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BOV Market Watch - Week ending 9th April 2021
09 Apr 2021
IMF lifts global growth forecast. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a stronger economic recovery in 2021 as Covid-19 vaccine rollouts get underway, but it warned of “daunting challenges” given the different rates of administering shots across the globe. The global economy will expand by six percent this year, up from the 5.5 percent pace estimated in January, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook published on Tuesday. That would be the highest growth rate in four decades of data, coming after a 3.3 percent contraction last year that was the worst peacetime decline since the Great Depression. Looking further ahead, the organisation expects global growth for 2022 to increase by 4.4 percent, higher than an earlier estimate of 4.2 percent.

US manufacturing surges the most since 1983 in March. A measure of US manufacturing activity – a bellwether for the economy - soared to its highest level in more than 37 years in March, underpinned by strong growth in new orders, the clearest sign so far that a much anticipated economic rebound was probably underway. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Thursday that its index of national factory activity rose to 64.7 in March from 60.8 in February. That was the highest level since December 1983. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9 percent of the US economy. Economists had forecast the index to rise to 61.3. 

UK construction sector grows most since 2014. British construction activity grew at the fastest rate since 2014 in March, lifted by a restart in postponed hospitality, leisure and office projects as Covid-19 restrictions start to ease, a monthly survey from HIS Markit showed on Thursday. The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index jumped to 61.7 in March from 53.3 in February. That is the highest level since September 2014 and well above the increase to 54.6 forecast by economists. Any reading above 50 represents growth in the sector. “Improving confidence among clients in the commercial segment was a key driver of growth, with development activity rebounding in sectors of the economy set to benefit the most from the improving pandemic situation,” said IHS Markit economics director Tim Moore.

China inflation climbs 0.4 percent on year in March. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported on Friday that consumer prices rose in March due to a jump in fuel prices, while producer prices climbed at the fastest rate in more than four years. The consumer price index rose by 0.4 percent in March compared with minus 0.2 percent in February, as fuel prices jumped by nearly 12 percent from a year earlier. Prices paid by manufacturers rose by 4.4 percent from a year earlier. Inflation reflects rising demand as China’s economy leads the world recovery from the pandemic. Worries that stronger growth might spur inflation that regulators in many major economies would then move to cool, partly by raising interest rates, have been worrying the markets for the past several months.

Malta industrial production continues to decline In February. Malta's industrial production continued to fall in February, data released by the National Statistics Office showed on Thursday. Industrial production fell a working-day adjusted 10.7 percent year-on-year in February, following a 6.2 percent slide in January. Among the main industrial groups, capital goods production decreased by 13.0 percent on an annual basis in February and those of consumer goods fell by 3.8 percent. Output of intermediate goods and energy declined by 10.4 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively. On a month-on-month basis, industrial production fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent in February, after a 0.4 percent rise in the prior month. 
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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).