Developing-country stocks gained the most in four weeks on Thursday, with the benchmark MSCI Emerging Market Index trimming this month’s loss to 1.4%, supported by a rally in Asia. China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.3% and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1%. Elsewhere, the Philippines Stock Exchange Index advanced 1.6% to a record, while Vietnam’s VN index added 1.9%, the most since February 6.
Argentina said it will not pay $1.3 billion to a group of minority bondholders stemming from the nation’s 2002 default even if ordered by a U.S. appeals court. The country defaulted on about $100 billion in sovereign debt 11 years ago, and about 92% of its creditors had agreed to lower restructured debt payments. Last November, however, the New York district court ordered Argentina not to make a payment on restructured debt, unless the holdout creditors are paid as well.
High-income Economies…The second estimate of US GDP in Q4 2012 shows that the economy expanded by 0.1% (q/q annualized) compared to the 0.1% drop originally reported, reflecting a boost from private consumption and fixed investment that was partly offset by negative contributions from government spending, inventory investment and exports. The pace of growth was nevertheless the weakest since Q1 2011 and down from 3.1% in Q3 2012. Separately, the four week moving average of initial jobless claims, an indication of layoffs, fell for the third week in a row by a seasonally adjusted 6,750 to 355,000.
Consumer spending in France fell by 0.8% (m/m sa) in January, after growing 0.2% the preceding month. With unemployment climbing towards record highs, spending has weakened in recent months.
Credit in the Eurozone remains tight with an ECB report showing that loans to the private sector fell by 0.9% (y/y) in January, following a 0.7% drop in December. The decline was led by slightly sharper drop in loans to non-financial corporations of 2.5% in January, from -2.3% in December, and deepening credit contractions in Spain and Italy.
Japan’s industrial production rose by 1.1% (3m/3m, sa) in the 3 months to January after posting steep declines in the previous 8 months, helped by a recovery in transport and electronics sectors. On an annual basis, output fell by 6.5% (y/y) in January, about the same as in December.