- Markets: Volatility in markets saw equities fall last week. As a result, year to date markets are now down approximately 10% in euro terms. Bond yields also fell lower, dipping to below 0.50%.
- Oil: Moves by Saudi Arabia to raise oil production and offer its crude oil at deep discounts, saw oil prices fall by 30%.
- Currencies: Euro closed at 1.1284 versus the dollar and 0.86470 versus sterling.
- Central Banks: The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by half a percentage point in a response to the corona virus. This was the first such emergency move since the 2008 financial crisis, driving 10 year yields below 1% for the first time ever.
- Global Economy: Global manufacturing contracted in February by the most since 2009, as the coronavirus severely disrupted demand, trade and supply chains. The US economy continue to demonstrate strength, adding 273,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate hit a 50 year low. The US manufacturing sector continued its expansion in February, while the purchasing managers index was slightly weaker than expected. Meanwhile in Europe, weak energy prices pulled inflation down to 1.2%, below the European Cental Bank's main target.
- US Politics: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders emerged as the remaining Democratic candidates for the US Presidency elections, after the Super Tuesday results.
February saw the Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fall to 47.2, as the collapse in the Chinese PMI’s impacted on the global release, due to China’s large weight in the global industrial output. China is likely to experience a rebound in their reading at the end of March as factories begin to reopen and the impacts of large amounts of government stimulus are felt in the economy. However the picture is less clear for the rest of the world, which tends to lag China by a few months, leading to a possibility of a further weakening of this statistic in March, even if a rebound in China occurs.
- US: In the US this week a raft of economic data; Retail sales, industrial production, capacity utilisation, and housing starts.
- Ireland: Economic data closer to home this week; Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, Trade Balance, Producer Price Index (PPI).
- Germany: Wholesale prices, PPI.
- Eurozone: Construction output, Trade Balance, Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- Earnings Results: Accenture, Praxair.
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