Chinese service sector PMI fell to 54.5 in April

Key news

  • Positive sentiment driven by ECB and US jobless claims

  • Chinese service sector PMI fell to 54.5 in April

  • Hollande says he needs Merkel to meet him halfway on banking union

Markets overnight

The positive sentiment caused by US jobless claims hitting a five-year low and the ECB not only cutting the refi rate, but also opening the door for negative deposit rates, continued throughout the US session.

Chinese service sector PMI fell in April to 54.5 from a reading of 55.6 in March. New orders fell below 50, emphasising that the Chinese recovery is somewhat sluggish and fragile at the moment. The PMI for construction fell slightly from 62.5 to 62.4 in April, which is nevertheless a high level.

French President François Hollande has in an interview with the Wall Street Journal indicated that he needs Angela Merkel to meet him halfway on key policies such as creating a ‘banking union’. Mr Hollande said existing treaties allow for the establishment of banking union. He added, “It would only take Ms Merkel to say that treaty changes are not necessary for things to move forward.”

The new Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, yesterday in Brussels reiterated that Italy will stick to its EU budget targets but will push for more measures to ease youth unemployment.

US equity markets rallied with S&P 500 and Dow Jones both gaining 0.9% while Nasdaq climbed as much as 1.3%. Commodity prices picked up as well in the US session and oil showed the biggest gain in six months. In the Asian session Hang Seng is up 0.7% while Nikkei is down 0.8% and oil prices have fallen back slightly.

US bond yields were little changed with US 10-year yields just below 1.63% – the lowest level this year.

In the FX markets EUR/USD has traded almost flat around 1.307 since it weakened sharply yesterday when Draghi opened the door for negative interest rates. USD/JPY is trading around 98.0 after rising sharply on yesterday’s jobless claims. The Canadian dollar has fallen against the US dollar after it was announced that the new central bank governor would be Stephen Poloz, who is currently head of the export financing agency.

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