WORLD ECONOMIC & MARKET DEVELOPMENTS
GLOBAL MARKETS: European and Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday and in Wall Street, the S&P 500 index closed at a record high slightly above 2, 100 points overnight as optimism prevailed that the Greek government will eventually reach a compromise agreement with its creditors. In FX markets, the US dollar gained ground as US yields rose on improving risk appetite. Focus today is on the ECB’s assessment on Greek banks’ access to the ELA facility. U.S data due later in the session, including industrial production and housing indicators, and the FOMC January meeting minutes also lure market attention.
GREECE: The Athens Stock Exchange General Index opened in the black on Wednesday following comments by the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that the government is purportedly going to submit a request for an extension of the loan agreement within a day.
SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE
SERBIA: Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced on Tuesday that the acquisition of state-owned steelmaker Zelezara Smederevo by US-based Esmark fell through as the latter could not provide guarantees that it would not shutdown the plant once the existing raw materials have been consumed.
BULGARIA: In a signal of potential improvement in the domestic labour market, the rate of the unemployed declined by 1.1ppt on annual basis to 11.1% in January and the number of unemployed individuals fell by 37K YoY to 364k over the aforementioned month, posting the greatest annual decrease since 2008.
CESEE MARKETS: Tracking gains in major global bourses, the majority CESEE stock markets advanced in Europe trade on Wednesday on optimism that the Greek government will eventually reach a compromise agreement with its creditor. On the flipside, CEE currencies remained under pressure. In external debts markets, Ukrainian 5-year spreads jumped by 985bps to record highs near 3, 700bps earlier on Wednesday on news that the fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists continued, despite a ceasefire agreement came into effect a few days ago.
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