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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 29th April 2022
29 Apr 2022
Germany consumer sentiment index at historic low. A closely watched survey published on Wednesday showed German consumer confidence taking a nosedive amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict and higher inflation. According to market research group GfK, the forward-looking consumer sentiment index sees confidence plummeting to minus 26.5 in May from minus 15.7 in April, a fall of 10.8 points. The decrease in the confidence measure exceeds economists’ forecasts who predicted the index to fall to minus 16.3 and well below a previous low seen in spring 2020 during the government-mandated lockdowns in the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. "Hopes of a recovery from the easing of pandemic-related restrictions have finally been dashed" GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl said.

UK retail sales slump as soaring energy prices hit households UK retailers experienced another poor month in April as the cost-living-crunch escalated, according to a monthly survey published on Wednesday by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The Distributive Trades Survey showed that 35 percent of retailers said sales volumes declined in the year to April, in contrast to nine percent reporting an increase in March and remained below the long run average of 18 percent. A total of 108 companies participated in the survey. “Retail sales were below seasonal norms in April as consumer spending continued to shift back towards services and rising prices impacted households’ spending power,” CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said. 

US home prices rose sharply in February amid slow down concerns. US home prices rose by 19.8 percent in February year over year, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. That is even higher than the 19.1 percent annual increase reported in January and the third highest reading in the index’s 35-year history. All 20 cities tracked by the index reported price increases in the year ending February 2022. In January, 16 cities saw year-over-year growth. Prices were strongest in the South and Southeast, but every region continued to show sizeable gains. However, despite surging home prices, there are growing concerns regarding the overall health of the US real estate market as the pace of sales slowed down in recent months amid rising mortgage rates and continuing supply shortfalls.

Bank of Japan confirms commitment to ultra-easy monetary policy. The Bank of Japan on Thursday underlined its commitment to keep monetary policy at ultra-low levels by vowing to buy unlimited amounts of bonds daily to defend its yield curve target. The central bank maintained its massive stimulus and guidance of ultra-low interest rates and raised the inflation forecast, even as other developed country central banks have started to tighten policy amid the global rise in prices. “While central banks in the US and Europe are moving toward monetary tightening or rate increases, the Japanese economy is still on the road to recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said at a news conference. 

Australia inflation jumps to highest in more than two decades. Australian consumer prices jumped by 2.1 percent in the three months to the end of March, taking annual inflation to 5.1 percent, its highest level in more than two decades, a report by the Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday. The move higher was underpinned by higher food and energy costs. Critically, the trimmed mean measure of inflation, which is the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) favoured measure of inflation and leaves out the most extreme price moves, came in at 3.7 percent, well above its 2-3 percent target, opening the door for interest rates to start rising as soon as next week. The RBA interest rate setting committee meets on 3 May. 
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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).