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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 28th February 2020
28 Feb 2020
28 February 2020

Eurozone economic confidence improves despite virus epidemic. Eurozone economic confidence improved in February, survey data from the European Commission showed on Thursday. The economic sentiment index rose to 103.5 in February from a revised reading of 102.6 in January, despite the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic which also hit the region. The industrial confidence index came in at -6.1 compared with -7.0 a month ago. On the other hand, the consumer sentiment index improved to -6.6, in line with estimate, from -8.1 in January. Meanwhile, the services confidence indicator edged up slightly to 11.2 from 11.0. The retail trade confidence indicator fell slightly to -0.2 from -0.1 in the prior month. The construction sentiment index dropped to 5.3 from 5.8 in January.

US consumer confidence improves slightly in February. Consumer confidence in the US rose less than expected in February, data published by the Conference Board showed on Tuesday. The consumer confidence index came in at 130.7, up from 130.4 in January. Economists expected the index to come in at 132.6. The modest increase by the headline index came as the expectations index surged to 107.8 in February from 101.4 in January. On the other hand, the report said that the present situation index plummeted to 165.1 in February from 173.9 in the previous month. “Despite the decline in the present situation index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favourably,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board said in a statement.

Shrinking exports drag on German economic growth. Shrinking exports held back German economic activity in the fourth quarter of last year, data published on Tuesday by the German statistics office showed. This confirmed that Europe's largest economy was stagnating even before the coronavirus outbreak hit the headlines. Gross domestic product (GDP) was unchanged sequentially after growing by 0.2 percent in the previous quarter. On a non-adjusted basis, GDP rose by 0.3 percent year-on-year after a 1.1 percent expansion in the third quarter. The data confirmed the flash estimate released on February 14. “In the absence of either a significant pick-up in global trade or additional fiscal stimulus, it is hard to see the German economy leaving the slow lane any time soon”, Carsten Brzeski, an ING Bank economist, said.

South Korea's industrial output inches up in January. South Korea's industrial output edged up last month, with consumption and investment turning downward, statistical office data showed on Friday. The seasonally-adjusted production in all industries, which excludes the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector, grew by 0.1 percent in January from a month earlier, according to Statistics Korea. Output in the mining and manufacturing sector fell by 1.3 percent, but production in the services industry added 0.4 percent. Retail sale, which reflects consumer spending, contracted by 3.1 percent in January, after rising 0.6 percent in the previous month. Facility investment tumbled by 6.6 percent last month, after expanding eight percent in the prior month.

Japan industrial production climbs in January. Industrial output in Japan was climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent on month in January, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said in Friday's preliminary reading. That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent following the 1.2 percent gain in December. On an annual basis, industrial production sank by 2.5 percent, but that also exceeded expectations for a decline of 3.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month. Upon the release of the data, the METI downgraded its assessment of industrial production, saying that it fluctuates indecisively but has weakened.
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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).