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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 21st October 2022
21 Oct 2022
UK inflation re-tests the 40-year high of 10.1 percent. UK inflation topped the ten percent level for the second time this year as households remain under pressure from the cost of living crisis. The consumer price index rose by 10.1 percent on an annual basis in September, according to estimates published on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics, just exceeding a consensus forecast among economists that predicted an increase of ten percent. The September figure matches the previous high reached in July. The latest official figures come as new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt attempts to tackle the rising cost of living, as well as the recent turmoil on financial markets sparked by his predecessor's mini-budget.

US saw record drop in housing starts in September. The US housing market is feeling the impact of rising interest rates as housing starts fell faster than expected in September, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. Privately‐owned housing starts in the US numbered 1,439,000 in September, a fall of 8.1 percent compared to the prior month according to the Census Bureau's report on Wednesday. Compared to the same period last year, housing starts were down 7.7 percent. "While single-unit starts have collapsed under the weight of higher mortgage rates, rental demand continues to be very strong," economists at Jefferies wrote. "Double-digit rent increases create a strong incentive to build more multi-family units, even as financing costs have risen."

German investor morale stays low as recession looms. Investor confidence in Germany inched upwards in October but remained subdued, a closely-watched survey showed on Tuesday, as Europe’s largest economy braces for a recession on the heels of soaring energy costs. The ZEW think-tank's forward-looking economic sentiment index rose unexpectedly to -59.2 from -61.9 in September, thanks mainly to improved expectations. The figure is notable as in the past it predicted turning points in the fortunes of Europe's largest economy. Analysts had forecast a fourth consecutive month of decline, as record-high inflation and skyrocketing energy prices in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict dampened the prospects of the German economy. At the same time, ZEW president Achim Wambach said despite respondents' "slightly" improved expectations for the coming six months, the overall picture remained bleak.

China keeps interest rates on hold as yuan weakens. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) kept its main lending rates unchanged for the second month in a row, as the yuan's weakness limited central bank’s room for manoeuvre. The PBOC kept the one-year loan prime rate at 3.65 percent and the five-year rate at 4.3 percent, both unchanged from last month, according to a statement published on its website. The central bank last cut the benchmark interest rate in August. China’s current interest rates are “reasonable” and provide room for future policy action, the PBOC said, adding to expectations it may resume lowering rates in coming months.

Australia’s unemployment remains steady as job creation dries up. Australian employment posted a disappointingly small rise in September possibly indicating that a very tight labour market might be loosening, lessening pressure on the Reserve Bank of Australia, to increase interest rates. In September, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.5 percent, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). "With employment increasing slightly, by around 1,000 people, and the number of unemployed increasing by 9,000, the unemployment rate rose by less than 0.1 percentage point but remained at 3.5 per cent in rounded terms," Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.

In case of any queries, please email us on [email protected] or call 2275 3857.
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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).