Focus on U.S. Labor Market and Thursday’s ECB Policy Meeting

April 2, 2014

The dollar is mostly marking time, with downticks of 0.1% against the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and sterling, no change versus the yen, euro and kiwi and a 0.1% uptick relative to the Swiss franc.

Ten-year sovereign debt yields are up three basis points in Britain and a single basis point in Germany and Japan.

Share prices in the Pacific Rim advanced 1.0% in Japan, 0.8% in China, 0.5% in Indonesia, 0.4% in Taiwan, and 0.3% in Australia and Hong Kong but edged 0.1% lower in New Zealand and Indonesia.  In Europe, stocks have fallen 0.6% in Italy, 0.3% in Spain and 0.1% in France but are up 0.5% in Switzerland and 0.2% in Britain and Germany.

Copper jumped in response to North Chile’s 8.2 earthquake. Gold is 0.3% higher at $1,283 per ounce, but oil fell by 0.6% and under the $100 threshold to $98.18 per barrel.

Japan’s monetary base recorded on-year growth of 54.8% in March.  It went up 54.1% in the first quarter versus an on-year increase of 15.2% in the first quarter of 2013.  Current account balances held with the Bank of Japan accelerated from an on-year rise of 50.2% in 1Q13 to 153.4% in 1Q14.

Britain’s construction purchasing managers index printed at 62.5 in March, the fifth reading above 60.0 in a row and up 0.1 from February.  The U.K. Nationwide house price index in February rose 0.4% and accelerated to a 12-month advance of 9.5% from 9.4% in January.

Producer prices in the euro area fell 0.2% in February after a 0.3% drop in January.  Non-energy producer prices were unchanged on month, while energy fell by 0.3%.  The PPI was 1.7% lower than in February 2013 due to drops of 4.4% in energy and 0.5% collectively in all other producer price items.

Australian building permits sank 5.0% on month in February, their largest monthly decline since June 2013.  This may alleviate central bank concern about a property market bubble.  Still, permits were 23.2% above the February 2013 level.

Norway’s jobless rate averaged 3.5% in November-January.  The Irish unemployment rate was 11.8% in March.  Spanish unemployment contracted by 16.6K last month. 

Romanian GDP growth accelerated to 5.2% on year in 4Q13, and retail sales in February were 7.6% greater than a year before. 

Arriving U.S. data today feature the ADP estimate of private-sector employment, monthly factory orders, the NAPM PMI for the New York area, and oil inventories.  Mortgage applications last week fell 1.2% with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate staying at 4.56%.  St. Louis Fed President Bullard will be speaking publicly.  The ECB Governing Council probably will not ease tomorrow in spite of the drop of CPI inflation to 0.5% reported recently.

Copyright 2014, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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