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Macro Roundup (May 18)
May 18,2020 09:03CST
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Source:SMM
The US dollar was little changed against a basket of rivals on Monday morning day, holding onto gains from last week, as investors pored over comments on the state of the American economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and a slew of bleak US economic data.

SHANGHAI, May 18 (SMM) – This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news over the weekend and what is expected in the day ahead.

 

The US dollar was little changed against a basket of rivals on Monday morning day, holding onto gains from last week, as investors pored over comments on the state of the American economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and a slew of bleak US economic data.

 

The US economy will claw its way back from the current downturn but may need a coronavirus vaccine before that is complete, Powell said on Sunday.

“Assuming there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of the year,” the central bank chief said. However, he added that “for the economy to fully recover ... that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.”

 

A flurry of economic data, including record-setting unemployment figures and a 16.4% plunge in April retail sales, together with the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections dented investor risk appetite last week.

 

The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 fell 1.1% and 2.2%, respectively, last week with the latter notching its worst week since March. The Dow finished the week down 2.65% for its third negative week in four and its worst week since April 3.

 

A demand pick-up in China boosting hopes that the global supply overhang may start to fade following the easing of coronavirus lockdowns and supply cuts, gave a lift to oil prices, however. Crude prices jumped in the morning of Asian trading hours on Monday, following three consecutive weeks of gains.

 

LME base metals drifted broadly higher on Monday morning, after posting a negative week last week. On Friday, six nonferrous metals on the LME closed lower, with nickel shedding close to 2% to be the worst performer. Lead and aluminium dropped 1.1%, copper and tin fell 0.5%, and zinc edged down 0.1%.

 

On the SHFE, those nonferrous metals traded mixed on Friday night, and nickel was also the biggest loser, down 1.6%. Tin slipped 0.8%, copper declined 0.6%, while aluminium stayed flat. Lead and zinc inched up more than 0.1%.

 

US retail sales data for April reported by the Commerce Department Friday showed that consumer spending in the country tumbled a record 16.4% last month.

The collapse in retail sales added to the historic loss of 20.5 million jobs last month in underscoring the deepening economic slump that analysts warn could take years to recover from.

 

Euro zone GDP (gross domestic product) plunged 3.8% quarter-on-quarter across the first three months of the year, according to a flash estimate from the EU’s statistics agency on Friday.

Further official data published Friday revealed that German GDP shrank by 2.2% in the first quarter compared to the final three months of 2019, the sharpest quarterly decline for Europe’s largest economy since the financial crisis.

 

As for China, its factory output posted the first increase for 2020 in April but consumption remained weak. China’s industrial output rose 3.9% year on year in April, marking the first expansion in the metric for this year, according to data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics released Friday. Consumption, however, remained weak with retail sales falling 7.5% in April, faster than a forecast 7% decline. Fixed asset investment fell 10.3% in January-April, compared with a forecast 10% fall and a 16.1% decline in January-March.

 

This year's two sessions, China's most important annual political events, will convene on May 21 and May 22.

Macroeconomics

For queries, please contact Frank LIU at liuxiaolei@smm.cn

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