WORLD ECONOMIC & MARKET DEVELOPMENTS
GLOBAL MARKETS: The majority of global equity markets retained a positive tone in early trade on Friday supported by higher oil prices and a fresh string of encouraging US macro data. In FX markets, the USD was little changed as investors adopt a cautious stance ahead of today’s US non-farm payrolls report for the month of February (14:30 CET). Market consensus is for an increase of 190k following a drop of 151k in January while the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at an eight-year low of 4.9%.
GREECE: In a general news briefing yesterday, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice acknowledged that “good progress” has been made in recent discussions over Greece’s 1st programme review. He added that he expects an early return of the IMF mission to Greece clarifying that the exact date will be officially announced after the upcoming Eurogroup that convenes on Monday, March 7. Meanwhile, at the request of Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, has called today a council meeting of political leaders ahead of the critical EU-Turkey Summit on March 7th which will focus on the refugee crisis.
SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE
ROMANIA: Retail sales showed no signs of cooling off in the first month of the year, expanding at the highest rate in seven years. On a seasonally and working day adjusted basis, retail sales accelerated further by +1.9% MoM/+14.9% YoY in January up from +0.7% MoM/+14.2% YoY in December and +2.4% MoM/+14.1% YoY in November.
CESEE MARKETS: The majority of emerging stock markets moved modestly higher earlier on Friday continuing to receive support from recent upbeat macroeconomic data from the US and recovering oil prices. Additionally, market optimism prevails that Chinese authorities will unveil further stimulus measures to support the world’s second largest economy over the weekend. Nonetheless, caution is evident ahead of the US non-farm payrolls report due for release later in the day. In this environment, regional currencies were mixed in early European trade on Friday, though many remained near multi-week/month highs hit earlier in the week.
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