A month to forget!

The dollar is little changed against the euro this morning trading at around $1.10 and is also broadly steady against sterling hovering just over the $1.23 level, which leaves the pound at 89p to the single currency. Equity markets retreated yesterday, rounding off a fairly miserable month for stocks, while core bond continue to nudge lower

March was a month to forget for stocks with US and European indices shedding 13% and 16% respectively (despite a mini-rally in the closing stages), which on top of the decline that occurred during mid- to late February brought their falls in 2020 to date (i.e. for the first quarter) to 20% and 26%

In China, the privately compiled manufacturing PMI followed its official counterpart, rebounding in March, to 50.1 from 40.3 in February, suggesting that activity in this sector has stabilised, albeit at a subdued level, having fallen in the opening two months of 2020 during the height of the coronavirus there

The annual rate of CPI inflation in the Euro Area fell to 0.7% in March according to the provisional estimate, down from 1.2% in February, clearly reflecting the impact of the recent plunge in oil prices. With the price of Brent crude having fallen further through the month of March, the inflation rate is likely to head lower still

Data due today includes manufacturing PMIs in the main economies; unemployment in the Euro Area; and the ISM measure of manufacturing in the US, as well as the latest ADP jobs report which is expected to show a decline in private sector employment in March according to the consensus estimate