Cut in VAT 'boosts retail sales'
Pound Sterling - UK Markets
With the UK celebrating Easter over an extended four-day weekend, market news is a little light on the ground today. However the pound has this morning hit a 4-day interbank high of between 0.8863-0.8963 against the euro. Citing trading patterns, analysts from BNP Paribas SA are anticipating the euro declining to a six-week low of around 88.50 later this week.
US Dollar - US Markets
A day after Barack Obama said that he sees "glimmers of hope" in the US economy, Goldman Sachs has reported a net quarterly profit of USD1.8bn, beating analyst expectations. The previous quarter had seen the firm post its first quarterly loss since going public in 1999. Some analysts say the earnings results could suggest the worst could be over for finance firms.
The announcement from Goldman Sachs follows a statement from Wells Fargo that said the bank expected a record net profit for the quarter. Citigroup Inc. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. are both due to report earnings this week.
Following the announcement, the euro is down slightly against the US dollar with investors seeing the announcement as a strong sign that the US economy is on the up. The 16-nation currency will currently buy USD around 1.3282-1.3353 at an interbank rate.
Euro - European Markets
The German government announced over the weekend that they will decide on 21st April whether to set up a "bad bank" to take on banks' liquid toxic assets, allowing them to return to their core business. The issue has been under discussion for several weeks and received another impetus last month after the US administration unveiled its Public-Private Investment Program, aimed at helping banks to sell troubled assets to public-private partnerships.
According to the Monster Employment Index, unemployment in the European Union looks set to rise further in March as companies continue to trim costs and employment opportunities recede. The Index slid three points to 112 in March after a surprise increase in February. Monster said the steepest declines in online recruitment opportunities were in the marketing, public relations and media, environment, engineering and auto sectors.
Other Currencies - Highlights
Singapore's economy shrank by 19.7% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the previous three months, its biggest quarterly contraction on record. The government now expects the country's GDP to contract by between 6% and 9% this year, much more than the previous estimate of between 2% and 5%. The country's Ministry of Trade and Industry said the economy's performance was much worse than expected.