German Economy Contracts More than Forecast
Germany’s gross domestic product dropped 1.7 percent on quarter in the three months to March 2021, slightly worse than the 1.5 percent fall expected, a preliminary estimate showed. Europe’s largest economy slipped back into contraction after two periods of growth, as the government imposed strict Covid-19 lockdowns to curb the spread of the pandemic, with private consumption being particularly hard hit and exports of goods providing some support.
Palladium Hits All-time High
Palladium increased to an all-time high of 2982 USD/t.oz
Italy March Jobless Rate Below Forecasts
Italy’s unemployment rate decreased to 10.1 percent in March of 2021 from 10.2 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 10.3 percent. The number of unemployed people decreased by 19 thousand to 2.495 million and employment rose by 34 thousand to 22.246 million. Meantime, the number of inactive people edged up 15 thousand to 24.741 million. The youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old rose to 33 percent from 31.9 percent.
Malaysia Shares Set to End Week on Lower Note
The FTSE KLCI dropped 5 points or 0.3% to a near one-week low of 1,603 in late trade on Friday and is also on track to fall by the same figure for the week, amid soft Chinese factory activity data due to supply bottlenecks and rising cost. Risk appetite was also rattled by reports that Malaysia was studying the possibility of a consumption tax to be introduced once the economy has recovered as a way to widen the revenue base. On the data front, US GDP grew at a solid 6.4% yoy in Q1 of 2021, while jobless claims fell to a fresh pandemic-era low. Meantime, the US Fed stayed accommodative Wednesday but highlighting that inflation in the US is on the rise. Regarding the pandemic, Malaysia saw COVID-19 cases rose to 3,332 on Thursday from 3,142 a day earlier, marking the second straight day that new infections have breached the 3,000 marks. Axiata Group fell 0.4%, while Maybank Bhd was down 0.1%.
Czechia Economy Shrinks Less than Expected in Q1
The Czech Republic economy retreated 0.3% on quarter in the first three months of 2021, reversing from a 0.3 percent gain in the previous period and compared to market expectations of a 1.0 percent contraction, preliminary estimates showed. On a yearly basis, the economy shrank 2.1 percent, also better than the market consensus of a 2.6 percent drop. The year-on-year decline was mainly due to a continuously declining household consumption. In contrast, government spending and foreign demand contributed positively to total output.