United KingdomInterest Rate
BoE Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged
The Bank of England voted unanimously to keep its benchmark interest rate on hold at a record low of 0.1 percent and to leave its bond-buying programme unchanged during its March 2021 meeting, saying the UK GDP was projected to recover strongly over 2021 towards pre-Covid levels and CPI inflation was expected to return towards the 2 percent target in the spring. The central bank also said it does not intend to tighten monetary policy at least until there is clear evidence that significant progress is being made in eliminating spare capacity and achieving the 2 percent inflation target sustainably.
Malta Inflation Rate
Malta Inflation Rate Lowest since 2009
The annual inflation rate in Malta edged down to 0.1 percent in February of 2021, from 0.2 percent in each of the previous 3 months. It is the lowest reading since December of 2009, amid falling prices for transport (-1.1 percent vs -0.7 percent); restaurants & hotels (-0.2 percent vs -0.2 percent) and communication (-0.7 percent vs -0.7 percent). Also, cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages was flat after rising 0.1 percent in January. In contrast, the largest upward impacts came from cost of housing and utilities (0.7 percent vs 0.5 percent); recreation and culture (0.9 percent vs -0.1 percent in January); and health services (2.0 percent vs 1.9 percent). On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.5 percent, following a 1.3 percent decline in the month prior.
Chile GDP Annual Growth Rate
Chile Economy Stalls in Q4
Chile’s gross domestic product remained stable year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, following a downwardly revised 9 percent decline in the previous period. Growth was recorded in manufacturing (3.5 percent vs -4.2 percent in Q3); trade (13.9 percent vs flat reading in Q3); communications (3.5 percent vs -0.5 percent); financial services (0.4 percent vs -0.7 percent) and agriculture (4.7 percent vs -2.9 percent). Meanwhile, mining output fell (-2.6 percent vs flat reading in Q3), mostly due to copper (-3.7 percent vs -0.3 percent). On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the economy grew 6.8 percent, quickening from a downwardly revised 5.1 percent advance in the previous period. Considering the full year of 2020, economic activity plunged 5.8 percent, hit by the pandemic crisis.
Germany Stock Market
European Equities Trade Mostly Higher
European stock markets traded mostly higher on Thursday, with Frankfurt’s DAX up 1% at near all-time highs after the Federal Reserve projected near-zero rates until at least through 2023 even as inflation and growth move up. In Europe, ECB President Lagarde said that short-term inflation movement related to temporary factors of a transitory nature should not precipitate any particular move, remarking on latest data showing the Eurozone’s inflation rate remained at a 1-year high in February. Traders await the European Medicines Agency review into the Astra’s Covid-19 vaccine later in the day, as the Eurozone’s economy continues to struggle with new coronavirus-related restrictions and slower vaccination rollout. It comes after several EU countries, including France, Italy and Germany, announced they would all temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to an investigation into cases of blood clots.