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The European Union is poised to take control of Britain’s exit by rejecting Theresa May’s request for a three-month delay and setting a new withdrawal date of no later than 22 May.
The prime minister is seeking an extension of the negotiating period to 30 June to allow the necessary legislation to be passed should she finally get MPs to back her deal next week.
But EU ambassadors at a meeting late on Wednesday night agreed that the risks of having the UK as a member state beyond 23 May, when European elections are due, were too high.
Sources said that during the discussions some member states had favoured “a longer period and some a shorter” but that the room coalesced around 22 May as the absolute limit. (Guardian – Continue Reading)
As expected, the SNB has not changed monetary policy, keeping rates unchanged: the interest rate on sight deposits held at the SNB remains set at -0.75%, and the margin of fluctuation of the Libor at three months remains between -1.25% and -0.25%. Despite a slight depreciation of the Swiss franc, the SNB still describes the currency as "highly valued" and continues to intervene on the foreign exchange market, if needed.
The SNB has also reduced its conditional inflation forecast (i.e. assuming an unchanged policy rate). For 2019, it expects an inflation rate of 0.3%, compared to its forecast of 0.6% in December and 0.9% a year ago. This downward revision is, according to the SNB, the result of lower growth prospects, weaker inflation and revised expectations about monetary policy around the globe.
For 2020, the SNB forecasts an inflation rate of 0.6% and 1.2% for 2021. The revised forecasts are a sign that the SNB is more dovish than ever before and is not planning any monetary tightening over the forecast period. A first increase will not, in our view, be considered before the next economic cycle. (ING Think – Continue Reading)
Norway’s central bank raised its main interest rate for a second time since September and signaled there’s more tightening to come, as western Europe’s biggest oil exporter lets a rebound in crude prices steer monetary policy.
“Our current assessment of the outlook and balance of risks suggests that the policy rate will most likely be increased further in the course of the next half-year,” central bank Governor Oystein Olsen said in a statement on Thursday. Norges Bank, which is based in Oslo, raised its deposit rate by a quarter point to 1 percent, as expected by most economists.
The krone soared as much as 1.1 percent against the euro after the announcement, as markets took note of the very different monetary trajectory that Norway appears to be on versus its western counterparts. (Bloomberg – Continue Reading)
London, 20 Mar (LS News) – The Bank of England (BoE) is widely expected to leave rates on hold and keep surprise to a minimal following another tumultuous week in the UK’s parliament. With the question of how and on what terms the UK leaves the European Union still very much an unknown, the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will not want to alter its language in any meaningful way.
Thursday’s rate announcement will include a statement but will not be accompanied by a press conference.
The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee is forecast to unanimously (9-0) leave its Bank Rate on hold at 0.75pct when it announces its rate decision at noon GMT on Thursday, 21 March. The market has also fully priced in that the central bank will maintain its stock of UK government and corporate bond purchases, at GBP435bln and GBP10bln respectively. (LiveSquawk – Continue Reading)
The extent to which corporate buybacks have driven this year’s U.S. equity rally is up for debate. What’s more certain is the trajectory of that demand.
In short, it isn’t encouraging. At the Bank of America unit that executes buybacks for clients, orders over the last four weeks just fell from the year-ago period for the first time since 2017.
With the first-quarter earnings season set to get going next month, BofA’s strategists warned that the slowdown is likely to persist. That’s because corporate America is stuck on the sidelines in order to comply with regulations under which companies refrain from discretionary stock buybacks for about five weeks before reporting results through the 48 hours that follow.
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