European markets closed higher Thursday after the UK parliament voted Wednesday against leaving the European Union without a deal in place and ahead of another vote that was expected to seek a delay to withdrawal. The FTSE advanced 0.4 percent, the CAC outperformed with an increase of 0.8 percent, and the DAX rose 0.1 percent.
As expected, the UK parliament late Thursday voted for a delay in the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, scheduled to take place at the end of the month. The UK government will now submit a request to the European Union for a delay. This will need to be approved by all member countries. Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she will try again next week to secure parliament’s approval for her Brexit deal, arguing that this approval will be necessary to prevent an extended delay to withdrawal.
German inflation data confirmed price pressures remained muted in February. The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent on the month after increasing 0.5 percent in January, with the inflation rate picking up for the first time since October from 1.4 percent to 1.5 percent. Food and fuel prices both contributed to this increase in the headline inflation rate though the core measure of inflation also rose, from 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent. The HICP measure rose 0.5 percent on the month and 1.7 percent in February, matching the inflation rate recorded in January.
French consumer prices were steady in February, with the index flat for a second consecutive month and the inflation rate picking up slightly from a revised 1.2 percent to 1.3 percent. This is the first increase in inflation since July but is still the second weakest print since February last year. Food and energy prices both rose at a faster pace but prices for manufactured goods and services were weaker, resulting in the core inflation rate holding steady at 0.7 percent. The HICP measure rose 0.1 percent on the month and 1.5 percent in February, up from 1.6 percent in January.