June 11, 2019
Underlying U.S. Producer Prices Rise at Slowest Pace in Year
A measure of underlying U.S. producer prices rose at the slowest pace in more than a year, signaling inflation pressures remain muted and potentially reinforcing calls for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. Excluding food and energy, producer prices increased 2.3% in May from a year earlier — the least since January 2018 and matching forecasts — following a 2.4% gain in the prior month, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday. The overall producer-price index was up 1.8% from a year earlier, below projections, following a 2.2% increase.
BOE Warns of Downside Risks From No-Deal Brexit and Global Trade
Bank of England policy makers reiterated the downside risks to the U.K. economy from Brexit and global trade tensions, even as they emphasized that interest rates could still rise. Departing the European Union without a deal would hamper the U.K.’s long-term growth prospects, Michael Saunders told lawmakers on Parliament’s Treasury Committee on Tuesday. The nation would suffer from reduced openness to international trade and less appeal as a global business location. An escalation in trade turmoil would also damage British exports, investment and asset prices, he said. Those comments were echoed by Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent, who in his own responses to the group said “a disorderly Brexit remains the most significant risk” to financial stability.
China Stocks Rally the Most in a Month on Local Stimulus Steps
China’s beaten down stocks posted their best gains in weeks on news local governments will have more room to spend on infrastructure, offsetting U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest threat of more tariffs. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.6%, the most since May 10, though volume was only a little over half the three-month daily average and the benchmark is still down about 10% in the past two months. Construction-related stocks rallied after the finance ministry said Monday it would ease restrictions on the spending of proceeds from special bond sales and encourage banks to offer loans to projects funded by such debt. The yuan rose after the central bank set the daily reference rate stronger than expected. After an explosive start to the year, Chinese stocks were derailed by an escalation in the trade dispute with the U.S. The Shanghai Composite went from one of the world’s best performers to among the worst, while the small-cap ChiNext Index fell into a bear market last week. Faced with a meltdown in stocks and slowing economy, the Chinese government has sought to shore up sentiment through stimulus measures, without adding to the nation’s debt burden.