The VP Blog

A blog about financial markets and the VP investing framework

Europe’s Economy Stabilises, But Watch The Sting In The Tail

European economies showed further signs of stabilization in January with flash PMIs registering continued strengthening on most fronts (this week will see a number of actual PMI readings). The only noteworthy exception was France where conditions deteriorated further, with the composite reading falling to 42.6 (from 44.7 in December) and hence showing a sharp contraction. At the other end of the scale was Germany, where the composite showed 53.6 (up from 50.3 in December), an evidently positive surge in activity.

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Spain – It’s The Real Economy Stupid!

As foreseen in recent updates on Spain, the market for SGBs remains calm and spreads across the maturity horizon are tightening. Last week Spanish ten year yields fell below the 5% mark for the first time since March last year, while two year yields are now hugging the 2% threshold. During the week the Spanish debt agency sold 5.8 billion euros worth of bonds at yields which were significantly down over recent levels across all maturities.

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Take Care To Read The Writing On The Wall in Italy

Events of the last week have once more brought Italy back into the headlines. The decision of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to deny support to the technocratic government of Mario Monti sent alarm bells ringing in markets across the globe. But the excitement was short lived. Last Thursday Italy sold 3.5 billion euros of a new three-year bond at 2.50 percent, the lowest yield on similar-maturity debt since October 2010 and down from the 2.64 percent paid on 14 November.

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