Major U.S. benchmarks closed the week in positive territory for the year despite the lack of major data releases to support the moves. Technology led the week thanks to some promising earnings and news out of the sector followed up by Materials who are benefitting from lower input costs, primarily energy.
European GDP released on Friday came in better than expected with the region growing by 0.3% in Q4. However pricing data still reveals weakness, particularly in Germany, which was reported weaker than anticipated.
India announced GDP growth of 7.4% in 2014. The rate is far higher than previous estimates thank to a new methodology. Officials, including the central bank’s Mr. Rajan, are preaching caution in interpreting the number until they are better understood.
CPI and PPI information released in China continued a downward trend. The People’s Bank injected funds into the system for the seventh straight week to fend off the tightening effects of falling prices.
The Turkish Lira hit multiyear lows this week. Analysts expect Prime Minister Erdogan will continue to pressure for a rate cut from the central bank to support the economy before elections in June.
Venezuela announced a new currency regime this week aimed to stop the rampant inflation and black market activity in the country. Onlookers and markets have exhibited no faith in the plans ability to meet the administration’s goals.
Australian unemployment hit a 12-year high as the country continues to suffer from Chinese weakness and low commodity prices.
Sweden’s Riksbank introduced negative interest rates and a bond buying program to try to resuscitate inflation. Few expect the plan to materialize in much inflation given its small size.