This was a tough week for the markets, with global stocks declining for the five consecutive days. The reason for the decline was that traders were looking for the next big thing that will happen in the market. This is after it emerged that China and the United States were in the final stages of hammering a trade deal. Here were the biggest stories this week.
This week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its economic forecast for the year. In the report, the organization became the next one in lowering the economic forecast. It now expects the economy to grow by 3.3%, down from the previous guidance of 3.5%. It blamed this on the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the ongoing trade conflict between United States and China. This was the second time in less than five months that the organization has lowered the guidance.
European Central Bank
Yesterday, the European Central Bank (ECB) released its interest rates decision. As expected, the central bank left interest rates unchanged and extended the period in which it expects to raise rates. It now expects to hike in the end of the year. This was a stretch from the previously expected rate hike of summer. The bank also moved to provide stimulus with the goal of rejuvenating the suffering European economy.
Reserve Bank of Australia
The Reserve Bank of Australia released its interest rates decision this week. As expected, the bank left interest rates unchanged and hinted that rates could remain this low for an extended period of time. This was followed by the release of the GDP numbers, which remains significantly lower than what traders were expecting. The reason for this is that Australia’s economy depends on China, which is experiencing a sluggish growth. Also, the Australian economy has seen a slowdown in the housing sector.
Today, China released the trade data that missed the consensus estimates. In February, the country’s exports declined by more than 20%, which was worse than the expected 4.8%. Imports on the other hand reduced by 5.2%, which was worse than the expected 1.4% and the trade surplus reduced to just $4.2 billion. This was from a high of $39 billion in the previous month. This is the biggest disappointment in the Chinese economy. It came two days after data from the US showed that the deficit increased to the highest level in 10 years.
US Jobs Numbers
The US jobs numbers released by ADP showed that the economy created less jobs in February than expected. At the same time, the layoffs numbers released by Challenger showed that the economy saw more layoffs than had been expected. Today, traders will pay close attention to the official jobs numbers released by the Labor Department.
In Japan, the former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghson was released from the Tokyo Detention Center after paying a $9 million bail. He had been detained for more than three months after being accused of financial crimes. This led to a slight gain in the Japanese yen because international investors have been afraid of investing in the country.