BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports rose in February, boosted by surging trade with China as a new sign that factories are busy in Europe’s biggest economy despite a pandemic-related drop in overall output in the first quarter expected.
Seasonally adjusted exports increased 0.9% for the month after being revised upward by 1.6% in January, the Federal Statistical Office said on Friday. Imports rose 3.6% after falling 3.5% in the previous month.
A Reuters poll showed exports increased by 1.0% and imports increased by 2.4%. The trade surplus shrank to 19.1 billion euros. This year, exports to China increased by 25.7%.
Separate data released on Friday showed industrial output in February fell by 1.6%. A Reuters poll showed a 1.5% increase.
BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil posted a trade surplus of $ 1.5 billion in March, figures showed on Thursday, less than half the consensus estimate in a Reuters poll for a surplus of $ 3.1 billion and also sharply down from a surplus of $ 3.8. billion in the same month ago. year.
Exports in March totaled $ 24.5 billion and imports $ 23.0 billion, the ministry said, adding that total trade flows of $ 47.5 billion for the month were up nearly 40% from a year earlier.
These figures mean Brazil’s trade surplus in the first quarter of this year stood at $ 1.6 billion, down sharply from last year’s $ 4.5 billion surplus as import growth outpaced export growth.
Lucas Ferraz, secretary of foreign trade at the Ministry of Economy, estimates this year’s trade surplus will grow by nearly 75% from last year, resulting in a record annual surplus of nearly $ 90 billion.
Speaking to reporters in a virtual press conference, Ferraz said exports would grow 27% this year, more than double the expected increase in import growth of 11%.
The central bank last week revised its 2021 trade surplus forecast to $ 70 billion from $ 53 billion. Last year’s surplus was $ 51 billion.
With the exchange rate slumping 30% last year and already down 8% in the first three months of this year, net trade is expected to make a positive contribution to economic growth this year.
However, imports grew faster than exports in the first three months of this year. Exports in the January-March period totaled $ 55.6 billion, up 17% on the year, while imports were $ 54 billion 25% higher than last year, ministry figures showed.
Reporting by Jamie McGeever and Gabriel Ponte; editing by David Evans
LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s separation from Britain has always been for many investors the second major risk for Britain from Brexit. The next few months may test that thesis.
After more than four years of strife with Brussels before Brexit closed in January, and 12 months of the pandemic, several indicators of UK economic uncertainty fell last month to their lowest since before the 2016 referendum on EU membership.
Sterling also returned to levels not seen since then.
And after years of shunning British stocks and bonds in global portfolios, investors appear to be seeing reality rather than Brexit uncertainty amid hopes for a vaccine-fueled rebound from COVID-19.
That was driven domestically as British stocks return to early 2020 highs, and speculators of pound longs again at levels not seen for three years.
But union states are likely to return to focus after Scotland heads to a vote on May 6 for regional parliamentary elections.
Investment firms, including Credit Suisse on Thursday, cited another referendum on independence as a “key tail risk” for British banks at least, if not the broader economy.
If the ruling Scottish National Party is returned with a hefty majority as expected, it has promised to seek another vote on secession to match the narrow 55% -45% loss in September 2014 – and cites Scotland’s popular opposition to Brexit as the premise to run again.
This will require approval from the British parliament at Westminster to do so and the Conservatives in power there are opposed to another vote. But the Edinburgh parliament can refer the matter to the UK Supreme Court for a final ruling.
With a greater likelihood of fish being fried in the coronavirus, a vaccine race, and the Treasury Department’s budget for a lucrative government support bill, markets don’t seem to have taken much of the risk into account.
Implied 3-month sterling volatility remains subdued below half of the past decade’s peaks and one point below the past 20-year average – even if roughly at levels like at the time of the 2014 referendum.
This is partly due to the complex series of events that will need to be carried out from here to even the chance to get votes again.
Will SNP win in May? If so, will the majority be large enough to claim a mandate for another referendum? How harsh will Westminster’s opposition be? How will the court decide and how quickly will the vote be carried out? Did Catalonia’s failed ‘do it yourself’ drive for independence sidestep one-sided move?
STERLING AND RUMP UK
Although the SNP’s leadership in polls shrank this year due to an investigation into the handling of a court case by leader Nicola Sturgeon involving former party chairman Alex Salmond, the SNP is still widely expected to secure an overall majority in May and Sturgeon won a vote of confidence in parliament. this week.
But that’s where the picture dims. Polls and bookies think the rest are too close to contact. Opinion polls only show a 2-3 point lead for those who want independence. The online betting company shows an even chance of a successful vote to break away, although the preferred date for the referendum is as far back as 2025.
Two factors that could potentially isolate sterling are – compared to Brexit and at least the pandemic – the trade disruptions in 2014 were relatively simple for a vote to go so close to a vote.
The location of major UK financial firms in Edinburgh makes the sector more vulnerable to splits – but even prices in the sector barely moved last time.
And there is debate about whether the pound will really go up or down if Scotland leaves the union.
Much like the debate over the impact on the euro from Greece’s exit in 2010, a large budget deficit in Edinburgh may mean that Britain will be in a better fiscal position than ever before and there may be capital flight south of the border to boot. .
Ownership of North Sea oil fields may be a factor, but the wild swings in oil prices since 2014 show how difficult it is to budget long-term budgets for it.
Tom Clarke, portfolio manager at William Blair Investment Company, told Reuters recently that while there may be volatility fueled by the headlines surrounding the referendum, he sees no underlying reason why the ex-Scottish sterling should be weaker.
A report by Jefferies economist David Owen in January said that while Scotland’s economy was no worse off than any other British nation during the pandemic, higher per capita public spending means its fiscal position is several percentage points worse off.
Owen estimates that until 2017 at least Scotland is running a current account deficit of up to 7% of its national output and it is likely that this will worsen since then.
That means the only viable option is a new currency that floats freely in the 2-3 year period between independence and possible euro membership, but is backed by much higher FX reserves than those calculated in 2014 – somewhere in the $ region. 60 billion.
And the key to the external account may be the fate of the financial sector. “The process needs to be managed to try and limit leakage of capital south of the border,” he concluded.
The breakup of the world’s 5th largest economy may seem like a seismic event for crisis-hit Britain. But how to trade seems far from clear.
The author is editor-at-large for finance and markets at Reuters News. Each view expressed here is his own.
LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - Switzerland in February sent
gold to mainland China for the first time since September and
shipments to India and Thailand rose to multi-year highs,
suggesting that demand for bullion in Asia is recovering from
the coronavirus shock.
Switzerland is the world's biggest gold refining centre and
transit hub, while India and China are the two biggest gold
consumers and Thailand is a regional trade hub.
Demand from all three Asian countries plunged last year as
the coronavirus spread and has been slowest to recover in China.
One reason for the pick-up is a steady decline in gold
prices from record highs last August. Most gold in Asia
is sold as jewellery and buyers are put off by high prices.
Swiss customs data showed that in February Switzerland
exported 56.5 tonnes of gold to India, 11.2 tonnes to Thailand,
2 tonnes to mainland China and 1 tonne to Hong Kong.
That is biggest total to India for any month since April
2019, to Thailand since August 2018 and to Hong Kong since
September. It is the first shipment of any gold at all to China
Following are numbers for February and comparisons.
SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)
To China To Hong To India To the To
Kong U.S. Britain
Feb-21 2,000 1,045 56,472 12,031 77
Jan-21 0 28 38,696 16,666 5,216
Feb-20 2,000 10 9,591 361 9,256
* Source: Swiss customs. Data subject to revision by source.
(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
* Increase exceeded all estimates in a Reuters poll
* Exports to China rose 3.1% y / y (Adding details, economist, background)
BERLIN, March 9 (Reuters) – German exports unexpectedly rose in January, buoyed by strong trade with China as a positive start to the year for producers in Europe’s largest economy.
Seasonally adjusted exports increased 1.4% for the month after being revised upward by 0.4% in December, the Federal Statistical Office said on Tuesday. Imports fell 4.7% after showing no change in the previous month, revised upward.
A Reuters poll showed a 1.2% drop in exports and a 0.5% drop in imports. The 1.4% increase in exports in January far exceeded even the most optimistic forecast.
The trade surplus grew to 22.2 billion euros. This year, exports to China rose 3.1%. Exports to other EU countries fell 6.0% this year, exports to the UK fell 29% and to the United States fell 6.2%.
Thomas Gitzel, chief economist at VP Bank, described the overall increase in exports as “a very positive surprise” and expected further growth.
“Net exports will thus partially offset the losses in private consumption in the economy as a whole – but not completely. In balance, the German economy will shrink in the first quarter, “he said.
Most economists expect the economy to shrink in the first three months of this year, before recovering in the second.
On Monday, official data showed industrial production fell in January as winter weather slowed construction and a semiconductor shortage held back production in the auto industry.
However, German auto parts maker Continental AG said earlier on Tuesday that it expects 2021 sales and profit margins to grow despite expected additional costs due to chip shortages.
Recent German data paints a two-speed economic picture in which export-oriented producers are doing well while domestically driven services are suffering under lockdown measures imposed in early November and tightened in mid-December to contain a second wave of coronavirus infections. .
Reporting by Paul Carrel and Rene Wagner, editing by Thomas Escritt and Giles Elgood