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Daily Briefing: Warsaw isolated as EU prepares 'unity' summit
March 10, 2017 / 8:27 AM / 8 months ago

Daily Briefing: Warsaw isolated as EU prepares 'unity' summit

LONDON (Reuters) - Poland set itself up for an embarrassing defeat at this week's EU summit by trying and failing to veto the reappointment of its own compatriot Donald Tusk as EU president for the sake of domestic politics.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo briefs the media during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

It has been left isolated and with egg on its face: its accusation that this all shows the EU being run by “German diktat” falls flat given that the vote in favour of Tusk was 27-1.

This is a serious blow to the credibility of the largest of the ex-communist countries that started joining the bloc since 2004 and does nothing to help the EU as it seeks to show solidarity after Britain’s Brexit vote. National leaders will be keen to put this episode behind them as they meet again today to prepare for a “unity” summit in Rome on March 25, 60th anniversary of the treaty that laid the EU’s foundation.

A triple whammy of UK data will give a clearer idea of whether the economy has lost some of its momentum going into 2017. Most attention will be on industrial output and manufacturing figures for January which are expected to show a fall after two strong months in late 2016.

The question will be how much of the reversal is due to volatility and how much is a signal of what’s going on in the economy. Also due at 0930 GMT – trade data -- will there be any sign yet of the weaker pound helping exports?

In Germany the story is imports: they soared more than expected in January, outperforming an also surprisingly strong rise in exports to shrink the current account surplus of Europe's biggest economy. Ahead of next week's G20 finance chiefs meeting that might at least dampen some of the U.S. accusations that Berlin is nurturing a weak euro to unfairly boost its competitiveness.


The one to watch on Friday is the monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls jobs report. Economists polled by Reuters expect 190,000 jobs were added last month. A figure of that order would be taken as confirmation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week – already a 90 percent probability, according to futures prices – and trigger more speculation on how many rate hikes will come this year. A weak jobs figure could be interesting, given the weight of bets on a hike and how much is priced into the dollar.

The dollar hit six-week highs against the yen in Asian trade and is up 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies, though off Thursday’s highs. The euro, however, is up 0.2 percent at $1.0592, having rise as far as $1.0602, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday there was less of a sense of urgency to take additional steps to boost euro zone growth and inflation. Sterling is about flat at $1.2155, having fallen to as low $1.2134, its weakest since Jan. 17 in Asian trade.

European Council President Donald Tusk takes part in a news conference after being reappointed chairman of the European Council during a EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

European shares are set to open higher, futures show, with the third day of gains for the STOXX 600 in prospect. Banks could do well if the payrolls figure comes in as expected.

Stock movers/company news: BT resolves two-year regulatory battle with new Openreach deal; UBS cuts bonus pool by 17 percent, CEO makes $13.5 million; VW plans to scrap bonuses for supervisory board members; Monte dei Paschi approves preliminary restructuring plan ahead of state bailout; Segro plc announces rights issue to raise £573 million; JD Wetherspoon says half-year revenue 801.4 million pounds; Brunello Cucinelli 2016 core profits up 13 percent on China sales; Esure gets capital boost as profits jump.

MSCI’s main Asia-Pacific exJapan stocks index gained 0.3 percent. Tokyo shares ended on a 15-month closing high, up 1.5 percent on the day as the weaker yen against the dollar boosted exporters. Chinese mainland shares edged lower.

Oil prices lifted off three-month lows but worries about a global glut of supply still weighs on the market. Brent crude is up 13 cents a barrel at $52.34, having fallen 1.7 percent on Thursday and 5 percent the day before.

Copper is up 0.4 percent at $5,712 a tonne as worries about a lack of supply eased. Gold fell and was on track for its biggest weekly fall in four months, down 0.4 percent on the day at $1,195 an ounce.

Emerging stocks and currencies are treading water on the day with only the Turkish lira and South Africa’s rand strengthening a touch ahead of the U.S. jobs data. However, on a weekly basis both stocks and currencies are poised for falls, with the MSCI on track for a 1 percent decline in its second week in the red.

The Mexican peso, the lira and the rouble eye weekly falls of around 1.5 percent with the rand on track to tumble more than 2 percent as investors remain wary of betting on riskier assets.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returns to Nigeria from his two-month medical leave in Britain, walking unaided but looking frail and thin. Turkey’s Deputy PM Canikli tells Reuters in an interview he expects the country to grow more than 4 percent this year after 3 percent last year.

China’s central bank governor warned that the country’s corporate debt levels are excessively high, but added that efforts to cut debt levels would take time.

Moody’s reviews sovereign credit ratings of Croatia and Ethiopia; S&P reviews Kazahkstan, Bosnia and Rwanda; Fitch reviews Slovenia and Lithuania

Editing by Toby Chopra

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