Volatility continues to manifest in financial markets. Triple digit losses and large intra-day swings characterized much of the week as all sectors and major indices in the U.S. posted losses. Money continues to flow overseas, particularly Europe where low valuations and monetary policy remain supportive of equities in spite of poor economic conditions.
Energy prices posted one of their largest percentage gains in years this past week. Reports of Saudi Arabia’s intervention into Yemen lifted crude prices on fears supply in the Gulf of Aden could be disrupted.
Poor PMI and inflation data was reported in Japan this week. Core inflation came in at 0%, renewing commentary on Abenomics effectiveness and whether or not the program’s stated goals would be reached.
The latest data out of Britain suggests the island economy is joining the theme of global weakness. Housing prices have been falling, unexpectedly, and Britain’s yield curve has come down considerably in recent weeks, suggesting low demand.
US Q4 GDP was reported at 2.2%. The figure comes in lower than previous estimates of 2.4%. Projections for Q1 of 2015 suggest a relative cooling for the economy.
Data out of Europe continues to suggest an improved economic climate. Loan growth and money supply both accelerated according to reports this week while German consumer confidence also continues to rise.
While data from Europe offers positive sentiment escalating tension between Greece and its creditors, especially Germany, continue to capture headlines. A Reuters investigation projects Athens to run out of cash by mid-April if no deal between Greece and the Brussels group is reached. Minister Stathakis of Greece stated he hopes for a deal next week but reports of Tsipras and Merkel each holding their ground has cast doubts on such optimism.