Economic Indicators1/3/12

Economic Indicators George Chamber

International markets

Global shares fell this yesterday as well as this morning as Federal Reserve Chairperson Ben Bernanke put the brakes on a recent rally by curbing optimism about the strength of the US economic recovery, but without signalling any further monetary easing to stimulate growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 53.05 points, to close at 12 952.07. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 6.50 points, to 1 365.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 19.87 points, to 2 966.89

European markets recorded slight gains yesterday as investors parsed conflicting economic data from the United States and looked ahead nervously to the European Central Bank’s second offer of three-year loans to banks on Wednesday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed at 264.32. The U.K. FTSE 100 fell 1% to 5,871.51. In Paris, the CAC 40 index closed marginally lower at 3,452.45 and the DAX 30 index ended down 0.5% at 6,856.08.

This morning Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average turned lower after rising over 1% on the back of profit taking as the yen started to recover some of its losses against the U.S. dollar; Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.3%. China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.1% and India’s Sensex was off 1.2%. South Korean markets were shut for a holiday.

The US dollar is currently trading at 1.33 to the euro, 1.59 to the pound and will buy 81.02 Japanese Yen or 7.46 South African Rand.

Domestic markets

The JSE ended firmer yesterday, tracking positive global sentiment following the announcement of the European Central Bank’s lending facility. In addition, the US revised fourth quarter GDP data, which topped market expectations, also boosting local sentiment.

At the close, the JSE all-share index gained 0.24% to 34,296 points, with the platinum sector adding 1.22%, financials slipping 0.14%, and banking stocks ending flat. Resources were 0.11% higher, while industrials rose 0.50%, and gold shares dipped 0.43%.

South African bonds were firmer yesterday, largely on the back of the stronger rand.

At the close, the benchmark R157 bond was bid at 6.605% and offered at 6.600% from its previous close of 6.625%. The R207 was bid at 7.730% and offered at 7.715% from a previous close of 7.745%, and the R186 was bid at 8.240% and offered at 8.220% from its close of 8.250%.


Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1724.22/oz. and platinum at US$ 1696.00/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 122.70 per barrel.


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