Friday, 8 March 2013

Central banks leave monetary policies unchanged

The three major central bank meetings on Thursday ended relatively uneventfully. The European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England all left monetary policy unchanged after their monetary policy meetings.

Central banks can perhaps afford to be sanguine at the moment. There were few signs of distress in financial markets on Thursday, with Spanish bond yields in particular falling 11 basis points to 4.9 percent after a successful government bond auction that saw 2.44 billion euros of 10-year bonds sold at an average yield of 4.917 percent, the lowest since November 2010.

Economic data on Thursday were mixed.

In Japan, the index of coincident economic indicators fell 0.3 points in January. However, the index of leading economic indicators rose 3.1 points.

In Germany, factory orders fell 1.9 percent in January after having risen 1.1 percent in December.

In the US, the trade deficit widened in January as exports fell 1.2 percent and imports rose 1.8 percent. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 7,000 to 340,000 last week, pushing the four-week average down 7,000 to 348,750, the lowest level since March 2008.

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