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Macro Roundup (Mar 19)
Mar 19,2018 10:46CST
data analysis
Macro Roundup

SHANGHAI, Mar 19 (SMM) – This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news last weekend and what is expected today.

Last Friday night

Base metals edged down as the US dollar climbed up from lows and hovered around 90.1. SHFE copper and nickel dipped, while other SHFE metals registered small gains. LME zinc and aluminium closed higher, while LME lead fell close to 1%. LME copper tumbled to a low throughout the week as the trade war brews.

The final eurozone consumer price index (CPI) grew 1.1% on a yearly basis in February, lower than the expected 1.2%, given the falling food costs and reduced energy inflation. This marked the weakest gain since December 2016, indicating a slow recovery of inflation.

Housing starts in the US decreased 7% month on month in February, a much bigger drop than the expected 2.7% decline as permits to build homes slipped 5.7%. Despite the slumps, home building remained strong on a tightening labour market, wage increase, low mortgage interest rates, and tax cut.

The country’s industrial production jumped 1.1% on a monthly basis in February, the largest increase in four months, due to a weather-related rebound in construction and a rise in output from its oil and gas fields and mines.

The consumer sentiment index by the University of Michigan rose to its highest level since 2004 and stood at 102 in the preliminary March reading. The survey found that consumers focused more on positive economic news, were bullish about the economy and had confidence in personal finances. However, optimisms on recent tax cuts were weighed down by negative views of the tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

The active US rigs rose by 6 units in total over the week ended March 16, with natural gas rigs up 1 unit, petroleum rigs up 4 units, mixed rigs up 1 unit, according to data from Baker Hughes.

Day ahead

The eurozone trade data in January is the key factor to watch today.

The US dollar inched up and stood firm at 90 last Friday. We expect it to continue to hover around 90 today. More cues would come from the threat of a trade war and the Trump-Russia investigation.

Base metals are seen to remain rangebound after a drop under the pressure of a stronger US dollar. Investors would also look out for what comes out of the G20 Summit in Argentina.


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