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Macro Roundup (Dec 20)
Dec 20,2018 08:44CST
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Macro Roundup

SHANGHAI, Dec 20 (SMM) – This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news last night and what is expected today.

Last night

LME base metals mostly gained on Wednesday with the biggest gains in copper, up over 1.8% on the day. Nickel and zinc rose close to 1.3%, tin climbed 0.9% while lead dipped close to 0.1% and aluminium fell some 1%.

SHFE base metals traded higher across the board overnight. Zinc advanced 0.7%, tin gained 0.5%, lead and aluminium grew some 0.3%, nickel inched up 0.2% and copper edged up close to 0.1%.

The dollar came off its lows but remained weaker on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's guidance on its tightening cycle turned out to be less dovish than expected, even as it forecast fewer interest rate hikes than it had in September.

As markets expected, the central bank raised the target range for its benchmark funds rate from 2.25% to 2.5%. This is the fourth increase this year and the ninth since it began to normalise rates in December 2015.

Fresh economic forecasts released by the Fed on Wednesday showed that policymakers expect two rate hikes next year and one in 2020.

The language in the post-meeting statement was not entirely dovish, or easy on its outlook for rates. The committee continued to include a statement that more rate hikes would be appropriate, though it conveyed this in a softer tone.

The US current-account deficit, a measure of the nation’s trade and financial flows with other countries, increased to a seasonally adjusted $124.8 billion in the third quarter of 2018 from a revised $101.2 billion in the second quarter of 2018, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The increase in the current-account deficit during the third quarter reflected an increase of $23.95 billion in the goods-trade deficit to $227.01 billion, the department said. Exports of goods decreased while imports increased during the quarter, widening the gap.

Sales of US existing homes rose unexpectedly in November, their second straight gain after an extended bout of weakness, according to an industry report on Wednesday.

Despite the increase from October, sales stood 7% below November 2017. Sales remained sluggish and prices continued to rise while inventories shrank, the National Association of Realtors said.

Sales of town homes, condos, co-ops and single-family houses, rose 1.9%t to an annual rate of 5.3 million units after seasonal adjustment. Economists had forecast a dip to 5.2 million.

US crude stocks fell last week, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 497,000 barrels in the week to December 14, a much smaller draw than the decrease of 2.4 million barrels that analysts had expected. The decline was the third consecutive week of decrease.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.09 million barrels, the EIA said.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 4.2 million barrels, while gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels.

Day ahead

The US weekly initial jobless claims will be available today.

The Bank of Japan's two-day rate review will end today, and it is widely expected to keep interest rates targets unchanged.

The Bank of England will also be meeting today.


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