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Euro Area Starts 2017 on Strong Note as Price Pressures Build

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File photo of an employee of German car manufacturer Mercedes Benz working on the interior of a GLA model at their production line at the factory in Rastatt
  • Euro Area Starts 2017 on Strong Note as Price Pressures Build

The euro-area economy expanded at a robust pace at the start of the year as inflation pressures increased, according to IHS Markit.

A Purchasing Managers’ Index signaled quarterly growth of 0.4 percent, with broad-based expansion in both manufacturing and services, the London-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Although the gauge slipped to 54.3 in January from 54.4 in December, economic momentum remained robust, it said. Economists predicted a reading of 54.5.

“Perhaps the most encouraging development is the upturn in hiring, with January seeing the largest monthly rise in employment for nine years amid improved optimism about the year ahead,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. While selling-price growth remained subdued, “the recent strengthening of demand is at least starting to help restore some pricing power among suppliers, hinting at an upturn in core inflationary pressures.”

The near-absence of underlying price growth is a concern for the European Central Bank, which hasn’t met its inflation mandate in almost four years. Policy makers are relying on record-low interest rates and a 2.28 trillion-euro ($2.5 trillion) asset-purchase plan to fuel inflation, especially as euro-skeptic parties gain ground ahead of elections in some of the region’s largest economies.

The price gains companies reported in January often reflected more expensive commodities as well as higher import costs as a result of the euro’s depreciation, IHS Markit said. Selling prices recorded the largest two-month increase in more than five years.

A measure for manufacturing rose to 55.1 in January from 54.9 in December, the highest level in almost six years, while a services PMI eased to 53.6 from 53.7. Hiring gained momentum in both industries amid sustained growth of new orders. An index of business expectations for the next 12 months rose to the highest level since data were first collected in 2012.

“The euro-zone economy has started 2017 on a strong note,” Williamson said. “Political risk continues to be widely eschewed, with companies focusing instead on expanding their sales in the coming year.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Investment

Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies

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Barclays Bank

Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies

Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.

According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.

The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.

It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.

“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”

Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.

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Economy

Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension

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  • Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.

OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.

In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.

Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.

While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.

Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.

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Economy

Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

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  • Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.

The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.

The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.

“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.

Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.

The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.

Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.

Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.

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