Financial Markets…Global stocks started the week on a weak note, after enjoying three weeks of consecutive gains, as a sell-off of technology stocks that started on U.S. market on Friday extended to Asian and European markets. Renewed concern over the geopolitical risk in Ukraine also weighed on investors’ sentiment, especially in Europe. The benchmark MSCI world stock index dropped a third of a percent from last week’s highest levels not seen since late 2007.
Zambia is set to issue its second Global bond today, becoming the first sovereign issuer from Sub-Saharan African region to tap the international bond market this year. A new bond is priced to yield between 8.75% and 8.875%, up sharply from a yield of just 5.63% for the $750 million bond sold in September 2012. The sharp rise in borrowing costs might reflect deteriorating economic outlook on the country amid the widening budget deficit and external vulnerabilities.
High Income Economies…Advancing for the fourth consecutive month, Germany's industrial production increased 0.4% (m/m) in February, slower than the 0.7% rise in January. Production in industry, excluding energy and construction climbed 0.5% in February, while output in energy production and construction dropped by 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively. Within industry, Intermediate goods production rose 1.3%, consumer goods production increased 0.3%, while production of capital goods fell 0.2%.
Japan's leading index declined more than expected from 113.1 in January to 108.5 in February, the lowest since last August. Likewise, the coincident index, a measure of the current economic situation, declined to 113.4 from 115.2 in January. On the other hand, the lagging index, which gauges the past performance of the Japanese economy, rose to 116.7 in February from 116.0 in January.
Exports of Taiwan, China grew 2.0% (y/y/) to $27.7 billion. The larger than expected increase was driven by shipments of electronic products that advanced 9.2%. Imports also surged unexpectedly by 7.5% annually to $25.8 billion, and consequently, the trade surplus came in at $1.9 billion.
Developing Economies…Sub-Saharan Africa: Mozambique’s annual headline inflation, measured by the consumer price index, accelerated in March, rising to 3.0% up from 2.4% (y/y) in February, but remained well below the central bank’s target of 5.6% for 2014. Upward pressures came from cost of housing, electricity, gas and fuel, and prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Month-on-month, prices rose 0.9% following a 0.39% increase in February.
Following a rebasing calculation, Nigeria’s gross domestic product for 2013 was estimated at 80.22 trillion naira, approximately US$509.9bn, up from 42.3 trillion naira or US$268.6bn before the rebasing, representing an increase of 89.6%. As a result of the rebasing calculation, which brought forward the base year to 2010 from 1990, Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy, surpassing South Africa, whose GDP was estimated at US$372bn in 2012.
South Africa’s gross foreign exchange reserves fell in March, dropping to US$49.45bn from US$50.12bn in February. Net reserves dipped to US$45.04bn from US$45.3bn in February.