Turkish Trade Gap Narrows in March
Turkey’s trade deficit shrank to USD 4.65 billion in March of 2021 from USD 5.47 billion in the corresponding month of the previous year. Exports climbed 42.2 percent from a year earlier to USD 18.98 billion while imports advanced at a slower 25.6 percent to USD 23.64 billion.
European Stocks Trade Higher on Friday
European stocks traded in the green on Friday, helped by better-than-expected quarterly earnings reports from BNP Paribas and Barclays. At the same time, economic data showed France’s economy returned to growth in the first quarter after the government delayed implementing COVID lockdowns, while Spain’s GDP contracted on weak consumption and investment. Meanwhile, rising government bond yields and soft factory activity data from China curbed the gains. Elsewhere, US President Biden’s new spending plan and the dovish stance by the Fed continued to support risk-appetite along with US GDP and jobless claims data released yesterday.
Swiss KOF Barometer at a Historical High
The KOF Economic Barometer in Switzerland rose by 16 points to 134 in April of 2021 from an upwardly revised 118 in March, easily beating market expectations of 119.5. It is the highest reading since the series began in 1991, signaling a strong economic recovery in the near future. Manufacturing led the positive development amid more favorable international demand. Also, the outlook for other services, financial and insurance services and consumer demand also brightened considerably and the outlook for construction is slightly better than in the previous month. Meantime, accommodation and food service activities showed hardly any change overall.
Chinese Shares Fall 0.8%; HK Down 1.8%
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 23 points or 0.7% to 3,452 in early trade on Friday, closing little changed on-month as risk sentiment was dampened after the country’s factory activity growth slowed in April, while worries over policy tightening and Sino-US tensions persisted. US President Joe Biden took aim at China in his first speech to Congress earlier this week, pledging to maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific and promising to boost technological development and trade. Locally, the official NBS Manufacturing PMI for China fell to 51.1 in April, below consensus of 51.7, as supply bottlenecks and rising costs weighed on production and overseas demand lost momentum. Meanwhile, service activity also grew softer, rising for the 14th month. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 522.62 points or 1.78% to 28780.64 after Chinese financial watchdogs summoned 13 internet platforms engaged in finance business to order them to strengthen compliance with regulations.