Posted Mar 25, 2021 by Martin Armstrong
Chinese state TV called Thursday for a boycott of H&M as Beijing lashed out at foreign clothing and footwear brands following Western sanctions on Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. The ruling Communist Party criticized H&M for saying in March 2020 it would stop buying cotton from the northwestern Chinese region. The Swedish retailer joined other brands in expressing concern about reports of forced labor there. The party also criticized statements by Burberry, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, and Zara about Xinjiang as early as two years ago. A loss of sales in China, the only major economy where consumer spending has rebounded to above pre-pandemic levels, can be especially painful at a time when U.S. and European demand is weak.
Singapore’s economy has been ranked the freest in the world this year in the Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom, the second year in a row it topped the list. The Republic scored 89.7 points, with its overall score having increased by 0.3 points from 2020, primarily because of an improvement in points gained for government spending, the survey said. Singapore’s score placed it far ahead of both the regional average for 40 countries in the Asia Pacific (60.2) and the world average (61.6).
The major Asian stock markets had a mixed day today:
- NIKKEI 225 increased 324.36 points or 1.14% to 28,729.88
- Shanghai decreased 3.47 points or -0.10% to 3,363.59
- Hang Seng decreased 18.53 points or -0.07% to 27,899.61
- ASX 200 increased 11.80 points or 0.17% to 6,790.60
- Kospi increased 11.98 points or 0.40% to 3,008.33
- SENSEX decreased 740.19 points or -1.51% to 48,440.12
- Nifty50 decreased 224.50 points or -1.54% to 14,324.90
The major Asian currency markets had a mixed day today:
- AUDUSD decreased 0.00185 or -0.24% to 0.75701
- NZDUSD decreased 0.00191 or -0.27% to 0.69481
- USDJPY increased 0.36 or 0.34% to 109.13
- USDCNY increased 0.02051 or 0.31% to 6.54964
- Gold decreased 2.93 USD/t oz. or -0.17% to 1,731.26
- Silver decreased 0.12 USD/t. oz or -0.48% to 24.960
Some economic news from last night:
Foreign Bonds Buying increased from -426.2B to 551.6B
Foreign Investments in Japanese Stocks decreased from -55.0B to -79.7B
RBNZ Offshore Holdings (Jan) increased from 43.80% to 47.50%
Some economic news from today:
M3 Money Supply decreased from 12.8% to 12.6%
Trade Balance increased from -25.2B to -14.7B
Exports (MoM) (Feb) decreased from 44.0% to 30.4%
Imports (MoM) (Feb) decreased from 37.7% to 17.6%
M2 Money Supply (YoY) (Feb) decreased from 11.80% to 11.30%
Santander is to close 111 branches across the UK – a fifth of its network – which it says is in response to the shift to digital banking, accelerated by the pandemic. The bank also announced a shake-up of its office sites that will lead to four locations being closed and its UK headquarters being moved from London to Milton Keynes. About 5,000 staff are affected by the offices announcement, and Santander said they would be offered new arrangements combining working from home with “access to local spaces designed to enable team collaboration.” In addition, the bank said all current and business account holders would still be able to bank in person at more than 11,000 Post Office branches.
The BBC is to move some of its key departments and staff outside London to make the corporation more reflective of the UK as a whole. Entire departments and news divisions will be moved to Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow and Salford.
The UAE has signed initial agreements with Singapore to explore partnerships in technology and public governance. A joint session between Abu Dhabi and Singapore was held virtually on Monday, where the pair discussed areas of cooperation in a number of growing fields, including space technology. The agreement will focus on emerging topics in public sector leadership, governance, public administration and management, as well as public digital literacy.
The major Europe stock markets had a mixed day:
- CAC 40 increased 5.12 points or 0.09% to 5,952.41
- FTSE 100 decreased 38.06 points or -0.57% to 6,674.83
- DAX 30 increased 10.97 points or 0.08% to 14,621.36
The major Europe currency markets had a mixed day today:
- EURUSD decreased 0.0036 or -0.30% to 1.17765
- GBPUSD increased 0.00379 or 0.28% to 1.37207
- USDCHF increased 0.0032 or 0.34% to 0.93903
Some economic news from Europe today:
CBI Distributive Trades Survey (Mar) remain the same at -45
French Business Survey (Mar) remain the same at 98
GfK German Consumer Climate (Apr) increased from -12.7 to -6.2
Spanish PPI (YoY) decreased from 0.9% to 0.8%
SNB Interest Rate Decision remain the same at -0.75%
Italian Trade Balance Non-EU (Feb) increased from 1.71B to 4.11B
M3 Money Supply (YoY) (Jan) increased from 12.3% to 13.3%
Loans to Non Financial Corporations (Jan) increased from 7.0% to 7.1%
Private Sector Loans (YoY) remain the same at 3.0%
The Labor Department released a promising report this Thursday as initial claims unexpectedly declined. Around 684,000 people filed for unemployment, opposed to analysts’ expectations of 735,000. This marks the lowest level of weekly jobless claims in over a year. Additionally, GDP for Q4 of 2020 was revised up to 4.3% from the previous 4.1% figure.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is displeased with US President Joe Biden for causing immigrant-hopefuls to surge to the US border amid false promises. “Expectations were created that with the Government of President Biden there would be a better treatment of migrants. And this has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, wanting to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so,” Lopez Obrador told reporters. President Biden has denied the media access to the border detention centers, which are reportedly well beyond full capacity.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced that the government would provide C$7 billion to provinces, cities, territories, and First Nations communities to assist in dealing with the pandemic. The C-25 bill, if passed, would provide Canada Health Transfer with a C$4 billion one-time payment to deliver health services across the country. An additional $2.2 billion would be spent on the Gas Tax Fund, which provides bi-annual payments to territories and provinces to support local infrastructure. An additional C$1 billion would be spent on vaccination campaigns.
US Market Closings:
- Dow advanced 199.42 points or 0.62% to 32,619.48
- S&P 500 advanced 20.38 points or 0.52% to 3,909.52
- Nasdaq advanced 15.79 points or 0.12% to 12,977.68
- Russell 2000 advanced 48.86 points or 2.29% to 2,183.12
Canada Market Closings:
- TSX Composite advanced 22.81 points or 0.12% to 18,651.1
- TSX 60 advanced 0.74 of a point or 0.07% to 1,115.42
Brazil Market Closing:
- Bovespa advanced 1,685.71 points or 1.5% to 113,749.9
The oil markets had a mixed day today:
- Crude Oil decreased 3.08 USD/BBL or -5.03% to 58.1000
- Brent decreased 2.7 USD/BBL or -4.19% to 61.7100
- Natural gas increased 0.05 USD/MMBtu or 1.99% to 2.5680
- Gasoline decreased 0.0683 USD/GAL or -3.43% to 1.9207
- Heating oil decreased 0.0868 USD/GAL or -4.75% to 1.7388
- Top commodity gainers: Natural Gas (1.99%), Orange juice (1.00%), Lean Hogs (1.25%) and Lumber (0.48%)
- Top commodity losers: Crude Oil (-5.03%), Heating Oil (-4.75%), Brent (-4.19%), and Cotton (-4.85%)
The above data was collected around 12:25 EST on Thursday.
Japan 0.09%(+2bp), US 2’s 0.14%(-0.006%), US 10’s 1.61%(-0bps); US 30’s 2.33%(+0.02%), Bunds -0.37% (+3bp), France -0.12% (-1bp), Italy 0.59% (-0bp), Turkey 17.43% (+8bp), Greece 0.86% (-0bp), Portugal 0.16% (-1bp); Spain 0.27% (-1bp) and UK Gilts 0.73% (-2bp).