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Financial Focus

Activity in the UK’s dominant services sector slowed at the fastest pace in a more than a decade last month, and firms’ confidence in future business weakened to a one-year low, August’s PMI survey-data shows. The figures are likely to confirm expectations that the Bank of England will leave interest rates at 0.5% this week and may even ignite speculation the central bank will consider injecting more stimulus into the economy.

Finland will find a Greek collateral model that respects the priority creditor status of the IMF and honours existing bondholder claims, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said yesterday. The deadlock over Finland’s insistence that it get collateral for new Greek loans threatens to delay rescue measures in the euro region, where efforts to contain the debt crisis are unravelling on multiple fronts.

EUROPE’s sovereign debt crisis will stunt bank profit for years and could kill off the weakest, Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann told industry bosses, amid intense scrutiny of the sector’s finances.

MARKETS:

European shares are set to extend losses today, as investors move away from riskier assets on US recession worries, and concerns that Europe’s debt crisis could spread to other countries.

Asian stocks fell overnight, with a regional benchmark index falling to within 1% of its lowest close this year, on concern that Europe may be unable to halt the spread of its sovereign-debt crisis.

US STOCKS fell by 2.3% through the night, indicating the S&P 500 Index may continue its slide, as European markets showed growing concern the sovereign debt crisis is worsening.

CURRENCIES:

The EURO retreated for a sixth day against both the yen and dollar, and for a fifth against the Swiss franc before a report forecast to show German factory orders declined in July, adding to concern that the region’s debt crisis will curtail the economic recovery. The Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against the currencies of six major US trading partners, climbed for a sixth day to its highest since August 5th.

ENERGY:

Oil for October delivery fell as much as 3.8% to $83.20 a barrel in New York before trading a little higher. Brent Crude rose slightly, following three days of losses.

COMMODITIES:

Raw-material producers and commodity related shares slid overnight, after the price of raw materials fell. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminium slid 1.6% yesterday. Corn and wheat also dropped on concerns that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen and dent the outlook for the global economy, damping demand for grains. Soybeans also declined.

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