Global equities moved higher amid political chatter and central bank announcements. As expected, the Fed raised its benchmark fed-funds target rate 25 basis points, noting the US economy’s continued strength. US political gridlock over the American Health Care Act deepened following the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment. February’s retail sales and consumer prices met expectations at 0.1% m/m and 2.7% y/y respectively, while manufacturing production beat expectations at 0.5% m/m.
In the Netherlands, incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party won a plurality of votes, while populist Geert Wilders’ party claimed fewer parliamentary seats than expected.
Eurozone February consumer prices grew 2.0% y/y, while January industrial production was lighter than expected, rising 0.6% y/y. The UK economy added 90,000 jobs in January, and its unemployment rate decreased to 4.7%. The Bank of England left interest rates unchanged. Economic data in Asia were mixed. the Bank of Japan left monetary policy unchanged.
Japan’s January industrial production figures were slightly better than expectations, but declined -0.4% m/m.
Next week the US releases February durable goods and existing home sales data, and the UK releases retail sales, consumer and home prices.