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Weekly Overview 23rd-27th March 2020

Simon Alagbe


In a bid to curtail the spread of COVID-19, Iran on Tuesday decided to free 85,000 prisoners. The Judicial spokesperson of the Iranian government, Gholamhossein Esmaili said that about 50% of the released prisoners were security-related offenders. Iran has one of the highest numbers of death from the Virus with over 850 deaths and over 14,000 persons infected. On a positive note, China had zero reports of new cases of infection for the first time since the pandemic began in the city of Wuhan.

United Nations trade agency projected that COVID-19 will likely cost the global economy about $1 trillion as the degree of anxiety amongst businesses rises amidst falling oil prices, Government around the world must step up at this time and spend to defend their economies from total collapse. In a bid to ease the pains of the virus on the economy Central Banks continue their soft-landing measures to the impact of the virus on the economy, Reserve Bank of South Africa reduced its interest rate by the biggest margin in over a decade from 6.25% to 5.25% while Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.25% from 0.50%.

European Central Bank announced a €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) this week, the programme include a launch of asset purchase programme of private and public sector securities. Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission had earlier stated that Coronavirus is not just testing the health care systems but it is a major shock for the bloc' economy. He also pledged the commission' support for Europeans and the Bloc' economy.

With this in mind, let's have a look at events that will further impact the direction of the financial market next week.

Monday 23rd March

No major economic data expected on this day.

Tuesday 24th March

EUR: Manufacturing and Services PMI data will be released by France and Germany by 9:15 am and 9:30 am respectively. While the Bloc's PMI data comes out by 10 am.

GBP: Flash Services PMI and Flash Manufacturing PMI will be released by 10:30 am. The Cable will gain strength on the sight of a positive outcome.

USD: Flash Manufacturing PMI set to be released by 2:45 pm. The data fell short of expectations the last time just as it was the previous month. The forecast is slightly lower as economists have priced in the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy.

Wednesday 25th March

EUR: German Final Ifo Business Climate by 10 am. Economic sentiment for Germany, the Bloc's largest economy fell by 58.2 points to -49.5 points, which is the largest drop ever recorded since the inception of the data in December 1991. This supports the sentiment of the largest economy in the zone edging closer to a recession as Deutsche Bank expects the German economy to contract 4–5% this year.

GBP: CPI y/y is scheduled to be released by 10:30 am. UK government is considering a partial lockdown of its busiest city, London in a bid to curtail the spread of the novel virus. The country's apex bank, Bank of England cut interest rates and also put in place plan to add £200bn in quantitative easing at emergency meetings held this month.

Thursday 26th March

GBP: Retail Sales m/m is set to be released by the Office for National Statistics by 10:30 am.

GBP: MPC Official Bank Rate Votes, Monetary Policy Summary, Official Bank Rate from the Bank of England by 1 pm. The Monetary policy committee of the Bank had 2 unscheduled meetings in the last few days and has reduced interest rates at each of the meetings. At the meeting held on the 10th of March, the bank cut rate to 0.25% from 0.75% and had a further cut at the meeting on the 19th, reducing the rate to 0.1% while increasing its holdings of government and corporate bonds to the tune of £200 billion. Further cut is still expected at this meeting as the economy continues to struggle in the face of the deadly COVID-19.

USD: Final GDP q/q by 1:30 pm. This data will reflect the performance of the US economy in the last quarter of 2019 before the influence of COVID-19.

Friday 27th March

USD: Personal Spending m/m is scheduled to be released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis by 1:30 pm. Personal income grew by 0.6 per cent in January after growing by 0.1 per cent in December. Income and consumption are slightly related because when Labour earns more, disposable income increases and demand for goods and services also grows.

· Time is GMT+1

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