Weekly news summary for February 19 to 25

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021: Eurozone PMI Slightly Improves in February

Europe’s business activity showed a slight improvement in February but remained in contraction as pandemic lockdowns, and curfews in the bloc continued.

IHS Markit’s Initial reading of the eurozone composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) advanced to a two-month high of 48.1 this month from 47.8 in January, while the 36-month high in the manufacturing sector outweighed the three-month low in the services sector, the most affected by the restrictions.

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021: Base Metal Prices Register Multiyear Highs

Base metal prices hit 10-year highs on Monday, driven by the possibility of a synchronous global economic rebound.

Copper futures in London rose above $9,000 per ton for the first time since 2011 with $9,233, while iron ore futures in Singapore hit a three-week high and are 5% away from their 10-year high last month, whereas zinc and aluminum futures posted a two-year high and a three-year high respectively.

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021: UK Assets Rise on Johnson’s Lockdown Exit Plan

The sterling rose to its highest in a year against the euro and since April 2018 against the US dollar after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a cautious lockdown exit plan for the UK.

Johnson’s TV address also pushed UK equities up, with the midcap, domestic-focused FTSE 250 index gaining 1% and the FTSE 100 outperforming other European markets, which followed the US markets’ general drop on Monday.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021: US Bond Yields Fluctuate on Powell’s Remarks

US Treasury notes fluctuated while the dollar extended losses after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy is far from its employment and inflation targets, and it may take some time to achieve significant further improvement.

Powell’s remarks provided markets reassurance that the central bank doesn’t plan to reduce its bond purchases this year, although the 10-year Treasury bond yield returned to 1.37%, following an overnight low of 1.33% and appears on track to test last week’s high of 1.40%.

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021: Oil Prices Rise to Their Highest Since January 2020

Oil prices advanced for the four straight sessions on Thursday, as the Federal Reserve assured that interest rates would remain low, and the winter storm in Texas led to a decline of more than 10% or 1 million bpd in US crude output.

Brent crude futures added 0.3% to $66.38 a barrel, and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 0.2% to $63.38 a barrel after both contracts registered 13-month highs earlier of $67.44 and $63.67, respectively.

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