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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 7th May 2021
07 May 2021
Eurozone business activity picked up in April. Eurozone business activity picked up in April as the currency bloc’s dominant services industry overcame renewed lockdowns and returned to growth, according to a survey released on Wednesday by information provider IHS Markit. The final composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a closely-watched gauge of economic health, climbed to 53.8 in April from March’s 53.2. That exceeded slightly the preliminary reading of 53.7 and comfortably above the 50 borderline that separates expansion from contraction. “The pace of vaccinations has continued to accelerate, and some countries are easing restrictions. So there is a good chance that euro zone GDP posts a small expansion in Q2,” said Jack Allen-Reynolds at Capital Economics.

US private jobs shows big gains in April. 
US private jobs growth accelerated in April but were a bit shy of economists’ expectations, according to a report published on Wednesday by payroll processing firm ADP. Companies added 742,000 employees during the month, a jump from March’s upwardly revised 565,000, but below the 800,000 forecast by economists. Leisure and hospitality, the sector that has been hurt the most by pandemic-related business lockdowns, led jobs growth with 237,000 new positions. Employment in the industry is still about three million below its pre-pandemic levels but has been adding jobs steadily since federal and state governments have been relaxing restrictions. Goods-producing industries had a strong month as well, adding 106,000 jobs. 

Bank of England keeps rates on hold.
At its latest monetary policy meeting on Thursday, the Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.1 percent, and slowed its government bond purchase programme amid rising optimism about the economic outlook with the easing of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the central bank sharply increased its forecast for UK economic growth this year as Britain's vaccine-fuelled coronavirus recovery picks up speed - and the bank kept interest rates at a record-low. The central bank predicts gross domestic product will rebound by 7.25 percent in 2021 up from its previous prediction of five percent, a growth rate not seen since the Second World War. 

Germany's exports growth accelerates unexpectedly in March.
In spite of the coronavirus crisis, German companies increased their exports for the eleventh consecutive month in March, data from the German Statistics Office showed on Friday, with export growth coming in at 1.2 percent, twice the rate economists had forecast. Exports to Britain fell for the third month in a row since the country definitively left the European Union's internal market in on 1st January, shrinking by a further 13.2 percent to €6.5 billion. But imports from Britain rose slightly, by 1.6 percent to €3.1 billion. Imports from the rest of the world also rose, with Germany importing 6.5 percent more by value in March than in the previous month, well ahead of a forecast of 0.7 percent, pushing the trade balance to its lowest level since last April. 

China’s services sector expands at fastest pace in five months.
China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in five months in April, as new business saw strong growth both at home and overseas. The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index better known as the Caixin China services PMI, which gives an independent snapshot of conditions in the services sector, rose to 56.3 in April from 54.3 the previous month. A number above 50 indicates an expansion in activity. The index shows that services activity has expanded for 12 months in a rowf. Looking ahead, services companies in China were strongly optimistic that business activity would be higher than current levels in 12 months' time. The report also showed that the composite index moved up to 54.7 from 53.1 in March.
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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).