Australia’s unemployment falls to 5.8% as Greece finally returns to the debt markets after nearly four years of absence
Despite a lot of criticism with regards to the steering of the economy by the socialist government French industrial production has improved, according to the latest data available the improvement was by 0.3% in February.
Australia produced a very healthy shock to the markets, causing the Aussie to rise versus the majority of its major peers, as the unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent, with 18,100 jobs added to the economy.
China’s imports and exports both contracted in March, trade data fell well short of forecasts causing concern over the state of the world’s second-biggest economy. Exports decreased 6.6 per cent in March from a year earlier, missing forecasts for a 4.9 per cent rise. It was the second consecutive weak month following February’s 18 per cent year-on-year contraction. Imports fell 11.3 per cent year-on-year in March.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ruled out major stimulus to fight short-term dips in growth in the world’s second-biggest economy, dashing investor hopes that the government would aggressively combat a slowdown in activity. Li stressed on Thursday that job creation was the main policy priority.
In other news Greece finally returns to the debt markets fully today, European government bonds advanced as Greece returns to debt markets for the first time since 2010 with a 2.5 billion-euro ($3.46 billion) sale of five-year notes via banks today.
French Industrial production index – Feb 2014
In February 2014, manufacturing output increased by 0.3%, continuing on the upward trend begun in October 2013. Output was almost stable in industrial production as a whole (+0.1%, after –0.3% in January 2014). During the last three months, manufacturing output improved (+0.8%)… During the last three months (q-o-q), output improved in the manufacturing sector (+0.8%), and was almost stable in industry as a whole (+0.1%). Output rose in other manufacturing (+1.2%), in the manufacture of food products and beverages (+1.6%) and in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products (+3.4%).
China Exports Unexpectedly Fell in March
China’s exports and imports unexpectedly fell in March as Premier Li Keqiang tries to stabilize an economy headed for its slowest growth since the global financial crisis. Shipments declined 6.6 percent from a year earlier, the customs administration said in Beijing today, compared with the median estimate for a 4.8 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey of 47 economists. Imports fell 11.3 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $7.71 bn.
Australia unemployment falls to 5.8%
The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8 per cent, with 18,100 jobs added to the economy. Full-time positions fell by 22,100 but part-time jobs rose by 40,200, the Bureau of Statistics said in figures published on Thursday. The participation rate fell to 64.7 per cent. Economists had expected the jobless rate to rise to 6.1 per cent, which would have been the highest since July 2003. The latest figures came after February’s surprise 80,500 jump in full-time position.
Market snapshot at 9:00 am UK time
The ASX 200 closed up 0.31%, the CSI 300 up 1.57%, the Hang Seng up 1.07%, and the Nikkei flat. Euro STOXX is up 0.13%, CAC up 0.19%, DAX up 0.48% and the UK FTSE 100 is up 0.36%. Looking towards New York’s open the DJIA equity index future is up 0.09%, the SPX future is up 0.12% and the NASDAQ future is up 0.19%.
NYMEX WTI oil is up 0.86% at $103.44 per barrel with NYMEX nat gas down 0.24% at $4.58 per therm. COMEX gold is up 0.77% at $1319.20 per ounce with silver on COMEX down 0.01% at $20.06 per ounce.
The yen rose 0.2 percent to 101.76 per dollar early in London. It advanced 0.3 percent to 140.88 per euro after dropping 0.6 percent yesterday. The dollar traded little changed at $1.3845 per euro after earlier reaching $1.3871, the least since March 24th. The yen strengthened against most counterparts while the Australian dollar pared gains after China reported an unexpected drop in imports and exports, fueling concern about demand for commodities.
Australia’s dollar rose to as high as 94.40 U.S. cents, the most since Nov. 20th, and traded 0.3 percent higher at 94.21. The nation’s statistics bureau said employers added 18,100 jobs compared with the forecast for 2,500 additions. The jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent, the lowest level since November and the first decline in six months.
Benchmark 10-year yields fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 2.68 percent early in London. The price of the 2.75 percent security due in February 2024 rose 2/32, or 63 cents per $1,000 face amount, to 100 19/32. Treasuries erased losses after exports and imports unexpectedly fell in China, indicating slowing growth in the biggest economy after the U.S.
The average yield to maturity on bonds from Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain fell to 2.25 percent on April 4, the lowest in the history of the currency bloc, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. The rate rose to 9.55 percent in 2011 and was at 2.26 percent yesterday. European government bonds advanced as Greece returns to debt markets for the first time since 2010 with a 2.5 billion-euro ($3.46 billion) sale of five-year notes via banks today.