WORLD ECONOMIC & MARKET DEVELOPMENTS
GLOBAL MARKETS: In line with market expectations, the FOMC decided unanimously at this week’s two-day FOMC meeting that concluded late yesterday to deliver the sixth rate hike in the current tightening cycle. With respect to the updated assessment of appropriate monetary policy (the “dots”), the median 2018 dot remained at 2.1%, implying three rate hikes, as was the case in December. Confounding expectations for more aggressive rate tightening this year, UST yields dropped across the curve and the USD was weaker. With the FOMC meeting out of the way, focus today is on the BoE meeting where the Monetary Policy Committee is expected to retain a hawkish bias, supporting expectations for a rate hike in May, especially following yesterday’s positive UK employment-related data.
GREECE: According to press reports, European officials expressed concerns regarding the independence of the Greek public administration, the quality of the justice system and the pace of implementation of the privatisations programme. With regard to the IMF, the sources reiterated that the Fund will likely insist on implementing the pensions’ and tax-free threshold reduction in January 2019 without the simultaneous application of the expansionary package. On the privatisations front, Deutsche Telekom AG exercised its right for first refusal for the acquisition of a 5% share in OTE at a price of EUR 284 mn.
SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE
CESEE MARKETS: Emerging market assets traded on the back foot earlier on Thursday amid persisting global trade war fears.
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