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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 8th May 2020
11 May 2020
8th May 2020

Eurozone to enter recession of historic proportion
s. In its first estimate since European countries introduced lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, forecast on Wednesday that the eurozone economy will contract by 7.75 percent this year. That would be the worst economic shock to the region since the Great Depression in the 1930s. However, the Commission expects the currency bloc to return to growth of 6.25 percent next year. The eurozone unemployment rate is forecast to climb to 9.5 percent this year from 7.5 percent in 2019. The EU and Member States have already agreed on extraordinary measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the collective recovery will depend on continued strong and coordinated responses at EU and national level, a top EU official said.

US private sector employment falls by record 20m in April.
US private sector employment nosedived in the month of April, according to a report released by payroll processor ADP. The report said that non-farm private sector employment plummeted by 20.236 million jobs in April, easily surpassed the previous record of about 835,000 in February 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis. The report probably understates the actual damage done during the implementation of social distancing measures. ADP pointed out that the report utilises data through the 12th of the month and does not reflect the full impact of coronavirus-induced shutdowns on the overall employment situation.

UK house prices dip in April as Covid-19 lockdowns bring market to a standstill.
UK house prices fell for the second consecutive month in April as the real estate market came to a standstill after government announced lockdown to contain spread of Covid-19, mortgage lender Halifax and data provider IHS Markit showed on Thursday. House prices fell by 0.6 percent on a monthly basis in April, after easing 0.3 percent in March. However, house prices in April 2020 were still 2.7 percent higher compared to the same time last year, the new data reveals. Quarter-on-quarter, house prices advanced by 0.7 percent. With market activity currently in virtual standstill, the limited number of transactions available means that calculating average house prices has inevitably become more challenging, Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said.

China exports rose by 3.5 percent in April.
China's exports expanded in April despite bleak global demand, data from the General Administration of Customs revealed on Thursday. In dollar terms, exports grew by 3.5 percent on a yearly basis in April, confounding economists’ expectations that called for a decline of 12.1 percent. Shipments had declined by 6.6 percent in March. Meanwhile, imports sank by 14.2 percent on year versus the expected fall of 12.4 percent and March's 0.9 percent drop. Consequently, the trade balance showed a surplus of $45.34 billion in April, which was well above economists' forecast of $9.7 billion and sharply up from $19.9 billion in March.

Australia's GDP to decline most on record: RBA. The Australian economy is set to experience its biggest contraction in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Reserve Bank of Australia said on Friday. In its quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy, the central bank said gross domestic product is expected to contract by around ten percent over the first half of this year, mostly concentrated in the second quarter. The decline in the June quarter will be the biggest on record, the bank noted. In order to combat the downturn caused by the pandemic, the bank had reduced its key interest rate to 0.25 percent and unveiled a quantitative easing programme 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).