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Eurogroup meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, Brussels, Feb 14, 2011. The wheelchair-bound German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, is on the near right. In 1990, the then federal interior minister survived an assassination attempt.
Bank of Japan:
The Bank of Japan
kept its key interest rate at around 0 to 0.1% today.
In a commentary on the
economic outlook, the bank said: "Japan's economy is gradually emerging from
the current deceleration phase. As the growth rate of the global economy has
started increasing again led by emerging and commodity-exporting economies,
Japan's exports and production are showing signs of resuming an uptrend.
Business fixed investment has started to pick up. The employment and income
situation has remained severe, but the degree of severity has eased somewhat.
As for private consumption, demand for some goods has
suffered a reverse after the sharp increase seen previously. Housing investment
has started to pick up. Meanwhile, financial conditions have continued to ease
further. The year-on-year rate of decline in the CPI (excluding fresh food) has
continued to slow as a trend."
China Inflation: China reported today that inflation moderated
slightly in January but remained at 4.9%, compared with the official 4% target.
The National Bureau of Statistics reported that annual inflation followed a 4.6%
increase in December and a two-year high of 5.1% in November.
Last week, the People's Bank of China hiked the key benchmark interest rate to
6.06% from 5.81%
The producer price index (PPI), the main gauge of inflation at the wholesale
level, rose 6.6% in January year on year.
Food prices, which account for a third of the basket of goods in China's
consumer price index (CPI) calculation, surged 10.3% year on year.
The price of grain rose 15.1% year on year, and that of eggs was up 20.2%. Fresh
vegetables advanced 2%, while fruit was up 34.8%.
Barclays: UK bank Barclays, reported today that its annual net profit
surged 36% to £3.56bn in 2010.
The bank said it would pay £3.4bn in staff bonuses, down 7% compared with 2009.
"Barclays delivered a significant increase in profit, despite continued
economic challenges in our principal markets: historically low interest rates;
sluggish volumes in many market segments; and considerable regulatory
uncertainty," the new American chief executive, Bob Diamond, said.
NBC's Richard Engel has the latest on the unrest in Bahrain and CNBC's Scott Cohn has the latest on the search for former Egypt president Mubarak's millions:
Euro area GDP growth in Q4 set to disappoint:
Davy economist, Conall Mac Coille, comments --
"Asian stock markets rose
this morning (February 15th) following news that CPI inflation in
China was 4.9% in January, weaker than the 5.4% figure the market
had expected. That said, output price inflation was 6.6% in January,
considerably stronger than the market had expected, indicating that
inflationary issues will remain a concern. So stock markets will
remain focused on the potential for a tightening of monetary policy
in response to price pressures in China.
Today sees the release of euro area GDP for the fourth quarter
of 2010. Euro area GDP growth is expected to be 0.4% in Q4, up
slightly from growth of 0.3% in Q3. However, the Q4 figures released
early this morning for Germany and France indicated that
expectations for the euro area are likely to be disappointed. GDP
growth in Germany was 0.4%, slightly weaker than the 0.5% expected.
Growth in France was just 0.3%, considerably weaker than the 0.6%
expected. Q4 GDP data for Austria, Greece, Italy are released later
today and for other individual euro area countries later in the
week. But given the large weight of the core economies, the
aggregate euro area GDP number released later this morning is
unlikely to meet market expectations.
Stock markets will have to weigh the positive news from China
against the less favourable euro area Q4 GDP numbers. That said,
poor weather conditions are likely to have pushed down on activity
in Q4. For example, the construction sector detracted from growth in
Germany. Purchasing manager indices for January indicate that growth
remained robust going into Q1 in both the services and manufacturing
sectors. So the euro area Q4 GDP data are unlikely to weigh heavily
on stock markets."
Economic View: Room for manoeuvre on EU
interest rate; Goodbody economist, Juliet Tennent,
comments - - "There was further political rhetoric
ahead of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels yesterday, with the European
Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Oli Rehn, suggesting that while
there is no room for a unilateral re-negotiation of the EU/IMF deal with
Ireland, there may be room for maneuver on the interest rate.
He also reiterated that any change to the
existing interest rate would be as part of an EU wide agreement and not
specifically in response to pressure from Ireland. While the lowering of the
interest rate would clearly be helpful to Ireland (a 1% reduction equates to
€675m saving per annum) it is only part of an overall solution that is necessary
(see our note on
Irish Debt Dynamics of the 8th February).
Indeed a resolution to the European debt
crises remains under negotiation and yields on peripheral bonds have been moving
upwards recently, as markets get impatient with the slow pace of progress. In
this regard a small step was taken at yesterday’s Ecofin meeting, with European
finance ministers agreeing, as part of a comprehensive permanent package
expected to be finalized by the end of March, to double the lending capacity of
the European Financial Stability Facility to €500bn in 2013."
Callum Henderson, global head of FX research at Standard Chartered, speaks to CNBC's Oriel Morrison about the impact of China's weaker-than-expected inflation data on the currency markets:
In New York Monday, the Dow fell 5 points or 0.045 to 12,268.
The S&P 500 added 0.24% and the Nasdaq added 0.28%.
MSCI Asia Pacific rose 0.1% Tuesday.
Nikkei 225 climbed 0.20%; China's Shanghai Composite was flat; Australia's S&P/ASX
200 Index dipped 0.10% and India's Sensex gained 0.37%.
closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index
averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.
Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9
points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points,
On Friday July16th, the BDI rose 20
points or 1.12% to 1,700 to break the 35-session losing streak.
Friday last week, the BDI rose 42 points or 3.70% to 1,178.
The Financial Times reported
earlier in January, that Australia’s flooding and fears of ship oversupply has
pushed down a gauge of the cost of hiring ships to carry coal, iron ore and
other dry bulk by nearly half since October to the lowest level since the
aftermath of the financial crisis. The Baltic Dry index, the widely watched
measure of dry bulk charter rates, fell to 1,453, nearly half the 2,784 peak
reached on October 27, 2010.
margin between the US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) used on the New
York Mercantile Exchange and Brent is almost at $19 a barrel.
said last Friday that a surge in oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, where
WTI is delivered into America’s pipeline system, has depressed the value of the
benchmark against other yardsticks. The International Energy Agency said on
Thursday that with “few relief valves” to cut the stock overhang in Cushing, the
price dislocation “may persist for months [or years] to come”.