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IEA releases strategic oil reserves

The IEA, the world energy watch-dog, had threatened a month ago to release strategic reserves to alleviate the supply shortage due to Libyan oil output decreasing, equivalent to about 10 days of European consumption. It proceeded to do so last Thursday, by releasing 60m barrels of oil, of which half was provided by the United […]

China declares victory on inflation

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao declared in the FT today that “overall price level is within a controllable range and is expected to drop steadily”. This declaration confirms our core scenario of headline inflation declining in the second semester from roughly 6% in June towards 4.3% by the end of the year. We believe that this […]

Insight: Socially Responsible Investments

     The views from Christophe Butz & Laurent Nguyen Lessons from the crisis Apart from wreaking havoc across the globe, the financial crisis also taught socially responsible investors two instructive lessons. First, SRI equity portfolios performed very much in line with the broad market and did not provide a significantly better downside protection. And, […]

Switzerland: monetary policy assessment

As expected, at its quarterly monetary policy meeting, the SNB kept its target three-month LIBOR rate on hold at 0.25%. As the chart below shows, the official rate has been at this level since March 2009. The Central Bank seemed less upbeat on growth prospects, but remains worried by the “danger of overheating in the […]

United States: consumer price index

Although part of the recent acceleration is linked to temporary factors, we believe that core inflation will pick up further, albeit modestly, during the course of H2. Our year-end target is actually revised up from 1.6% to 1.8%. The overall CPI rose by 0.2% m-o-m in May, above consensus expectations of +0.1%. Food prices were […]

China’s May Macro Data

May trade figures came as a surprise to the market since it shows domestic demand is not declining, contrary to the consensus’ belief of a hard landing as a consequence of tightening measures introduced to tame inflation. Imports grew much stronger than market expectations, suggesting a firm demand. Inflation grew a bit but is heading […]

Greek crisis: an update

Greece’s cabinet yesterday approved the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) after days of acrimonious debate within the PASOK (Prime Minister’s party). It is worth recalling that the adoption of this plan is pivotal for Greece to obtain a new EU-IMF rescue package designed to fulfil its 2012 financing gap. Without this aid extension, the IMF […]

ECB Press conference

As expected the ECB’s Governing Council decided yesterday to leave its official interest rate unchanged at 1.25%, but Jean-Claude Trichet used the code words “strong vigilance” several times suggesting that the main policy rate will probably be raised by 25bp to 1.5% at July’s meeting. The hint was reinforced by other hawkish sentences like: “we […]

United States: Trade figures

Today’s figures show that net exports are likely to bring a welcome support to Q2 GDP growth. The US trade deficit (trade of goods and services) narrowed substantially to $43.7bn in April from 46.8bn in March (revised from 48.2bn), and was below consensus expectations ($48.8bn). The decrease was exclusively linked to a contraction in the […]

Euro area: Q1 GDP growth

The second release of euro area Q1 GDP was unchanged from its preliminary estimate of 0.8% q-o-q (3.4% q-o-q annualised), consistent with a 2.5% y-o-y growth. The most recent past has not been revised (0.3% q-o-q in Q4 and 0.4% in Q3), so the sharp rebound in Q1 is confirmed. The most vivid growth was […]

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