Markets Remain Pressured by Eurozone Situation. Italian Banks Downgraded

  on May 15 2012 3:03 AM

Financial markets continued the same pessimistic tone, mainly driven by the situation in the Eurozone. The same deadlock remained in Greece with no progress in the formation of a coalition government. Credit ratings of a number of Italian banks were downgraded although bond auction results came in better than expected. Wall Street plunged with the DJIA and the S&P 500 losing -0.98% and -1.11% respectively. In the commodity sector, the front-month contract for WTI crude oil slipped to as low as 93.65 before rebounding to 94.78 at close, down -1.40%, while the equivalent Brent crude contract plummeting to 110.04 before ending the day at 111.57, down -0.61%. the Comex gold contract declined further to 1561.0, down -1.45% at close.

The deadlock in Greece remained and no party seems is able to form a new government yet. PASOK's Venizelos stated that things are difficult and he is not optimistic. Moreover, a proposal by the New Democracy Party to form a technocrat government has been dismissed by SYRIZA and the Democrat Left. With regard to the possibility of Greece's exit from the Eurozone, Eurogroup Chairman Juncker said that the group did not discuss any possibility about it during the latest meeting and there is an unshakeable desire to keep Greece in the Eurozone while the EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Ollie Rehn also said that the EU there was no plans to ease Greece's fiscal targets and indicated that the current fiscal targets are part of the EU program which should be respected. In Italy, Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of 26 Italian banks. Yet, the country sold 5.25B euro of bonds with yields rising just +2 bps to 3.91%, compared with the last auction of the same bond a month ago.

The RBA released minutes about the rate cut in May, unveiling the policymakers believed monetary easing is needed to stimulate growth. It's stated that growth outside of the mining sector was expected to be below trend in the near term, affected by the high exchange rate, softer government spending and subdued conditions in the housing market and building industry. Moreover, with financial markets remaining unsettled, the risks emanating from Europe continued to cloud the global outlook.

On the dataflow, the US inflation probably gained +0.1%, moderating from +0.3% a month ago. On annual basis, the reading probably eased to +2.3% from +2.7%. The Empire State Manufacturing index might have climbed to 8 in May from 6.6 in the prior month. Retail sales might have grew +0.2% in April, down from +0.8% in March.

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