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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 31 August 2018
31 Aug 2018

Eurozone consumer optimism dips amid unemployment concerns. The Eurozone economic sentiment indicator declined from 112.1 to 111.6 in August, as global and local concerns dampen expectations about the second half of the year. An economic growth rate of 0.4 percent now looks like the best case scenario. The gauge of economic sentiment was dragged down primarily by consumers’ optimism, which declined markedly in August, mainly due to growing concerns about unemployment. However, despite the decline in hiring expectations in manufacturing, service sector employment growth is expected to remain strong.

German unemployment declines in August, jobless rate remains steady.
German unemployment continued to fall in August, as companies took on more workers to increase production capacity. The German Federal Labour Agency reported this week that the number of Germans out of work fell by a seasonally-adjusted 8,000 to 2.33 million in July. In the meantime, the jobless rate held steady at a post-unification low of 5.2 percent. These data are further evidence that the economy is still steaming ahead, even though some German employers have warned about the impact of increased global trade tensions. The German central bank predicts that the economy will expand by two percent this year after a 2.2 percent growth in 2017.

US economy grows at fastest clip in nearly four years.
US second quarter economic growth was stronger than previously estimated, as gross domestic product (i.e. the value of all goods and services produced across the economy) rose at a 4.2 percent annual rate, according to a report by the Commerce Department. The 4.2 percent rate still marked the strongest growth rate in nearly four years. The agency had earlier estimated the second-quarter growth at a 4.1 percent annual rate. Economists expected an unchanged reading of 4.1 percent. The revision was partly the result of stronger business investment than earlier forecast and a slight downward revision to consumer spending.

UK shop prices rise for first time in over five years.
Shop prices in the UK rose for the first time in more than five years in August, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Shop prices edged up 0.1 percent in August, following a 0.3 percent decline in July. This broke a downtrend deflationary that lasted for 63 months, the BRC said. Increasing food price inflation as well as weaker non-food price deflation contributed to the return of shop prices to inflation. However, shop price inflation remained well below the headline consumer price inflation. Non-food deflation continued to ease in August, to one percent from 1.4 percent in July. This was the lowest rate since April 2013.

The US is finalizing details of a new free trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada is conspicuously absent from the current negotiations. Scrapping NAFTA was one of President Trump’s central promises during his presidential campaign. He blamed the 24-year-old trade deal for virtually annihilating the US manufacturing industry and the loss of thousands of factory jobs. The original trade deal allows North American goods to cross the US, Canadian, and Mexican borders tax-free, adding up to about $1.2 trillion in annual trade.

Argentina's peso tanked 7.5 percent
against the dollar on Wednesday, bringing losses to nearly 50 percent over the past year, after President Macri asked the International Monetary Fund to speed up delivery of a $50 billion bailout package. It was the largest one-day decline since the currency was allowed to float in 2015, prompting central bank interventions and investor concern that the third-largest Latin American economy may not meet its debt obligations.

Important Information

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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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).