December moved in the shadow of the new variant Omikron. Markets moved cautiously, while recovery continued along with concerns due to inflation and high energy costs.
In the USA, GDP growth for the 3d quarter was announced at 2.3% (up: 6.7%), and exports increased to $223.6bln ($207bln). Vehicle sales were marginally lower by 100k, due to trucks and not cars as the latter have increased by 30k in November, showing prosperity. Unemployment dropped to 4.2% from 4.6% (one more record), while inflation increased by 0.8% monthly and (6.8% on a yearly basis). In the energy sector, oil imports were up by half a million barrels per day, natural gas storage remained stable at 59bln cubic feet and gasoline inventories were reduced to 3.88mln barrels/week. Retail sales increased by 18.21% and industrial production also increased by 5.27%.
In Europe, Omikron variant coupled by increased measures from various governments with mini-lockdowns created market volatility. Germany under its new Chancellor is expected to move further forward economically. GDP growth in Eurozone was announced at 2.2% (3d quarter: 2.1%), and October industrial production was higher by 3.3% (5.1%). Unemployment was announced at 7.3% and retail sales marginally increased by 0.2% (MoM).
In Greece, stock market moved in low volume hovering the 900 units area. There was high interest though on the 7-year corporate bond issue of GEK-Terna (construction-energy company), which was fully covered with 2.30% coupon and €300mln nominal value. Regarding economic releases, Greek manufacturing PMI was stable at 58.8 (numbers above 50 show growth), GDP growth for the 3d quarter was 13.4% (16.6%), industrial production increased by 16.5% (9.9%) and unemployment was 13.3% in October, slightly up (by 0.3%) due to the end of the summer season.
The EUR/USD moved towards the 1.13 mark, and it is expected to continue towards 1.10 in the first half of 2022 depending on interest rates policy.
We remain invested in US stocks with enough liquidity to accomodate buying opportunities within corrective moves.
S&P-500 (1 year graph)
EuroStoxx-50 (1 year graph)
EUR/USD (1 year graph)
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