Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as coronavirus lockdown easing measures push equity markets higher
Newsflash: Singapore has unveiled its fourth economic stimulus package in response to the Covid-19 crisis this morning.
The package is worth 33bn Singapore dollars (about £19bn), bringing the total stimulus to 100bn Singapore dollars which represents around 20% of the island nation’s GDP.
Consumer stocks have also been boosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday that non-essential retailers will start re-opening over the coming weeks.
As my colleague Rowena Mason reports, outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen in England from Monday next week, while other non-essential retail premises will be allowed to open in three weeks’ time.
Consumer and travel stocks are surging ahead in Europe, and are among the best performers on the FTSE 100 this morning.
Investors seem to be warming back up to companies like British Airways owner IAG and cruise ship operator Carnival, following news that Germany had agreed to a €9bn bailout for airline Lufthansa.
The deal still needs to get the nod from the European Commission, who might impose a number of conditions in return for its approval, including the surrender of key flight slots. These types of rescue usually come with strings attached as UK bank Royal Bank of Scotland found when it was bailed out by the UK government in 2008. The bank was forced to sell a number of assets at fire sale prices including Worldpay, Direct Line, as well as spending years to try and sell off Williams and Glyns branches at a significant cost.
The EU Commission will certainly feel the heat from Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary if they do wave this bailout through without extracting a heavy price from Lufthansa, which has been badly run for several years now.
The FTSE 100 is pushing ahead at 6,130 points. If it manages to hold above these levels we will reach a one-month high at the close. But with 4:30pm still a long way off, we’ll have to stick to intra-day levels, which were still higher at 6,151 points on 30 April.
With the FTSE 100 trading at around 6,107 points, the blue chip index is nearing a one-month high. (The previous high came on 29 April when the FTSE 100 rose above the 6,115 mark)
However, we’re still a long way off before we get anywhere close to pre-Covid levels:
And, we’re off! Major indices across Europe are all higher as markets open for trading:
Asian and Australian stocks have set the tone for a strong start in Europe:
UK and US stock markets are back in action today after being closed for the bank holiday Monday. Major indices in both countries are expected to rise, taking their cue from Asia where stocks are climbing thanks to the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across the world and some better-than-expected economic data out of Singapore.
Singapore is among the world’s most open economies and is viewed as a bellwether on the economic front. And while the market was positioning for more pain, the GDP contraction was much less than expected. It will be received quite favourably in the global context since Singapore’s economy is only now emerging from lockdown status.
Asia markets have continued in this vein, rising sharply on reports that Japan is also easing its remaining emergency measures, while news that American firm Novavax is set to start its first human studies of its experimental coronavirus vaccine also provided a boost.
With UK markets set to play catch-up this morning we can expect to see a very strong open for the FTSE100, with other markets in Europe also set to open higher and build on the gains made yesterday.