Kieran Salsone

St George Economics economy and finance update

Share Markets:

The overnight session saw only thin trade with US markets closed for the Presidents Day public holiday.

The German Dax rose 0.5% after the Bundesbank said that it expected economic growth to pick up during 2013.

The FTSE100 was down 0.2%. Italy holds its general elections next week.

Bonds:

With the US markets closed, bond markets were little changed. German long bonds yield 1.63% while those in the US sit at 2.00%.

Ten year Australian government bond currently yield 3.56% having traded below 3.00% in October.

Foreign Exchange: 

The AUD edged higher at the start of the overnight session but faded later.

It opens today marginally lower than it did yesterday. The yen and the euro were little changed against the USD and the AUD although the euro saw some volatility.

Commodities:

Gold was virtually unchanged while copper and oil were down in thin trade. Oil is down for a second successive day with minimal news on global economic growth.

Australia:

New motor vehicle sales fell 2.4% in January, after rising by an upwardly revised 2.7% in December (previously reported as a 2.2% increase).

Despite the decline, it was the strongest January on record. For the year to January, car sales rose 10.8%, down from growth of 17.9% in the year to December.

Europe:

The euro's exchange rate should not be dramatised with needless talk of currency wars, European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on Monday, noting the currency was moving within standard ranges.

Quantitative easing in major economies has been creating concern regarding its impact on currencies and future inflation.

The euro hit a 15-month high against the dollar earlier this month, complicating the ECB's policy making tasks by weighing on growth and feeding expectations that it may have to take fresh policy action.

Spain's Treasury said on Monday it planned to issue between 6 billion and 8 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in debt this week. In recent months Spain has been successful in raising its required funds in the market.

United States:

Markets in the US were closed for the Presidents Day public holiday.

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