this week. According to statistics agency Eurostat, the headline measure of consumer price inflation rose by 2.2 percent in the year to October, up from 2.1 percent the previous month. That is the highest reading since December 2012, when inflation stood at 2.2 percent. The last time inflation was higher was in October of that year, when it struck 2.5 percent. With oil prices having come off near four-year highs in recent weeks, and with economic growth weakening, some economists are predicting that inflation may have peaked.

BOE leaves rates unchanged; Brexit to guide outlook. In its monetary policy meeting held this week, the Bank of England (BOE) kept its benchmark interest rate steady, with policymakers voting unanimously to hold rates at 0.75 percent. Last August, the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, the second time since the financial crisis. Despite the rosy economic scenario, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit seems to have hit business sentiment and could bring further volatility, the bank said in a statement. The BOE has so far acted on the basis that the EU and the UK will strike an agreement over Brexit. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 next year, but the government headed by Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to secure a transitional deal that will ensure that goods and people will continue to move freely between Britain and the EU after that date.

US consumer confidence at 18-year high. A measure of US consumer confidence rose in October to an almost two-decade high amid optimism about jobs and the economy. The Conference Board reported this week that its index of US consumer confidence rose to 137.9 in October, the highest level since September 2000. The report, coming amid the recent stock market selloff, bodes well for continued gains in consumer spending which, during the third quarter, accelerated to the highest level since 2014. A robust job market is underpinning household confidence as well as consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of the economy. The report adds to signs of contentment with the economy in the run-up to next week’s US midterm elections that will decide control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

China's manufacturing sector barely grows in October. Chinese factory activity expanded slightly in October despite an ongoing trade dispute with the US, a survey of small and medium-sized enterprises in China showed. The Caixin/IHS Markit Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) came in at 50.1 for October, exceeding analysts' expectations. Analysts predicted the reading to dip slightly to 49.9 from 50.0 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that level signals contraction. The slow growth last month was in line with an official PMI survey release earlier that showed China’s manufacturing sector expanded at the weakest clip in over two years. October was the first full month after the latest US tariffs went into effect.

India’s manufacturing sector activity rises in October on robust order flow. India's manufacturing sector activity improved in October, as firms scaled up production and employment levels amid a strong rise in new business order flows, a monthly survey showed. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index strengthened from 52.2 in September to 53.1 in October as new orders and production increased at the quickest rate in four months.  This is the 15th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI remained above the 50-point mark.

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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).