First Night

December 31, 2014

On the final day of the year, also known as First Night, the HSBC manufacturing purchasing survey of China for December was reported to have fallen by 0.4 points to an eight-month low of 49.6. This was not only the first month since April in which manufacturing activity contracted, as attested by the sub-50 score, but it was also the lowest reading since April and accompanied by evidence of stronger disinflation.   Orders, output, and jobs all fell in December.

The dollar in thin trading has slid 0.2% against the loonie, Aussie dollar and sterling.  It’s edged 0.1% lower versus the yen and is unchanged in overnight trading against the euro, which continues to hold a $1.21 handle, and Swiss franc.  The dollar rebounded 0.1% vis-a-vis the yuan.

The Japanese market was closed for the extended New Year’s holiday.  Share prices rose 2.2% in China, 0.9% in Indonesia, and 0.4% in Hong Kong and India but fell 0.6% in South Korea, 0.2% in New Zealand and 0.1% in Australia.  In Europe, the German Dax has slumped 1.2%, and stocks are down 0.6% in Switzerland and Italy.  But Britain’s Ftse and the Paris Cac show gains of 0.3% and 0.6%.

West Texas Intermediate oil has fallen 1.6% to $53.27 per barrel.  Comex gold is hovering very close to the $1,200 level at $1,198.90 per ounce.

On-year Australian private credit growth edged higher to 5.9% in November (a 5-year high) from 5.7% the month before, but the rate of M3 money slowed to 7.6% from 7.9%.

Consumer prices in South Korea were unchanged on month in December and posted the slowest 12-month increase of 0.8% in 14 months.  Producer prices, which are more heavily influenced by commodity price movements than consumer prices, fell by 1.2% in Malaysia and 0.7% in Cyprus in the year to November.

South African M3 money posted a marginally faster on-year expansion of 8.3% in November.  Private credit growth of 9.1% was the same as in October.

The Turkish trade deficit of $76.0 billion in the year through November was 15.1% smaller than that accrued over the first eleven months of 2013, but November’s shortfall of $8.3 billion was 19.7% greater than a year earlier.  The November deficit also was considerably greater than October’s, reflecting a 3.3% slide in exports and a 10% jump in imports.

Greek retail sales fell 1.5% on month but rose 3.7% on year in October.

Scheduled U.S. data releases today include the Chicago and Milwaukee regional manufacturing purchasing manager surveys, pending home sales, and weekly jobless insurance claims and energy inventories.

Welcome 2015.  May 2014 rest in peace.

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



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