“Brexit Day” – 29 March – came and went, but the UK remained in the EU. The UK was forced to seek an extension to the Article 50 process as Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Brexit deal through the House of Commons for a third time. Looking ahead, the likelihood of a more protracted delay to Brexit appears to be growing.
- The US bull market marked its 10th anniversary on 9 March
- Interest rates in the eurozone and US likely to remain unchanged in 2019
- Sentiment amongst Japanese companies continued to deteriorate
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“Brexit Day” – 29 March – came and went, but the UK remained in the EU. The UK was forced to seek an extension to the Article 50 process as Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Brexit deal through the House of Commons for a third time. Mrs May warned that MPs’ decision to reject the deal had “grave implications” and commented: “I fear we are reaching the limits of the process in this House”, stoking expectations of a General Election. The Brexit date was postponed from 29 March to 12 April; looking ahead, the likelihood of a more protracted delay to Brexit appears to be growing, raising the prospect that the UK will have to take part in European Parliamentary elections at the end of May. The FTSE 100 Index rose by 2.9% over March.
“Mrs May warned that MPs’ decision to reject the deal had “grave implications””
Signs of economic slowdown in the eurozone mean that interest rates in the euro area will remain unchanged until 2020 at the earliest. The European Central Bank (ECB) downgraded its assessment for economic growth, cutting its forecast this year from 1.7% to 1.1%, and next year from 1.7% to 1.6%. The central bank also revealed fresh stimulus measures designed to “preserve favourable bank lending conditions”. ECB President Mario Draghi said that the pace of economic growth in the eurozone had demonstrated a “sizeable moderation” and warned that, against a backdrop of “continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty”, the outlook for growth in the short term would be weaker than previously expected. The CAC 40 Index rose by 2.1% during March, while the Dax Index edged up by 0.1%.
The US bull market reached its ten-year anniversary on 9 March to become the longest-running bull market in the history of the S&P 500 Index, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Meanwhile, US interest rates appear unlikely to rise during 2019 in an environment of decelerating economic growth. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve (Fed) changed their predictions for 2019 and now expect no upward movement this year and only one increase next year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index ended the month largely unchanged, while the S&P 500 Index rose by 1.8%.
Optimism amongst Japanese business deteriorated over the first three months of 2019, according to the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ’s) quarterly Tankan survey of business sentiment. The Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.8% during March.
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