St George Economics economy and finance update

Share Markets:

The US stockmarket had a lacklustre session on Friday night, with low volumes ahead of the US Memorial Day holiday today.

The Dow rose 0.1%, the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq was unchanged.

European stockmarkets weakened on concerns regarding the outlook for global economic growth.

The Nikkei had a volatile session but finished the session stronger on Friday, following Thursday's plunge. The Australian stockmarket fell on Friday, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% for the session.


Bond prices edged higher (yields slipped) as recent stockmarket volatility saw some investors move into safe haven government debt.

Foreign Exchange:

The Aussie dollar weakened against the major currencies on Friday on concerns about the outlook for China's economic growth following the release of soft manufacturing data in China on Thursday.


Commodity prices edged lower, with coffee prices slumping to more than a three-year low on higher inventories in Europe and the US.

Copper prices lost ground on concerns about the outlook for economic growth in China.


There was no significant local data to report.


The German IFO business climate index was better than expected, rising to 105.7 in May, from 104.4 in April.

It was the first increase in German business confidence in three months.

New Zealand:

The trade surplus narrowed in April to NZ$157mn from a surplus of NZ$732mn in March. The deterioration reflected a sharp 10% drop in exports, while imports rose 3%.

United States:

Durable goods orders were stronger than expected, rising 3.3% in April, although this failed to fully reverse March's 5.9% decline.

Durable goods orders for non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft, which gives a lead on business investment, rose 1.2% in April, after rising 0.9% in March (previously reported as a 0.2% increase).

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