Major South East Europe’s stock indices were mixed this week amid a spate of data pointing to deepening economic slowdown in Europe. On a weekly basis the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index advanced 1.14%, Belgrade’s BELEX15 was 1.82% higher while in Bucharest the blue-chip BET gained 0.89%. Ljubljana’s SBITOP fell 1.51% and Nicosia’s General Index shrunk by 3.51%. Sarajevo’s SASX10 added 0.80% and Sofia’s SOFIX dropped 1.04%. In Zagreb the CROBEX was off 0.35%.
Eurozone’s private sector expanded at the slowest pace in more than a year in June as the manufacturing output contracted for the first time in two years and growth in the service sector eased sharply, preliminary data from S&P Global showed on Thursday. The flash composite output index fell to 51.9 in June —its lowest level since February 2021- from 54.8 in the previous month. Meanwhile, eurozone’s consumer confidence unexpectedly tumbled to -23.6 points in June, according to an early estimate published by the European Commission.
Aggressive policy tightening by central banks has also stoked fears of a recession. US Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell said in his testimony before the Congress earlier this week that a recession is a “possibility,” and reiterated that the central bank is “strongly committed” to its aim of bringing down inflation.
In politics, the minority cabinet of Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov lost a no-confidence motion mounted by the opposition on Wednesday. Scope Ratings warned that Bulgaria’s no-confidence vote threatens pace of reform and the EU funds absorption.
In currencies, the European Council said it backed the European Commission’s proposal that Croatia adopt the euro as of January 1, 2023, less than a decade after the country became part of the European Union.
In commodities, the Romanian Government will pay car fuel distribution companies a fixed subsidy of RON 0.5 per litre of petrol and diesel, under a three-month scheme aimed at mitigating the high fuel prices.
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Kyriaki Balkoudi is a markets editor for World Markets Daily. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Balkans Studies from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and a master’s degree in International Politics from City University London, UK.