Eurozone investor confidence plunges in March. Eurozone investor sentiment took a dramatic hit in March, falling to a 16-month low due to the Ukraine conflict, survey results from the behavioural research firm Sentix showed on Monday. After two consecutive improvements, the investor confidence index in the currency bloc plunged to -7.0 in March from +16.6 in February. This was the lowest reading since November 2020 and well below economists' forecast of 5.3. Both the current assessment and expectations weakened notably in March. The current situation index declined by 11.5 points to 7.8, the lowest since last May. At the same time, the expectations index fell sharply by 34.8 points, which was the biggest fall in the data series. The expectations index reached -20.8 in March, the weakest since August 2012.
US inflation reaches a four-decade high. US inflation soared to an annual rate 7.9 percent in February from 7.5 percent in January, reaching the highest rate since January 1982, the US Labour Department said on Thursday, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed energy prices sharply higher. On a monthly basis, consumer prices climbed by 0.8 percent in February after rising by 0.6 percent in January. The increase in prices matched economist estimates. Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.5 percent in February following a 0.6 percent advance in January. The core price growth also met expectations. Before the Ukraine crisis, economists and policy makers had been hoping for a peak in year-over-year inflation this spring. But the outbreak of war has supercharged prices of crude oil, wheat, and precious metals, heralding higher inflation for longer.
German industrial output up but Ukraine conflict darkens outlook. Germany's industrial production growth accelerated at the start of the year, official data revealed on Tuesday, though the positive picture is likely to darken by the impact of the war in Ukraine. Production was up by 2.7 percent in January on the previous month, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the federal statistics agency Destatis, after rising by 1.1 percent in December. On a yearly basis, industrial output grew by 1.8 percent, in contrast to the 2.7 percent decline posted in the previous month. Compared with February 2020, the month before restrictions were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic in Germany, production was three percent lower in January. These data follow the publication a day earlier of figures showing incoming orders for industry had also risen by 1.8 percent.
China factory inflation eases in February. China’s factory-gate prices grew at their slowest rate in eight months in February as consumer price inflation stayed flat, official data showed on Wednesday, leaving room for the central bank to ease monetary policy to boost demand. The producer price index rose by 8.8 percent from a year earlier in February, decelerating from a 9.1 percent increase in January, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The reading was in line with the expectations of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Malta industrial production falls for sixth month. Malta's industrial production fell for the sixth month in a row in January, figures from the National Statistics Office showed on Thursday. Industrial production decreased by a working-day adjusted 3.7 percent year-on-year in January, following a 5.6 percent drop in December. Among the main industry groups, consumer goods production decreased by 14.0 percent annually in January. Within this, output of non-durable goods contracted by 14.7 percent. Meanwhile, output of intermediate goods and energy rose by 1.7 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. Capital goods output rose by 0.8 percent. On a month-on-month basis, industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent in January, after a 0.3 percent fall in the prior month.