ISF - ING Groep N.V. PERP HYB6.375%

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  • UBS to Start Own Venture Capital Fund in Effort to Digitize Bank

    UBS to Start Own Venture Capital Fund in Effort to Digitize Bank

    (Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money to invest in fintech companies, joining peers in financing startups that are upending traditional banking.The Swiss wealth manager is planning a corporate venture capital fund to make investments between $10 million and $20 million in dozens of companies, according to a person familiar with the matter. UBS plans to hold the stakes for at least five years, the person said, asking for anonymity because details haven’t been finalized.A UBS spokeswoman confirmed the bank is starting such a fund, while declining to comment on specifics.The venture fund comes just months after UBS named ING Groep NV’s Ralph Hamers, an outspoken champion of digital banking, to succeed Sergio Ermotti as chief executive officer from October. While wealth management -- UBS’s biggest business -- is traditionally a high-touch operation, with clients valuing personal contact, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a shift toward digital services.“UBS wants to further engage with and support fintech firms,” said Mike Dargan, UBS’s Global Head Group Technology. “The new venture investment portfolio is a next step to accelerate our innovation and digitization efforts.”Read more: UBS Names Outsider Hamers to Succeed CEO ErmottiThe new fund will look at three broad categories to invest in: client engagement, investing and financing platforms, and improving underlying operations of the bank. While it is already screening potential investments, the bank is still in the process of hiring a team dedicated to run the fund, the people said.More digital tools are a key part of a revamp plan for UBS’s wealth unit unveiled earlier this year. The bank wants to use them to save time on administrative tasks and cut costs, as competition for rich clients and a flight to cheaper, passive investment products erode profitability.Globally, U.S. banks have been at the forefront of spending on fintech, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The firms are generally more profitable and can afford to plow large sums into such efforts. UBS’s Zurich rival Credit Suisse Group AG invests in fintech through its entrepreneur capital arm.U.S. Big Banks Drive Virtuous Cycle With Tech SpendingUBS is also looking to use technology to make inroads in the Chinese wealth market. The bank is in the process of acquiring a digital fund distribution license, which would provide a plain-vanilla fund offering to rich Chinese customers. Over time, UBS plans to use such a digital license to move into advisory and on-boarding of new wealth clients, according to Edmund Koh, UBS’s head for the Asia Pacific region.A previous effort by UBS in this area flopped. A 2017 internal project in the U.K. called SmartWealth was shut down a year later.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • India Central Bank Pledges More Easing as Economy Set to Shrink

    India Central Bank Pledges More Easing as Economy Set to Shrink

    (Bloomberg) -- India’s central bank cut interest rates in an unscheduled announcement on Friday and kept the door open for further easing to help an economy it expects will contract for the first time in more than four decades.Governor Shaktikanta Das reduced the benchmark repurchase rate by 40 basis points to 4%, the lowest since the measure was introduced in 2000, and pledged to take “whatever measures are necessary” to support the economy. The monetary policy committee, which met ahead of its scheduled meeting in early June, retained its “accommodative” stance, implying it could ease policy further.The rate cuts along with the central bank’s move to allow borrowers more time to repay loans are expected to provide relief to India’s stressed businesses and consumers, many of whom were left disappointed with the fiscal stimulus announced recently. Companies are struggling in the face of a collapse in demand, with millions of jobs already shed in an economy where consumption is the backbone of growth.“Going forward, we will continue to be vigilant and we will take whatever measures are necessary to meet the Covid-related challenges which are ahead of us,” Das said. “The RBI will continue to remain vigilant and in battle readiness to use all its instruments and even fashion new ones, as recent experience has demonstrated, to address dynamics of the unknown future.”The central bank now expects the economy to contract in the fiscal year through March 2021, Das said, after activity was brought to a virtual halt amid the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken to contain the outbreak. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is predicting a 45% annualized decline in GDP in the quarter through June from the previous three months, which it said will result in the economy shrinking 5% for the full fiscal year.The yield on the most-traded 2029 bonds fell 11 basis points to 5.93% as of 1:23 p.m. in Mumbai, while that on the new 10-year notes dropped 3 basis points. The rupee weakened and stocks reversed gains to halt a three-day rally ahead of a long weekend.Read More: Bonds Rally in India After RBI Announces Emergency Rate Cut“The off-cycle move may have caught the markets off-guard, but it shouldn’t be a total surprise given recent dismal activity indicators,” said Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING Groep NV in Singapore. “GDP is headed for a sharp contraction, as much as 5% year-on-year on my estimate, in the current quarter.”Das’s comment that the RBI could turn to new policy instruments signals his willingness to do more to bolster growth. The central bank has already pumped in more than $50 billion into the financial system and announced targeted liquidity operations to support some sectors of the economy.What Bloomberg’s Economists SayThe Reserve Bank of India’s surprise 40 basis point cut to its policy repo rate at an unscheduled meeting on Friday isn’t much in the context of the massive disruptions to economic activity as a result of the virus-induced lockdown. We doubt it will do much to spur a faster recovery in demand.Click here to read the full report.Abhishek Gupta, India economistCalls are also rising for the RBI to buy government bonds directly from the government to help finance a widening fiscal deficit and surging borrowing. The RBI has been prevented from monetizing the deficit since a law was passed in 2006 banning its participation in the primary market.Shilan Shah, a senior economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Singapore, said there’s likely to be further interest rate cuts and liquidity steps, like long-term repo operations, and perhaps a reduction to the cash reserve ratio. Deficit financing was an option “as long as the boundaries of it are very strict and well-defined so that it doesn’t spook markets,” he said.The RBI has now lowered its benchmark rate by a cumulative 115 basis points so far this year after also cutting rates at an emergency policy meeting on March 27.Das also outlined the following measures on Friday:The reverse repurchase rate was cut to 3.35% from 3.75%The moratorium on bank loans was extended for another three monthsRules for withdrawal of funds by states were relaxedLimit on banks’ group exposure to companies raised to 30% from 25%Pre- and post-shipment credit rules for exporters easedForeign portfolio investors given an additional three months to meet investment needsOn inflation, the central bank expects the headline number to ease in the second half of the year and revert toward its medium-term target of around 4%. Core inflation, which strips out the volatile food and fuel prices, is likely to stay subdued, it said.With fiscal pressures mounting and a credit rating downgrade looming, the central bank may have to shoulder more of the stimulus burden. While Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week announced an economic package of about 21 trillion rupees ($277 billion), or 10% of GDP, the actual fiscal cost amounted to just about 1% of GDP.“With limited space for fiscal expansion, the central bank will have to do the heavy lifting,” said Manish Wadhawan, founder at Serenity Macro Partners.(Updates market reaction in sixth paragraph and adds comment from economist in 10th.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Band of England Keeps Options on Negative Rates, Bailey Says

    Band of England Keeps Options on Negative Rates, Bailey Says

    (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of England is studying how low U.K. interest rates can be cut amid the coronavirus crisis and isn’t excluding the idea of taking borrowing costs below zero, according to Governor Andrew Bailey.“Given what we’ve done in past few weeks, it should come as no surprise to learn that of course, we’re keeping the tools under active review in the current situation,” Bailey told lawmakers on Wednesday when asked about negative rates. “We do not rule things out as a matter of principle. That would be a foolish thing to do. That doesn’t mean we rule things in either.”The comments come amid a growing debate about the possibility of negative interest rates in the U.K., which intensified Wednesday after a report showed inflation slowed to the lowest level since 2016 and the nation sold debt with a sub-zero yield for the first time. Bailey said his position on going below zero had changed since entering the pandemic, but the policy had received “pretty mixed reviews” elsewhere.While officials have repeatedly emphasized such a move isn’t imminent, and would be tricky to implement in the U.K., they’ve also stressed nothing is off the table in their efforts to fight the impact of coronavirus. The fallout could push the economy into the deepest recession in three centuries.Interest-rate swaps, which are used to gauge where the benchmark may be, are just below 0% for December, and get progressively lower in 2021.Still, a full 10 basis-point cut below zero is yet to be fully priced in. That means that rather than outright bets on a negative rate, those moves might represent traders hedging against the prospect of a worsening economic situation making easier policy more likely.“In investors’ minds even a small probability of negative interest rates in the dollar and pound is a big change”, said Antoine Bouvet, rates strategist at ING Groep NV. “That the possibility remains open, even if small, and might cause some investors to pre-hedge.”Read More:U.K. Inflation Rate Drops Below 1% Amid Negative Rate Debate Negative Interest Rates Are Last on BOE List, Barclays SaysU.K.’s First Negative-Yielding Bond Sale Fuels Debate Over RatesBailey said the BOE was keen to observe the impact of its previous U.K. rate cuts, bearing in mind arguments that they become less effective the closer to zero they are. It’s also examining the experience of other central banks that have cut below zero, he said, adding the financial system in an economy is an important factor.The governor has previously expressed a stronger opposition than other policy makers to the tool, saying they would present a communications challenge and prove difficult for banks. Others have been more sanguine, with Silvana Tenreyro saying they’ve had a positive effect elsewhere and Chief Economist Andy Haldane noting they were something officials were examining among other unconventional tools.Cutting interest rates below zero is the last policy option that BOE officials would currently choose to further stimulate the economy, according to Barclays, which sees more asset purchases as the most likely next step.What Our Economists Say:“Would negative rates really be a game changer if the economy needed a lift? Probably not. The reality is the BOE is at the limits of its powers to boost spending. If demand did need a lift further down the line, we think a more potent policy mix would be for the BOE to continue with QE while fiscal policy does the heavy lifting.”\-- Dan Hanson, U.K. economistAnother side effect would be to further weaken an already beleaguered pound, making imports more expensive. While exports would typically get a boost, the impact of the pandemic on trade means that’s less likely this time.“I can’t think of an economy where negative rates are a worse idea than the U.K.,” wrote Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale. “How on earth does it make sense to even consider adding negative rates to the mix?”(Adds further comments from Bailey in third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.K.’s First Negative-Yielding Bond Sale Sharpens Focus on BOE

    U.K.’s First Negative-Yielding Bond Sale Sharpens Focus on BOE

    (Bloomberg) -- Britain sold bonds with an average yield below zero for the first time, intensifying a debate on negative rates hours before testimony from the head of the Bank of England.The U.K. Debt Management Office raised 3.75 billion pounds($4.6 billion) by tapping existing bonds maturing in 2023. While the yield at minus 0.003% is little surprise to market watchers -- given that the existing bonds were already trading at roughly the same level -- what makes the auction precarious is the timing.That’s because if Governor Andrew Bailey repeats his opposition to negative interest rates when testifying before Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in London, buyers could see the value of their gilt holdings plummet.“If he was overtly hawkish, yields on short gilts would be likely to rise,” said John Wraith, head of U.K. and European rates strategy at UBS Group AG. “But I suspect whatever he says will be aimed at reassuring the market and wider public that the BOE stands ready to do anything and everything it thinks could help if the economic situation worsens.”Gilts have rallied this week after BOE policy makers Andy Haldane and Silvana Tenreyro raised the prospect of further easing, with Brexit fears and the coronavirus lockdown pushing Britain toward its worst recession in three centuries. Yet Bailey has pushed back against negative rates, saying last week that although nothing should be ruled out forever, they were not under consideration.In March, the BOE announced it would add 200 billion pounds of gilts and corporate bonds to its asset-purchasing program, expanding it by 45%. Barclays Plc, which sees negative rates as the last policy tool the BOE would choose, expects a further 100 billion pounds of quantitative easing in June.Economic WoesAdding fuel to the fire, U.K. inflation in April fell to the lowest since 2016 amid a drop in energy prices and an economic slowdown induced by the lockdown.“This morning’s release of the U.K. CPI inflation data shows that price pressures are way below where the Bank of England would like them to be,” Jane Foley, a strategist at Rabobank. “This adds interest into the debate about negative interest rates.”While the nation’s economic outlook is bleak, the sale highlights that the government’s huge spending plan to support the U.K. hasn’t spooked investors. That’s largely thanks to the BOE’s asset-purchase scheme, which has kept the cost of borrowing close to historically low levels.It’s one reason why demand outstripped the amount of bonds on offer more than two fold. Even though existing bonds due July 2023 saw their yield fall more than 60 basis points this year to 0%, Citigroup Inc. strategists including Jamie Searle say the issue looked cheap compared to peers with similar maturities.“If anything, this also shows that despite the additional gilt issuance, there is still a structural shortage,” said Antoine Bouvet, senior rates strategist at ING Groep NV.On Tuesday, investors piled into the U.K.’s syndicated bond sale, with orders for the 7-billion-pound offering exceeding 53 billion pounds.Negative RatesOvernight interest-rate swaps are pricing in sub-zero rates by December’s BOE meeting, yet are only just below 0%. The contracts fall progressively lower through 2021, reflecting caution in the market about how to interpret the BOE’s messaging, concern about the consequences of lifting the lockdown too soon and the risk of a messy divorce from the European Union.Sterling traders are also watching Bailey for clues, with the currency snapped two days of gains ahead of his testimony. The price of insuring against a swing in the pound against the dollar overnight is hovering near regular highs seen since early April, as traders position for turbulence after he speaks.“I can’t think of an economy where negative rates are a worse idea than the U.K.,” Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale, wrote in an emailed note. “How on earth does it make sense to even consider adding negative rates to the mix? The economic benefits are dubious but the power of a cocktail of negative rates and massive QE to weaken the currency seems clear.”(Adds inflation data and Rabobank comment from seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • It May Be Too Late to Get Into Europe’s Stock Recovery in 2020

    It May Be Too Late to Get Into Europe’s Stock Recovery in 2020

    (Bloomberg) -- If you’ve missed the rebound in European equities, it might be a little late to get in on the game now.Strategists only expect the Euro Stoxx 50 Index to rise another 3.8% from Monday’s closing level to 3,023 by the end of the year, according to the average response in a poll by Bloomberg News. That will still leave the benchmark down 19% in 2020. They predict the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Index will close at 361, about 5.6% higher by the end of 2020.While European stocks rebounded strongly in April from the rout spurred by widespread coronavirus-induced lockdowns, the gains have lost momentum in May. Optimism over stimulus measures and the easing of restrictions has given way to bleak economic and earnings reports, and worries about a second wave of infections. Making matters worse, deteriorating rhetoric between the U.S. and China has stoked renewed fears of a trade war.The degree of uncertainty related to the pandemic is prompting a wide range in strategists’ predictions. Deutsche Bank AG is among the most bullish forecasters, calling for the Stoxx 600 to close the year at 440, or about 29% higher from here. At the bearish end of the spectrum, ING Groep NV expects a 9.2% drop.They see a 0.5% decline from Monday’s closing level through the year’s end for the cyclical-heavy DAX Index of Germany. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fares better in their estimates, set to rise another 4.3%.For tables on the Euro Stoxx 50 and Stoxx 600 polls click here; for a table on the DAX poll click here, for a table on the FTSE 100 poll click here.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Europe’s Dream Of Safe Assets to Rival Treasuries Gets Boost

    Europe’s Dream Of Safe Assets to Rival Treasuries Gets Boost

    (Bloomberg) -- For Europe’s integrationists, a jointly issued bond with the safety and liquidity to rival U.S. Treasuries is necessary to ensure the bloc’s stability. Germany and France may have taken a small, first step toward creating such a European safe asset.In a landmark intervention, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to support a 500 billion-euro ($546 billion) aid package financed through the issuance of bonds by the European Union’s executive arm. While the proposal for the creation of a recovery fund still needs to be approved by the other member states, it indicates the acceptance -- albeit in a limited fashion -- of a more wide-ranging supranational asset.The reaction from markets was clear -- Italian bonds surged and the euro rallied -- but concerns remain over whether the package is big enough to create a market of its own. For ING Groep NV, the temporary nature of the recovery effort may be a problem in creating a meaningful alternative to the German bund, which has long been deemed the safest government-backed asset in Europe.“Five hundred billion euros is not huge,” said James Athey, a money manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “But it looks like a solid first step.”Separately, on Tuesday, EU finance ministers agreed to allow the European Commission to borrow 100 billion euros, which will then be channeled to the countries hit hardest by the pandemic in the form of concessional loans. The issuance by the EU executive will be backed by the bloc’s common budget and paid-in guarantees of 25 billion euros. Germany will chip in the most for the guarantees and is the biggest contributor to the EU budget. Over the past decade, EU officials in Brussels and Frankfurt have advocated for the creation of a European safe asset, a jointly issued debt instrument that could act as a benchmark for other securities and would be comparable to U.S. Treasury securities.This EU-issued debt has been seen as a key step in the European integration process, as it would help banks diversify their bond portfolio, and break the so-called doom loop created when lenders hold a disproportionate amount of their home countries’ securities. In 2019, the commission said a safe asset would also reduce destabilizing capital flows during periods of elevated risk, when investors tend to move money into safer securities.A European benchmark is also seen as a key part of Europe’s ambition to challenge the dollar’s global dominance, and boost the role of the euro as an international reserve currency. Time and again, European governments have seen the dollar’s privilege in the world stage constraining their ability to enact foreign policy, most recently when the U.S threatened sanctions against companies doing business with Iran, dooming an international accord that had curtailed Tehran’s nuclear plans.The Franco-German plan would still need unanimous support from all 27 EU members, and even then the recovery fund wouldn’t be ready until 2021, according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.“A safe asset will need to be based on continuous issuance so that a market with good liquidity (along the curve) can develop,” UniCredit Group chief economist Erik Fossing Nielsen said. “In contrast, this is a one-off, and even if you were to believe that they would continuously repeat the event on an ad hoc basis going forward,” markets would need more certainty and clarity to treat the securities as risk free, he said.Monetary ToolThere are clear advantages for the ECB. It is currently constrained in its quantitative easing program to purchase only a certain proportion of a country’s debt to avoid blurring the lines of independence. The creation of a joint debt instrument would help alleviate those concerns, giving it something to buy as it cushions the economic blow from the coronavirus.ECB President Christine Lagarde praised the proposal as “ambitious, targeted and, of course, welcome.”The need to come up with joint bonds has become more acute as countries across the region have locked down their economies to halt the spread of the virus. Those hardest hit -- like Italy and Spain -- are also those with some of the highest debt loads in the region, limiting their capacity to spend money on shoring up the economy.Italy’s 10-year yield spread over Germany, a key gauge of political risk in the country, spiked to the highest level in over a year in March, before the ECB stepped in to cap borrowing costs. The Franco-German proposal saw the gap narrow to 206 basis points, around the lowest level in a month.Rome has been an ardent supporter of joint bonds to finance the recovery effort, and after Monday’s proposal, expressed support for the intiative, calling it a step in the right direction, according to an official.Limited ScopeFor Antoine Bouvet, a senior interest-rate strategist at ING, the duration of the debt may be limited by the EU’s budget, which operates over a period of seven years. That would prevent the bloc from building out a full yield curve -- the issuance of bonds of various maturities, typically out to 30 years.“As a temporary instrument, and as its size will be limited, it will fall short of a replacement to the fragmented euro government bond market which I think would be the ultimate goal of a European safe asset,” said Bouvet. “After that, it should be paid back by member states or by other sources of financing.”Key concerns also focus on how the proceeds of the recovery fund will be distributed. Credit lines from the ESM have proved unpopular in Italy -- particularly to the far-right leader Matteo Salvini -- due to the perceived strings attached to the loans.“If Italy doesn’t get its ‘fair share’ then it’s gold for Salvini,” said Aberdeen’s Athey. “It could be another political nightmare.”(Updates with employment insurance scheme in 5th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Don’t Be Fooled by the Calm in Emerging Markets. Risks Remain

    (Bloomberg) -- Months of concern over rising Covid-19 infection levels may be secondary for investors in coming days as market-moving events and policy decisions take center stage.China’s annual National People’s Congress starting Friday will likely keep volatility suppressed for developing-nation currencies, despite the prospect of another flareup in tensions between Beijing and Washington. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s measure of implied volatility declined over the past three weeks as history suggests the People’s Bank of China will do what it can to ensure a calm yuan-trading environment during the meeting.Elsewhere, central banks in South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand are forecast to cut interest rates again, potentially diminishing carry-trade returns from investments in their currencies. As distressed-debt levels rise across developing economies, Argentina may officially fall into default if the South American nation fails to reach a $65 billion restructuring deal with bondholders by Friday’s deadline.“There are undeniably still plenty of risks out there,” said Trieu Pham, an emerging-market strategist at ING Groep NV in London. “I continue to remain concerned about emerging-market external vulnerabilities, which would be in the spotlight again if EM currencies come under pressure.”That’s not to say the coronavirus is far from people’s minds after the Federal Reserve issued a warning Friday that stock and other asset prices could suffer significant declines should the pandemic deepen. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who called last week for more government action to prevent lasting economic harm from the virus, will testify before Congress on Tuesday.Listen: EM Weekly Podcast: Powell Warning, Rate Decisions, China NPCStable YuanInvestors will be looking for China’s Congress to signal a stimulus boost at the annual meetingThe past seven annual sessions saw the offshore yuan rise on five occasions, while the official fixing was kept stableRate Cuts GaloreSouth Africa’s Reserve Bank is predicted to cut its policy rate by 50 basis points to a record 3.75% on Thursday, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg surveyForward-rate agreements are even more dovish, pricing in almost 60 basis points. The central bank has already slashed the repo rate by 200 basis points since the start of the coronavirus-related sell-off in March, and Governor Lesetja Kganyago said earlier this month it has room to do more as inflation expectations diminishAfter surprising investors with a larger-than-expected rate cut of one percentage point in April, Turkey’s central bank is seen cutting the one-week repo rate by another 50 basis points to 8.25%, also on ThursdayWith inflation cooling due to lower oil prices and a slower economy, policy makers will probably see few hurdles to further easing, though the lira’s volatility may count in favor of cautionIndonesia’s central bank will probably lower its benchmark by 25 basis points on Tuesday. The market will also look for confirmation of Bank Indonesia’s view that the rupiah remains undervalued and its pledge to keep supporting both the nation’s currency and bond marketsThe rupiah has outperformed this quarter -- gaining almost 10% -- due in large part to the governor’s explicit reassurances of official supportBank of Thailand is expected to cut rates by a further 25 basis points on WednesdayLocal bond markets have rallied amid slowing inflation and are likely to continue to be supported by rate cuts. The country also releases April trade numbers on FridayChina’s central bank is expected to keep prime rates unchanged Wednesday, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, although there’s the possibility of a cut in the reserve requirement in the near future. This may offer support to local bonds -- after 10-year yields have jumped 18 basis points this month, the worst performance in AsiaZambia’s central bank, facing inflation at a 43-month high and a currency that’s lost more than a fifth of its value, will decide on Wednesday between raising the policy rate in attempt to stabilize the economy or providing relief by leaving it unchangedSri Lanka will also decide on interest rates on ThursdayRead: Sri Lanka Bonds Win Fans After Becoming Worst in AsiaArgentina Gets New ProposalsArgentina’s largest creditors sent Alberto Fernandez’s government new counteroffers in an effort to reach a restructuring agreementBondholders have until Friday to strike a deal. The deadline aligns with the due date for $500 million of delayed interest payments. Failure to reach an agreement or pay the cash by that date would result in Argentina’s ninth defaultOn the macro front, a reading of Argentine economic activity in March, set for Wednesday, will reflect early risks of the virusData and EventsMalaysia’s first parliament sitting since its chaotic change of government two-and-a-half months ago was confined to listening to the king’s speech. It left no time for representatives to discuss policies for addressing the pandemic or go through a planned confidence vote against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. It comes after Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, chairman of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, said it will provide undivided support and confidence for Muhyiddin. An easing of the political risk in the country, which was blamed for dragging Malaysia stocks into a bear market, may help support the country’s assetsMalaysia’s April CPI is due on Wednesday. A Bloomberg survey sees prices falling 1.6%. Across Asia, inflation readings came in below expectations for April, providing significant support for bond prices in MayThailand sees its economy contracting as much as 6% this year, among the worst in Asia, as the coronavirus outbreak cut off travel to the tourism-reliant nation and shuttered commerceGDP shrank 1.8% in the first quarter from a year ago, the first contraction since 2014. That compares with the median estimate for a decline of 3.9% in a Bloomberg survey of economistsThe baht has reversed some of its earlier losses to become one of Asia’s top-performing currencies this quarterTaiwan’s April export orders, due on Wednesday, are expected to contractSouth Korea’s 20-day exports for May, due on Thursday, are predicted to show a further decline, after dismal 10-day export numbers. Korean exports are considered a leading indicator for global economic activity and a serious shortfall may have a negative impact on broader market sentimentRussia’s economic growth is predicted to slow to 1.8% year-on-year in the first quarter, from 2.1%, according to estimate before the data is due Tuesday. That’s the first reading to start showing the impact of plunging oil prices and the coronavirus pandemicA heavy data week in Poland will start to show the hit from the pandemic, with core CPI data for April on Monday, followed on wages and employment numbers on Wednesday, PPI and industrial output on Thursday and retail sales and construction growth on FridayMexico will begin to reopen its economy on Monday, starting with automobile, mining and construction companies. Inflation figures for the first part of May, to be posted on Friday, will probably remain subdued amid weak demand, according to Bloomberg EconomicsInvestors are now net short Mexican peso for the first time since December 2018, CFTC data showChile’s economy is bracing for a sharp contraction ahead, even after activity unexpectedly grew in the first quarter. Investors will watch central bank meeting minutes on Friday for clues on how policy makers are considering the risks of the pandemicPeru will probably report a shrinkage in GDP for the first quarter as the outbreaks and lockdown measures throttled economic activity. The release date hasn’t yet been set(Updates with Chile’s GDP in second to last bullet.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Brokers bullish on Ing Groep shares

    Brokers bullish on Ing Groep shares

    The Ing Groep Nv (AMS:INGA) share price has risen by 4.88% over the past month and it’s currently trading at 4.9915. For investors considering whether to buy,...

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