Local trading volumes at two week lows

Trading volumes during the first session of August slowed down to €78,679 – the lowest levels in two weeks. A slowdown in trading activity across local equities is a normal occurrence during the summer months.

The share price of Bank of Valletta plc eased 0.8% lower to €2.301 across seven trades totalling 17,268 shares. Shortly after the close of today’s trading session the Bank published its Interim Directors’ Statement updating the market on its performance since 1 April 2013. During the period, the Bank reported that it continued to register pressure on interest margins given the low interest rate scenario and local competition whilst net commission increased. Costs remained in line with the previous year’s figures. The Directors also noted that the Bank’s investment book registered positive movements during the period under review. With respect to loan provisioning, the Bank retained its cautious approach towards loan provisioning in line with the call by both the local regulators and those at the EU level for banks to be more prudent and increase their provisions.

GO plc’s equity also shed 0.6% to drop back to the €1.67 level on an insignificant trade of 300 shares with offers already placed at €1.665.

On the other hand, HSBC Bank Malta plc inched minimally higher to close at €2.701 on a deal of 600 shares. Low volumes were also registered in Lombard Bank Malta plc as the equity held on to the €1.85 level across 2,200 shares.

Similarly, Malta International Airport plc maintained the €2.04 level on volumes of 2,500 shares and Crimsonwing plc remained well supported at the €0.69 level across two deals totalling 40,000 shares.

On the bond market, following eight consecutive sessions of declines, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index moved 0.2% higher to 1,027.17 points in line with the dip in Eurozone yields to 1.6% after the US Federal Reserve yesterday maintained interest rates at close to 0% and its asset purchase programme at US$85 billion a month.

Similarly, this afternoon, no changes were announced by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE) as both central banks await further evidence of a sustainable economic recovery.