U.S. Equity markets ended yesterday’s trading session soft ahead of this afternoon’s inflation data, with the Dow leading the decline with a loss of 0.44%. Markets were largely unchanged for most of the day. Inflation data are the focus for the rest of the week – with the release of U.S. CPI at 1.30 pm. Investors will be expecting a spike in inflation, as May was another easy comparable period. The only question is whether it is a large enough spike to cause concerns over longer-term inflation. There was also positive commentary on consumers. Visa’s spending momentum index showed that 52% of consumers were spending more in May 2021 than they did in May 2019. Elsewhere, the National Retail Federation (“NRF”) raised its sales growth outlook for the year. The industry group said that it is seeing a quicker-than-expected economic recovery, as well as pent-up demand for shopping. European Markets closed mixed. German export figures for April were weaker than expected, falling versus March, and signalling economic momentum in Europe may be stalling. Italy’s 10-year government bond auction yesterday saw demand levels of 10 times the amount being offered, signalling a healthy investor appetite for European sovereign debt. In Asia, China’s producer price index data for May were stronger than expected, hitting the highest level since 2008, on the back of rising commodity prices. China’s consumer price index data for May were weaker than anticipated, although they rose versus April, as food-related costs saw the largest gains. South Korea’s statistics office said the economy experienced job gains for the third straight month, adding 619,000 new positions, as the country recovered more than 80% of COVID-19-related losses. Australia’s Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence data for June fell versus May, as individuals’ and households’ optimism about the current economy and outlook eased. Elsewhere, Bitcoin surged 10% as El Salvador officially made the cryptocurrency legal tender, as well as Interactive Brokers announcing that it would soon launch crypto trading, while Oil closed 0.43% lower as U.S. gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose, implying lower demand for crude in the near term.
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