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BOV Market Watch - Week Ending 26 Ocotober 2018
26 Oct 2018

ECB leaves interest rates unchanged and reaffirms plans to end asset purchases. In its monetary policy meeting held this week, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB also stayed on course to end its bond-buying programme by the end of this year and hinted that it would raise interest rates sometime after next summer. With inflation rebounding and growth on a five-year run, the ECB has been removing stimulus for much of this year, even if more recent growth indicators appear to show that the expansion is running out of steam. The decision took place amid mounting concerns over Italy's fiscal policies and their potential impact on the stability of the Eurozone.

Eurozone economic confidence hurt by global trade war. The Eurozone manufacturing sector activity continued to decelerate in October, the latest activity survey from market research firm IHS/Markit showed. The composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the single currency area, which covers both the manufacturing and the services sectors, came in at 52.7 in October, down from 54.1 in September. That is the lowest figure for 25 months.  The sharp decline in the PMI intensified fears of a lengthy slowdown, amid concerns that the global trade war is having broad repercussions on the economy of the world’s largest trading bloc. “The pace of Eurozone economic growth slipped markedly lower in October, with the PMI setting the scene for a disappointing end to the year”, said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit.

UK mortgage approvals at six-month low. During September, UK banks approved the lowest number of mortgages for house purchase since March. Demand to refinance home loans also fell following the Bank of England's decision to raise interest rates in August, industry data showed on Wednesday. The number of mortgages approved for house purchase dropped to a six-month low of 38,505 in September from 39,241 in August, down 6.7 percent on a year earlier, the seasonally adjusted figures from UK Finance showed. Britain's housing market has slowed since the Brexit vote in June 2016. "Consumers are increasingly choosing to keep cash close to hand, with deposits held in instant access accounts showing steady growth," Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance at UK Finance said.

US economy still on a strong growth path. An index made up of leading US economic indicators rose for the 12th consecutive month in September, according to data released this week. The Conference Board’s leading economic index (LEI) rose 0.5 percent in September after 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent gains in the previous two months. The numbers show that most of the areas of the economy covered by the report improved in September, with the most notable exception of permits to build new homes. Workers in the manufacturing sector also experienced slightly fewer hours. The LEI is a weighted gauge of ten indicators designed to signal business-cycle peaks and troughs. Eight of the ten components expanded in September.

India's tightening cycle not yet over. The minutes of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) policy session ended October 5, suggest that the tightening cycle has a little further to go, as policymakers emphasise defending the central bank's credibility and the country’s score inflation remains elevated, Capital Economics economist Shilan Shah said on Monday. The RBI held the repo and the reverse repo unchanged at 6.50 percent and 6.25 percent respectively. The minutes, released suggest that concerns about underlying price pressures continue to linger, though inflation eased below the target in the past few months.

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).