All eyes on The Budget
The annual rate of Consumer Price Inflation in the UK fell to 3.4% in February down from 3.6% in the previous month. Although this marks the lowest level of inflation since November 2010, it was still higher than the market had been expecting (consensus 3.3%). The markets will be interested in the BoE minutes release later today to see the split between the hawks and the doves. However, the main focus today will be the Chancellor’s annual budget statement at 12:30.
Meanwhile, Greece had its first bond auction yesterday since the largest ever sovereign debt restructure last week. The Public Debt Management Agency sold € 1.3 billion of 3- month bills at an improved yield of 4.25%, down from 4.61% at the last auction in February. Spain also achieved a lower yield in their latest auctions of 12-month and 18-month bills achieving rates of 1.4% and 1.7% respectively.
In the US, housing starts were close to a three year high. Builders started 698k homes in February and building permits rose to their highest level since October 2008. This latest data suggests that the US housing market is stabilising and the markets will be looking for further good news from today’s existing home sales for February.
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