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Old 04-14-2020, 01:33 AM   Nav to Top  #311
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Malaysia Jobless Rate Rises In February



Malaysia's unemployment rate rose in February, data from the Department of Statistics showed on Tuesday.

The jobless rate rose to 3.3 percent in February from 3.2 percent in January. A similar rate of unemployment was seen in the same month last year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, jobless rate rose marginally to 3.3 percent in February from 3.2 percent in the previous month.

The number of unemployed increased to 525,200 in February from 511,700 in the previous month.

The number of employed increased to 15.34 million in February from 15.31 million in the prior month.

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Old 04-15-2020, 01:35 AM   Nav to Top  #312
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Australia Consumer Sentiment Logs Record Fall



Australia's consumer confidence declined the most on record in April after the coronavirus outbreak evolved from serious concern to full-blown pandemic, survey data from Westpac showed on Wednesday.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment plunged 17.7 percent to 75.6 in April from 91.9 in March.

This was the biggest monthly decrease in forty seven year history of the survey, taking the indicator beyond the global financial crisis lows.

The survey reflects the large shocks to jobs and spending. Moreover, there was a collapse in confidence in the housing market.

All five component sub-indexes fell in April. The biggest falls were in the near term outlook for the economy and in attitudes towards spending - reflecting the immediate effects of the shut-down, Westpac noted.

The indicator measuring past family finances decreased 14.8 percent to an eight-year low of 70.4 and the outlook for family finances slid 6.6 percent to 90.9.

The 'economy, next 12 months' sub-index logged a record fall of 31 percent to 53.7 in April. At the same time, the index measuring the outlook for long-term, say five years, dropped moderately by 3.8 percent to 87.0 in April.

Further, the 'time to buy a major household item' plunged 31.6 percent to 76.2 in April. This was the lowest reading since the record low of 71 set in October 2008.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Unemployment Expectations Index jumped 8.2 percent in April following the sharp 8.5 percent increase in March. At 158.1, the index was at a five year high. RSS feed

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Old 04-16-2020, 12:50 AM   Nav to Top  #313
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UK Retail Sales Decline At Record Pace: BRC



British retail sales declined at a record pace in March due to measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus, data from the British Retail Consortium, or BRC, showed Thursday. According to BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, retail sales decreased 4.3 percent on a yearly basis in March, the sharpest fall since records began in 1995.

At the same time, like-for-like sales declined 3.5 percent from the same period last year.

"The headline figure masked even more dramatic swings: food and essentials faced an unprecedented surge in demand in the early part of March, only to drop significantly into negative growth after the lockdown and introduction of social distancing in stores," Helen Dickinson, chief executive at BRC, said.

The closure of non-essential shops led to deserted high streets and high double-digit declines in sales, which even a rise in online shopping could not compensate for, Dickinson added.

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Old 04-17-2020, 01:01 AM   Nav to Top  #314
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China GDP Contracts 9.8% In Q21



China's gross domestic product was down a seasonally adjusted 9.8 percent on quarter in the first quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

That was in line with expectations following the 1.5 percent gain in the three months prior.

On a yearly basis, GDP sank 6.8 percent - missing expectations for a drop of 6.0 percent following the 6.0 percent increase in the previous three months.

The bureau also said that fixed asset investment tumbled an annual 16.1 percent in March, shy of forecasts for a decline of 15.0 percent following the 24.5 percent plunge in February.

Industrial production dipped 1.1 percent on year, beating forecasts for a fall of 5.8 percent after dropping 13.5 percent in the previous month.

Retail sales plunged 15.8 percent on year, missing forecasts for a fall of 10.0 percent after skidding 20.5 percent a month earlier.

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Old 04-20-2020, 01:35 AM   Nav to Top  #315
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China Cuts Benchmark Lending Rates



China's central bank on Monday reduced its benchmark lending rates, as widely expected, as the economy contracted for the first time at least since 1992 amid coronavirus outbreak.

The one-year loan prime rate was lowered by 20 basis points to 3.85 percent and the five-year loan prime rate was cut by 10 basis points to 4.65 percent.

The loan prime rate is fixed monthly based on the submission of 18 banks, though Beijing has influence over the rate-setting. This new lending rate replaced the central bank's traditional benchmark lending rate in August 2019.

The People's Bank of China last week reduced its one-year medium-term lending facility, or MLF, rate to 2.95 percent from 3.15 percent and injected CNY 100 billion through the MLF operation.

In March, the PBoC had reduced the reserve requirement ratio for qualified banks and the reverse repo rate.

September should mark the point when the PBoC hits the "ultra-low" interest rate level, Iris Pang, an ING economist said.

After that, the PBoC may need to rely more on reserve requirement ratio cuts than rate cuts. The PBoC may use RRR cuts more than rate cuts before September to delay its policy rates touching ultra-low levels, the economist noted.

The economy shrank 6.8 percent on a yearly basis in the first quarter, which was the first decline since the nation began reporting quarterly data in 1992. The economy had expanded 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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Old 04-21-2020, 01:28 AM   Nav to Top  #316
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European Economics Preview: German ZEW Economic Confidence Due



Corrected first para
Economic confidence survey results from Germany and labor market statistics from the UK are due on Tuesday, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.

At 2.00 am ET, the Office for National Statistics releases UK unemployment data. The jobless rate is forecast to remain unchanged at 3.9 percent in three months to February.

In the meantime, foreign trade from Switzerland and wholesale prices from Germany are due.

At 3.00 am ET, the Czech Statistical Office is set to release producer price data for March. Economists forecast prices to rise at a slower pace of 0.2 percent after climbing 1.4 percent in February.

Half an hour later, Statistics Sweden issues unemployment data for March. The jobless rate stood at 8.2 percent in February.

At 4.00 am ET, industrial production and producer price figures are due from Poland. Industrial production is forecast to fall 2.1 percent on year in March, reversing a 4.9 percent rise in January.

At 5.00 am ET, Germany's ZEW economic confidence survey results are due. Economists forecast the economic confidence index to rise to -42.3 in April from -49.5 in March.

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Old 04-22-2020, 01:44 AM   Nav to Top  #317
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Malaysia Consumer Prices Drop In March



Malaysia's consumer prices dropped in March, figures from the Department of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

The consumer price index declined 0.2 percent year-on-year in March, after a 1.3 percent increase in February. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent fall.

Among the main groups, prices for transport declined 8.9 percent annually in March and clothing and footwear prices decreased by 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose at a faster pace of 1.2 percent following a 0.8 percent rise in February.

At the same time, prices for miscellaneous goods and services grew 2.6 percent and those of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels and communication increased 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices fell 1.2 percent in March.

The core CPI rose 1.3 percent annually in March.

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Old 04-23-2020, 01:33 AM   Nav to Top  #318
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New Zealand Credit Card Spending Declines In March



New Zealand's credit card spending declined at the fastest rate in March, figures from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand showed on Thursday.

Credit card spending fell 9.1 percent month-on-month in March, following a 0.7 percent decrease in February. Credit card spending fell for the second straight month.

Domestic billing decreased 7.2 percent monthly to NZ$3.35 billion and overseas billings declined 24.9 percent to NZ$338 million.

On a year-on-year basis, overall credit card spending dropped 8.2 percent in March, after a 2.2 percent rise in the previous month.

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Old 04-23-2020, 11:41 PM   Nav to Top  #319
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Japan Inflation Steady At 0.4% In March



Consumer prices in Japan were up 0.4 percent on year in March, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday - in line with expectations and unchanged from the February reading.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, also was up an annual 0.4 percent. That also matched expectations and was down from the 0.6 percent gain in the previous month.

Individually, prices were up for food, housing, furniture, clothing, medical care, communications and recreation. They were down for fuel and education.

On a monthly basis, overall inflation was flat, while core inflation was down 0.1 percent.

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Old 04-24-2020, 01:46 AM   Nav to Top  #320
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Dollar Mostly Subdued Against Peers



The U.S. dollar recovered after a mid-session setback and traded slightly higher against some of its peers on Thursday, with traders digesting economic data from across the globe and tracking news about the virus pandemic and geopolitical issues.

The dollar index, which dropped to 100.04 around mid morning, recovered gradually and was last seen hovering around 100.50, up 0.12% from previous close.

Against the Euro, the U.S. dollar firmed up to $1.0794 from Wednesday's close of $1.0823. The euro area private sector suffered its steepest falls in business activity and employment due to the measures taken to contain the spread of coronavirus, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed.

The flash IHS Markit composite output index plummeted to an all-time low of 13.5 in April, down from a prior record low of 29.7 in March. This was the largest monthly collapse in output recorded in over two decades of survey data collection.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index plunged to a record low 11.7 from 26.4 in March, while the manufacturing PMI came in at 33.6, down from 44.5 in the previous month.

Against Pound Sterling, the dollar edged down to $1.2340.

The Japanese Yen gained against the dollar, trading at 107.64 a dollar, compared to 107.75 a dollar Wednesday evening.

The Aussie gained against the dollar, rising to $0.6358 from its previous close of $0.6323.

The Swiss franc eased to CHF 0.9739 from CHF 0.9713, while the Loonie firmed up to 1.4124 a dollar, from $1.4161, thanks to another jump in crude oil prices.

In U.S. economic news, more than 4 million people filed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended April 18th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. That reflects a continued decline from the nearly 7 million people that filed first-time claims in the last week of March.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 4.427 million, a decrease of 810,000 from the previous week's revised level of 5.237 million. Economists had expected jobless claims to slump to 4.200 million from the 5.245 million originally reported for the previous week.

A report released by the Commerce Department showed new home sales plunged by 15.4% to an annual rate of 627,000 in March after tumbling by 4.6% to a revised rate of 741,000 in February. With the steep drop, new home sales pulled back further off the more than twelve-year high of 777,000 set in January.

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