WORLD ECONOMIC & MARKET DEVELOPMENTS
GLOBAL MARKETS: Dutch voters go the poll today to elect the 150 members of the lower house of parliament. Polling stations close at 21:00 CET. The first exit poll will be published shortly after while final results will be announced in the early hours of Thursday morning. Immediate market focus will be on the PVV party’s performance ahead of the first round of presidential elections in France a few weeks later. Focus today is also on the Fed which is widely expected to raise the federal funds rate by 25bps to 0.75-1.00% at the two-day monetary policy meeting that concludes later in the day. The BoE also convenes today and is expected to stay put on its monetary policy and maintain a neutral stance.
GREECE: According to the official agenda of the March 20 Eurogroup “The Eurogroup will discuss developments regarding the second review of Greece’s macroeconomic adjustment programme since the last Eurogroup meeting in February. The institutions (EC/ECB/IMF/ESM) and the Greek Minister for Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, are expected to report on the progress achieved towards concluding a staff-level agreement on the required policy reforms”. Therefore, at this stage the best that we can expect is the acknowledgement by the Eurogroup that significant progress has been achieved and the decision for the return of the institutions’ heads to Athens as soon as possible with the aim of reaching a staff-level agreement in time for the 7 April Eurogroup. According to the preliminary data released by the Ministry of Finance for the execution of the State Budget on a modified cash basis, the State Budget balance for the period January-February 2017 presented a surplus of €423 million against a deficit of €806 million envisioned in the 2017 Budget.
SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE
CESEE MARKETS: Emerging stock markets treaded water earlier on Wednesday as investor caution prevailed ahead of this week’s FOMC meeting and the Dutch general election.