UK construction activity falls in March at fastest rate since 2009


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen as the sun sets behind a construction site in London

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s construction sector saw the sharpest fall in activity since the financial crisis last month, a survey showed on Monday, despite facing much less pressure than other industries to shut down operations due to the coronavirus.

The figures from financial data provider IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) also confirmed data last week that showed the British private sector as a whole is contracting at its fastest rate in more than 20 years.

The construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) tumbled to 39.3 in March from 52.6 in February, its lowest since April 2009 and well below economists’ average forecast of 44.0.

The 13-point monthly fall was the largest since the survey began in 1997, and the index looks likely to worsen.

“The sector is stuck in quicksand and sinking further,” Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said.

Britain’s government has not required general construction work to stop to slow the spread of coronavirus – in contrast to its order for most shops and restaurants to close to the public, and for workers in other sectors to stay home if possible.

Nonetheless, IHS Markit said building companies reported stoppages last month as they sought to comply with guidance to keep workers 2 metres apart where safe to do so, as well as a big fall in new orders.

“Survey respondents widely commented on doubts about the feasibility of continuing with existing projects as well as starting new work,” IHS Markit economist Tim Moore said.

“Construction supply chains instead are set to largely focus on the provision of essential activities such as infrastructure maintenance, safety-critical remedial work and support for public services in the weeks ahead,” he added.

Last week, IHS Markit’s composite PMI for the manufacturing and services sectors fell to its lowest on record at 36.0 for March, and Monday’s all-sector version including the construction industry was also a record low at 36.3.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Oil falls after Saudi Arabia, Russia delay meeting


LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Monday, after Saudi Arabia and Russia delayed a meeting to discuss output cuts that could help reduce global oversupply as the coronavirus pandemic pummels demand.

Brent crude LCoc1 fell more than $3 when Asian markets opened but recovered some ground with traders hopeful that a deal between the top producers was still within reach.

At 0814 GMT, Brent was down $1.10, or 3.2%, at $33.01 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 were 84 cents, or 3%, lower at $27.50 a barrel, off a session low of $25.28.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, is expected to meet on Thursday, instead of Monday, to discuss cutting production.

“Perhaps it is best that the meeting was delayed for producers to cement a minimum of common ground before the actual discussions take place on Thursday,” said BNP Paribas analyst Harry Tchilinguirian, although he said initial disappointment at the delay had driven down prices in Asian business.

(GRAPHIC: Oil prices – here)

OPEC+ is working on a deal to cut oil production by about 10% of world supply, or 10 million barrels per day (bpd), in what member states expect to be an unprecedented global effort.

The countries are “very, very close” to a deal on cuts, one of Russia’s top oil negotiators, Kirill Dmitriev, who heads the nation’s wealth fund, told CNBC.

But Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen said even if the group agree to cut up to 15 million bpd, “it will only be enough to scratch the surface of the more than 23 million bpd supply overhang predicted for April 2020.”

Still, sentiment was lifted by Saudi Arabia’s decision to delay releasing its crude official selling prices to Friday to wait for the outcome of the OPEC+ meeting.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he would impose tariffs on crude imports if he needed to protect U.S. energy workers from the oil price crash that has been exacerbated by the war between Russia and Saudi Arabia over market share.

FILE PHOTO: An employee holds a sample of crude oil at the Yarakta oilfield, owned by Irkutsk Oil Co, in the Irkutsk region, Russia on March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko//File Photo

Rig counts in the United States fell by 62 last week, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co BRK.N said on Friday, marking the biggest weekly drop in five years, as U.S. energy companies slashed spending on new drilling due to a coronavirus-related slump in economic activity and fuel demand.

(GRAPHIC: Goldman Sachs on oil demand destruction – here)

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore and Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York



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Gold Falls as Central Banks Drift Away From the Bid Side By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com — Gold prices retreated again on Tuesday under pressure from end-of-quarter repositioning, but also from the awareness that emerging market central banks, having been keen buyers of gold in recent years, are now having to push more out into the market to defend their currencies.

At the weekend, the Central Bank of Ecuador said it had raised $300 million through a one-month gold swap which involved pledging 240 thousand ounces of its reserves.

On Monday, the central bank of Russia confirmed widely-held expectations in saying it would stop buying gold from domestic producers on April 1, a move that will bolster its reserves as it fights to stop the ruble depreciating too fast against the dollar and euro. The CBR had already cut its purchases by around 40% last year as gold prices rallied to multiyear highs.

By 11:40 PM ET (1540 GMT), for delivery on the Comex exchange were down 1.2% at $1,624.20 an ounce, while was down 0.7% at $1,609.69. Arbitrage opportunities persisted amid reports that gold refiners are still struggling to ship gold to warehouses recognized by key exchanges.  

A further factor weighing on gold Tuesday was a second-straight day of gains for the dollar as it recovered its poise from last week’s selloff. A strong dollar drives up the price of gold in local currencies worldwide.

Elsewhere, rose 0.2% to $14.35 an ounce, while rose 1.4% to $733.70.

Other havens were mixed. Long-dated Treasury yields rising in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement via Twitter of plans for $2 trillion in infrastructure spending, an idea that, if ever agreed with Congress, would further embolden gold bulls who believe in the ultimate debasement of all fiat currency.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Mastercard Stock Falls 3% By Investing.com


© Reuters. Mastercard Stock Falls 3%

Investing.com – Mastercard (NYSE:) Stock fell by 3.11% to trade at $245.01 by 12:39 (16:39 GMT) on Tuesday on the NYSE exchange.

The volume of Mastercard shares traded since the start of the session was 3.56M. Mastercard has traded in a range of $245.00 to $252.60 on the day.

The stock has traded at $265.9100 at its highest and $199.9900 at its lowest during the past seven days.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



France’s annual inflation falls in March to lowest since 2016 By Reuters



PARIS (Reuters) – France’s annual inflation fell more than expected in March to hit its lowest level since late 2016 as a government-imposed lockdown sharply restricted economic activity, data from the INSEE official statistics agency showed on Tuesday.

Consumer prices were unchanged in March for the second month in a row, giving an annual rate for the month of only 0.7%, according to a preliminary reading of European Union-harmonized data from INSEE.

That rate, down from 1.6% in February, fell short of the 1.1% expected on average in a Reuters poll of economists and was the lowest since November 2016.

The drop was driven by a plunge in energy prices and to a lesser extent lower prices for manufactured goods, INSEE said.

INSEE estimated last week that the economy was operating at two thirds of its normal level, which was likely to knock three percentage points off growth for each month in lockdown.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



FOREX – U.S. Dollar Down Ahead of Jobless Claims Data; Pound Falls  By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com  The U.S dollar continued a week-long decline into Tuesday morning as investors await jobless claims data due later in the day.  

 

Forecasts complied by investing.com predict a million claims as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. 

 

“It could be difficult for the markets to digest weekly jobless claims. Bad numbers are expected and priced in to a certain extent, but there are people who think things will get even worse,” Tohru Sasaki, JP Morgan Securities’ head of Japan markets research, told CNBC. 

 

On a more positive note for the greenback, he added In the end this may support the dollar as investors choose to bring their money home.”  

 

Even the news that the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion relief package failed to give the dollar a boost. 

 

The , which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, slid 0.19% to 100.810 by 11:40 PM ET (03:40 AM GMT). 

 

The pair fell 0.77% to 0.5912 and the pair lost 0.33% to 0.5828 as investors continued to avoid excessive risk. The Antipodean pair’s close links to the global commodity trade led investorto liquidate their positions into U.S. dollar deposits earlier in the month. 

 

The pair was down 0.49% to 110.64 and the pair lost 0.02% to 7.1088. 

 

The pair slid % to 1.1615with the number of cases exceeding 8,000 as of March 25. Concerns are rising that the U.K. is inadequately prepared for the spike in cases, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stricter new regulations released earlier this week. 

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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BNY Mellon money fund gets capital infusion after ‘shadow price’ falls


BOSTON (Reuters) – A New Jersey municipal money-market fund run by BNY Mellon Corp needed an injection of $89,000 after the market value of the fund came under pressure, the bank disclosed on Tuesday in a U.S. regulatory filing.

BNY Mellon said it provided capital support to the General New Jersey Municipal Money Market Fund on Monday. Last week, the market value of the fund, or its shadow price, dropped as low as $0.9968 per share, amid turmoil in the U.S. debt market.

It is not unusual for the market value of money market funds to fluctuate from their $1-per-share stable net asset value (NAV). But BNY Mellon’s fund dropped far enough that it required the bank to file a material event disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fund is still paying investors $1 per share to the dollar on their investments, analysts said.

The BNY Mellon New Jersey fund is the only money fund, as of Tuesday, that had to disclose a material decline in its market value NAV, according to disclosures with the SEC.

After the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the SEC put in rules that require funds to disclose a relatively big downward move in shadow price. It serves as a pre-notification that a fund is potentially heading in the direction of “breaking the buck”, or falling below $1 per share, even if it has not yet done so.

The disclosure is triggered if a shadow price falls below $0.9975 a share.

The $51 million New Jersey fund’s shadow NAV fell to $0.9968 per share on Friday. The market NAV has since recovered to $0.9987.

But the fund was never breaking the buck, said Pete Crane, president of money-market research firm Crane Data LLC.

As long as a money fund’s per-share shadow price remains in the range of $0.9950 to $1.1050, the fund can price its portfolio at a stable $1 NAV. And that means investors still receive $1 per share on their $1-per-share investment.

Shadow prices are used by the money market fund industry to show that per-share market value of a portfolio can fluctuate. Shadow prices are expected to closely track, or shadow, the stable $1 per share NAV.

The shadow price reflects the current market value of the securities the fund owns, rather than the amortized cost of those securities. SEC rules permit a money market fund to value its securities at cost and spread out, or amortize, any discounts given or premiums paid on the securities when the fund acquired them.

Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sam Holmes



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UK inflation falls from six-month high, coronavirus to trigger slide By Reuters


© Reuters. People are seen at the fruit and vegetable aisle in Sainsbury’s supermarket

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – British inflation fell in February, before the coronavirus crisis hit the country, and economists predict a further sharp fall in the next couple of months due to the collapse in global oil prices caused by the pandemic.

Consumer price inflation fell to 1.7% in February from a six-month high of 1.8% in January, the Office for National Statistics said, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll.

The decline reflected falls in the cost of fuel and often-volatile video game prices.

Since last month, the price of oil has halved in U.S. dollar terms to below $28 a barrel, and economists expect the downward impact of this on British inflation will comfortably outweigh a sharp fall in sterling to near a 35-year low against the dollar.

“CPI inflation looks set to decline sharply over the coming months and to fall comfortably below 1% in the summer,” Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

Further downward pressure would come from a cap on household energy bills, a slump in demand for travel and the recent closure of non-essential shops, restaurants and recreation venues, he said.

“Prices in these sectors will remain frozen at their pre-virus levels for as long as the government’s shutdown lasts.”

Economists at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) said on Tuesday the British economy would contract by about 10% in the April-June period due to the government’s shutdown, which it ordered to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has so far killed 422 people in Britain.

Inflation is already well below the Bank of England’s 2% target, after striking its lowest in more than three years in December at 1.3%, and there was little immediate market reaction to the data on Wednesday.

The BoE has cut interest rates to a record low of 0.1% and ramped up its bond-buying program to help cushion the hit to the economy from coronavirus.

Retail price inflation, an older, less accurate measure still used for inflation-linked government bonds and some commercial contracts, fell to 2.5% from 2.7% in January.

Producer output price inflation – a measure which can give a guide to incoming inflation pressures – slowed more than expected to 0.4% in February from 1.0% in January.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. Dollar Falls; Yen Gains Despite Rising Stock Markets By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Alex Ho

 

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar was down on Friday in Asia, while the yen gained but liquidity was reduced amid a Japanese public holiday.

The that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies dropped 0.7% to 102.865 by 1:47 AM ET (05:47 GMT). 

Overnight, the Federal Reserve said it would expand the currency swap lines  to nine more countries, including central banks in Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Norway and Denmark.

The pair gained 0.5% to 1.0744. The Bank of England (BOE) on Thursday slashed rates and expanded its bond-buying program.

The BOE said it would increase its purchases of government and investment grade corporate bonds by 200 billion pounds ($230 billion) to 645 billion pounds.

“The majority of additional asset purchases will comprise UK government bonds,” the bank said in a statement. “The purchases announced today will be completed as soon as is operationally possible, consistent with improved market functioning.”

The central bank’s move would “create the space for the chancellor to announce further measures to help cushion the blow,” ING said.

While the central bank’s action is unlikely to stop a recession, the “hope is that many of these measures can help limit the increase in unemployment, and foster a swifter and smoother recovery when the virus shutdowns have passed,” ING added.

The pair lost 0.3% to 7.0805. China fixed its 1-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) on Friday morning at 4.05%, the same as a month earlier. China also set the 5-year LPR at 4.75%, also unchanged from a month earlier.  

The pair jumped 1.9% to 0.5850. The Federal Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to 0.25% on Thursday. 

 

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls Less Than Forecast in March By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — U.S. consumer sentiment fell slightly less than forecast in March amid stock market declines as Americans remained somewhat optimistic in their initial response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index fell to 95.9 from 101 in February, according to data released Friday that slightly exceeded estimates in Bloomberg’s survey of economists. The gauge of current conditions fell to 112.5 and the expectations index fell to 85.3.

“The initial response to the pandemic has not generated the type of economic panic among consumers that was present in the runup to the Great Recession,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement. “Nonetheless, the data suggest that additional declines in confidence are still likely to occur as the spread of the virus continues to accelerate.”

Curtin said the figures suggest Americans’ early reaction to the public health crisis reflected a perception of the pandemic “as a temporary event.”

The pullback snaps a six-month streak of gains that showed Americans had grown more upbeat as trade tensions with China eased. This month’s first major sentiment report will be followed by a final reading March 27 and the Conference Board’s gauge on March 31. Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index this week posted a sixth-straight drop, the longest such stretch since 2015.

The survey conducted from Feb. 26 through late Wednesday evening captures a period that started with the virus beginning to spread across the country and culminated with the plunging into a bear market, the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic and President Donald Trump restricting travel from Europe.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.