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BOV Market Watch - Week Ending 28 September 2018
28 Sep 2018

Fed raises interest rates on upbeat economic projections.  The Federal Reserve (Fed) raised US short-term interest rates for the third time this year. At the same time, it left intact its plans to steadily tighten monetary policy, as it forecasted that the US economy would enjoy at least three more years of growth. The Fed decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2 to 2.25 percent, citing realized and expected labour market conditions and inflation. Growth and job gains have been “strong” and inflation remains near the central bank’s two percent target, the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement on Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington.

Eurozone economic sentiment falls in September. Survey data from the European Commission showed this week that economic confidence in the Eurozone dropped for a ninth month in September, the longest losing streak since 2011, as rising protectionism and Italian political uncertainty cast a cloud over the economic mood in Europe. The economic sentiment index dropped to 110.9 in September from 111.6 in August. Economists had forecasted that the index would fall to 111.2. The decrease in sentiment was caused by lower confidence levels in the industry sector and among consumers, which were only partially offset by increases in the retail trade and construction sectors.

BOE might cut or raise rates after disorderly Brexit. Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said this week that the central bank could decide to raise interest rates or to cut them if there was a disorderly Brexit. The decision would depend on the balance of factors such as a depreciation of the British currency and a reduction in supply, such as a drop in investment and fewer migrant workers, which would push up inflation, against the backdrop of rising demand, he said. "It is genuinely two-sided which way we might act and how we will act will depend upon that balance of demand, supply and the exchange rate, just as it did pre-referendum," Haldane said during a question-and-answer event at the Institute for Government think tank in London.

WTO cuts forecasts for growth in world trade. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) this week downgraded its forecast for global trade for this year and next, citing escalating trade tensions around the world. The growing trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, the US and China, were mentioned as the main reason for reducing 2018’s trade growth by half a percentage points to 3.9 percent. Next year, trade growth is expected to slow further, to 3.7 percent, according to the WTO. The WTO called on the world’s two largest economies to “work through their differences” as it warned that rising global trade tensions could threaten job creation and living standards.

US consumer confidence approaches all-time high. US consumer confidence reached an 18-year high in September, boding well for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as robust job growth and a strong economic outlook underpinned Americans’ expectations for the coming months. The Conference Board, a private research organisation, said this week that its index of consumer confidence rose to 138.4, up from 134.7 in August, the highest level since September 2000. This is at the same level as the late stages of the 1990s technology boom.

Malta second quarter unemployment rate falls. Malta's unemployment rate decreased in the three months to June, figures from the National Statistics Office show. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in the second quarter from 3.9 percent in the same quarter of 2017. The number of unemployed people totalled 9,159 in the June quarter, up from 8,887 from last year. At the same time, the employment rate climbed to 60.2 percent from 57.4 percent. The activity rate for the second quarter was estimated at 73.5 percent, with the highest rate recorded among persons aged 25-54.

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).