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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 2 October 2020
02 Oct 2020

Eurozone jobless rate rises for fifth month.  The eurozone unemployment rate rose for a fifth consecutive month in August, data released by Eurostat showed on Thursday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 8.1 percent in August from 8.0 percent in July, which was revised from 7.8 percent. The relatively small increase in the unemployment rate from 7.2 percent in March, shows how short-time work schemes were key in suppressing massive job losses. This has been beneficial for the recovery of domestic demand as jobs and incomes have largely been maintained despite the large shock to the economy. For the whole of the European Union, the unemployment rate also rose for a fifth month in a row in August, climbing to 7.4 percent from 7.3 percent in July.

UK manufacturing continues to recover from Covid-19 slump. The UK manufacturing sector continued its recovery from the coronavirus-induced downturn during September. The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing fell slightly to 54.1 in September, down from August's 2½-year high of 55.2. The index has stayed on the positive side of its no-change mark of 50 for four successive months – its longest expansion streak since early 2019. Output grew for a fourth successive month, but at a slower pace, amid increased inflow of new work, companies reopening and staff returning to work. The growth was led by large manufacturers. The survey also shows that, although manufacturers shed jobs for an eighth consecutive month, the pace of reduction was the slowest since February.

US new home sales unexpectedly jump too nearly 14-Year High in August. The US Commerce Department said on Thursday that new home sales rose by 4.8 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.011 million units during August. That is the highest level since September 2006. New home sales are counted at the signing of a contract, making them a leading housing market indicator. July’s sales growth was revised upward to 965,000 units from the previously reported 901,000 units. Economists had forecast new home sales, which account for more than ten percent of housing market sales, slipping by one percent to 895,000-units. Sales of new single-family homes increased to their highest level in almost 14 years in August, suggesting that the housing market continued to gain momentum even as the economy’s recovery from the covid-19 recession appears to be slowing.

India manufacturing growth highest in more than eight years. In spite of Covid-19 restrictions, India's manufacturing activity rose to the highest in over eight-and-a-half years in September on strong demand, survey data from IHS Markit showed this week. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 56.8 in September from 52.0 in August. Economists had expected a moderate improvement to 52.8. Readings above 50 indicates expansion in the sector. "Due to loosened COVID-19 restrictions, factories went full steam ahead for production, supported by a surge in new work,” Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.

Australia retail sales sink in August. Australia's consumer spending, as represented by Retail Sales, fell by four percent month-on-month in August, data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday showed, with the virus-stricken state of Victoria bearing the brunt of the downturn. The result follows gains of 3.2 percent and 2.7 percent in July and June respectively. Victoria suffered a 12.6 percent drop as a strict lockdown saw many businesses shut their doors to customers. There were also declines in most other states. Annual growth was still solid with sales up 7.1 percent compared to August 2019.

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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).