SHANGHAI, May 22 (SMM) – This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news last night and what is expected in the day ahead.
The US dollar rebounded on Thursday, while stocks on Wall Street fell as growing Sino-US tensions and dismal economic data weighed on investor sentiment.
The US dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of currencies, rose 0.26% to 99.4425. The Dow fell just over 100 points earlier on Thursday while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped 0.8% and nearly 1%, respectively.
Oil prices, however, continued their rally on Thursday, rising to the highest level since March, supported by lower US crude inventories, OPEC-led supply cuts and recovering demand as governments ease restrictions imposed on people’s movements due to the coronavirus crisis.
LME base metals, except for nickel, drifted lower on Friday morning, following Thursday’s weak performance. On Thursday, nonferrous metals, except for aluminium, on the LME pulled back, with zinc diving 3.7% to lead the way down. Lead tumbled 2.4%, nickel dropped 2.3%, copper fell 1% and tin shed 0.4%, while aluminium gained 0.4%.
Those metals on the SHFE performed similarly overnight, with nickel sinking 8% to hit its “limit down” level at a five-week low of 96,070 yuan/mt. Zinc and tin slipped 1.5%, copper declined 0.7% and lead lost 0.5%, while aluminium advanced 0.3%.
Investors will continue to watch for developments from China’s annual political events—Two Sessions—which kicked off Thursday afternoon. That comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen in recent days.
Data on Thursday showed millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as backlogs continue to be cleared and disruptions from the novel coronavirus unleash a second wave of layoffs, pointing to another month of staggering job losses in May.
Weekly jobless claims rose by another 2.4 million in the week ended May 16, according to data released by the US Labor Department. That brings the total number of filings during the pandemic to more than 38 million.
A separate report from IHS Markit showed that the economic activity in the US' manufacturing and services sector contracted at a softer pace in May.
The firm said its flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the nation rose to 39.8 in May from 36.1 in April. Meanwhile the flash services PMI rose in May to 36.9 from 26.7. Any reading below 50 indicates worsening conditions.
“Encouragement comes from the survey indicating that the rate of economic collapse seems to have peaked in April. In the absence of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the decline should moderate further in coming month,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
IHS Markit PMI data for the eurozone Thursday also showed a slightly slower rate of contraction in economic activity this month, with many countries in the bloc taking steps to reopen their economies.
The composite PMI reading, covering both manufacturing and services, came in at 30.5 compared to April’s all-time low of 13.6. While considerably better than expectations, the figure remains well below the boom-bust 50-point mark.
US President Donald Trump said Thursday night “we are not closing our country” if a second wave of coronavirus infections hits the US. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”
The minutes from European Central Bank’s latest policy meeting will be released Friday.