The Week In Numbers: Quantitative Pleasing

The European Central Bank (ECB) has finally brought out its “Big Bazooka”. It announced that it would fire €1.1 trillion of readies into the embattled Eurozone economy.


Otherwise known as Quantitative Easing (or, in this case, Quantitative Pleasing), the ECB will buy corporate and sovereign debt, which effectively pumps money into coffers of financial institutions. With more money than institutions quite know what to do with, they spent their windfall on equities. That sent stock markets in Europe, the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore higher.

One of the world’s largest oil companies, BP, has warned that low oil prices could stay with us for up to 3 years. BP said low crude prices could lead to job losses and falling investments, which could initially curb supply but eventually force prices back up again.

Additionally, BP said low prices could cause strains on oil producing countries such as Norway, Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria. And almost as if on cue, BHPBilliton said it has cut shale oil production in the US by 40%. Elsewhere, French oil company Total said it would limit US shale investment as a consequence of the sharp fall in crude oil prices.

Board lot sizes in Singapore have been slashed from 1,000 shares to just 100. Singapore Exchange (SGX: S68) said the change has so far been encouraging. It revealed that between October and December last year, about half of all orders were for 1,000 shares or less But following the cut in board lot sizes, nearly 80% of all orders were for 1,000 shares or less. So it looks as if 100 could be the new 1,000 for Singapore investors.

China’s economy grew 7.4% last year compared to 7.7% a year ago. The weakest growth for 24 years, which was better than expected, was still the first time since the turn of the Millennium that it has missed its self-imposed targets. While the growth numbers were disappointing, the retail numbers were not. China announced that retail sales rose 11.9% last month compared to a year earlier.

The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your FREE subscription to Take Stock -- Singapore, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Written by David Kuo, Take Stock -- Singapore tells you exactly what's happening in today's markets, and shows how you can GROW your wealth in the years ahead.

Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with our latest news and articles. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better.

The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.