Central bank rate announcements dominated the headlines in March. Most held steady, while pointing to a strong likelihood of beginning to lower interest rates sometime in 2024. This excited investors who helped push global equity markets higher over the month.

Global inflation kept coming down in February, as reported in March, which has set the stage for central bank rate cuts. Business activity in the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China, expanded over the month. Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in Europe and the U.K. continued to contract, weighed down by weak demand. In North America, labour markets remained relatively strong, but signs of slowing persisted.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite Index moved higher over the month, getting strong performances from the Materials and Health Care sectors. U.S. equities also advanced. Yields on 10-year government bonds swung higher and lower over the month, before finishing largely unchanged. Oil and gold prices both rose in March.

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