It’s U.S. February Jobs Day

March 4, 2016

Markets await U.S. employment and trade data, which get released at 08:30 EST (13:30 GMT).  Canada reports trade and labor productivity.

Meanwhile, in the marketplace, the dollar has slipped 0.5% against the kiwi, 0.4% versus the Aussie dollar, 0.3% against the yuan and 0.2% relative to the euro.  The dollar has alternatively risen 0.2% against the loonie, Swissie and sterling and by 0.1% versus the yen.

Metal prices have strengthened.  Copper rose more than 1%, and gold is 0.6% firmer at $1,272.08 per ounce. 

Chinese share prices recovered another 0.5% (3.9% for the week), supported by government-authorized buying ahead of the annual policy conference on March 6.  Speculation of Chinese macroeconomic help to boost demand in the world’s second largest economy is lending a firm tone to other stock markets.  Equities close up 0.3% in Japan, with the Nikkei there creeping back above 17K.  Stocks rose 1.8% in Singapore, 1.5% in Hong Kong, 0.7% in New Zealand, 0.4% in Taiwan and 0.2% in Australia and India.  Gains in Europe thus far amount to 0.8% in the U.K., 0.7% in Germany, and 0.6% in France, but Italy’s market has fallen 0.6%.  U.S. stock futures are higher.

Ten-year sovereign debt yields rose two basis points in the U.K. and a basis point in Germany but fell four bps to -0.05% in Japan.

J.P. Morgan’s global composite PMI index (embodying manufacturing and services) slumped 2.0 points to a mere 50.6 in February.  The global services PMI printed at 50.7, a 40-month low.

Euroland’s retail purchasing managers index (PMI) rose 1.2 points to 50.1 in February, a 4-month high and breaking a three-month streak of sub-50 readings.  A 3-point jump in Germany’s retail PMI to 52.5 was responsible.  The French (48.1) and Italian (49.4) retail PMIs stayed below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

Germany’s construction PMI climbed 1.9 points to a 59-month high of 59.8 in February.  Its jobs and orders components were at record highs.

Revised Italian GDP showed a 0.1% quarterly uptick and 1.0% on-year advance last quarter, same as the preliminary release.

Czech GDP growth in 4Q was revised up 0.1 percentage point to 0.0%.  Year-over-year growth slowed to 4.0% from 4.7% in 3Q.  GDP rose 4.3% in 2015, an 8-year high.

Swedish industrial output recovered 0.6% in January from a 2.7% December dive.  The latest 12-month rate of rise was 4.6%.

British car sales were 8.4% higher than a year earlier in February and 4.7% higher in January-February combined.

Japanese real labor cash earnings posted an as-expected 0.4% on-year rise in January after a 0.2% 12-month dip in December.

Filipino CPI inflation slowed to 0.9% in February from 1.3% the month before.  Core inflation was 1.5%, down from 1.8%.

Australian retail sales firmed 0.3% in January, which was better than December’s unchanged reading but less than gains of 0.4% in September and November flanking 0.6% in October.  On-year growth in retail sales stayed at December’s 4.0% rate.

Malaysia’s trade surplus in January of MYR 5.4 billion was 40% smaller than the January 2015 surplus.  Decelerating world trade flows has been a big problem for emerging markets that depend on such.

The eleventh Republican presidential candidate’s debate was another shout feast.  Trump’s command of the field appears intact.  His rivals said they would support whoever is the nominee, even if it is Trump.

The U.S., Euroland, and Japanese central banks hold policy meetings around the middle of this month.

Copyright 2016, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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