Australia’s Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Falls to 5.1% in December By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — Australian unemployment unexpectedly declined in December as the labor market persisted in defying a sluggish economy, prompting a surge in the currency as traders slashed bets on an interest-rate cut.

The jobless rate declined to 5.1%, compared with economists estimates for it to hold steady at 5.2%. Employment rose by 28,900 people — almost triple estimates — while participation remained at 66%. Bushfires resulted in “disruption to data collection” in New South Wales, Victoria and the A.C.T.

The currency jumped more than half a percent as traders are now pricing in just a 24% chance of a rate cut next month, from 56% late Wednesday. The data extend a three-year run of hiring strength that has withstood volatility offshore and a slowdown at home.

Yet the job market’s health has failed to significantly push unemployment down to a level that would spark faster wages growth as it coincided with a swelling labor force. This led the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut rates three times since June to try to buttress investment and drive faster economic growth.

“These labor market figures will be interpreted in a positive manner,” said Callam Pickering, an economist at global jobs website Indeed Inc. who previously worked at the central bank. “However, with the bushfires likely to disrupt economic activity, and the with the Reserve Bank already leaning towards cuts, we expect further easing in the months to come.”

The Australian dollar surged to 68.79 U.S. cents following the report, up 0.6% from before the release. It was trading at 68.70 U.S. cents at 12:41 p.m. Sydney.

Indeed, the rise in employment was solely part-time, with full-time positions falling by 300, suggesting Christmas-related hiring.

Other details included:

  • New South Wales and Victoria, the most populous states, led the employment gains, with 20,600 and 10,300 respectively;
  • The mining hub of Western Australia, which has struggled since the end of the resources boom, led losses with 5,300;
  • Under-employment held at 8.3%

Governor Philip Lowe’s policy easing has so far delivered few results outside reinvigorating house price growth. He maintains “long and variable lags” in monetary policy mean it will take time for stimulus to work its way through the economy.

Consumer confidence fell 1.8% this month in response to the bushfire crisis, heading further into negative territory. While households are concerned about the economy, they are less pessimistic about their current and future financial situation — a good indicator of a healthy jobs market.

Moreover, rising property prices are a necessary forerunner to an eventual recovery in residential construction and in the shorter term should bring a wealth effect that supports consumption.

The RBA’s cash rate is at a record low 0.75% and Lowe estimates the lower bound at 0.25%, meaning he has just two cuts left in his policy arsenal before unconventional policy becomes a possibility.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s recent pause after 75 basis points of rate cuts reduces the risk of the currency suddenly spiking. In addition, the signing of a phase one trade accord between the U.S. and China has lifted global sentiment and could encourage firms to press ahead with investment.

The RBA in its quarterly economic update in November forecast unemployment of 5.2% and wage growth of around 2.3% in 2020. It will release updated estimates on Feb. 7.

(Updates with comment from economist in fifth paragraph.)

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Pound Falls After Weak U.K. Retail Boosts Prospect of Rate Cut By Bloomberg



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The slipped after U.K. data unexpectedly fell in December, increasing the chances that the Bank of England may cut a key interest rate this month.

Sterling dropped 0.2% to $1.3049 and declined against all its Group-of-10 peers as the volume of goods sold in stores and online fell 0.6% in December, confounding expectations of a 0.6% increase. Money markets are pricing a 75% chance of a rate cut on Jan. 30, compared with 62% on Thursday.

Markets are now turning their attention to impending purchasing managers’ indexes for further signs of the BOE’s direction.

“Clearly, there is a chance for a decent rebound of the PMIs next week and this may stay the BOE’s hand,” said Valentin Marinov, a strategist at Credit Agricole (PA:) SA. “That said, following this week’s weaker CPI and retail sales, the bar for stable rates is getting very high.”

Traders had been speculating that the central bank will cut rates at Mark Carney’s last monetary policy decision as BOE governor after a flurry of dovish comments from policy makers. The yield on 10-year U.K. government bonds was down three basis points at 0.61%, falling a sixth day and on course for its longest streak since August.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Oil Falls for Second Week as Ample Supply Offsets Trade Hopes By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — Oil declined for the second week as signs that supplies remain plentiful offset optimism over the signing of the U.S.-China trade agreement.

Futures in New York were little changed Friday but ended the week 0.9% lower. Refiners have turned a crude surplus into a product surplus with U.S. gasoline and distillate stocks expanding by over 40 million barrels last week. The build overshadowed Beijing’s commitment to spending $52.4 billion in additional purchases of American energy in the next two years as part the phase-one trade deal between the world’s biggest economies.

“There is a positive vibe after the trade deal, but the fact is we are so oversupplied it’s going to be difficult to get the market up past $60,” said Bob Yawger, futures director at Mizuho Securities USA LLC in New York.

Before the landmark U.S.-China accord was signed, prices reached a six-week low Wednesday after U.S. government data showed petroleum inventories in the country expanded to the highest levels since September. Inventories at the critical Cushing, Oklahoma, commercial storage hub rose for the first time in 10 weeks.

West Texas Intermediate futures for February delivery settled up 2 cents at $58.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

for March settlement rose 23 cents to $64.85 on the ICE (NYSE:) Futures Europe exchange in London after climbing 1% on Thursday. That put its premium over WTI for the same month at $6.27 a barrel.

The market may have to contend with another week of inventory builds as fog on the U.S. Gulf Coast has intermittently suspended marine traffic and slowed exports, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

The International Energy Agency noted on Thursday that global markets have a “solid base” of inventories and climbing supplies from outside the OPEC cartel, even as elevated tensions in the Middle East endanger production from Iraq and elsewhere.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Morgan Stanley CEO Gorman’s total 2019 pay falls 7% to $27 million


FILE PHOTO: James P. Gorman, chairman & CEO of Morgan Stanley, testifies before a House Financial Services Committeeon Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley (MS.N) Chief Executive James Gorman is receiving $27 million in total compensation in 2019, nearly 7% less than what he got the year before, the company said in a filing on Friday, following a reduction of bonuses staff-wide.

The board, which decides the top executives’ pay, called the 61-year-old’s performance in the year “outstanding” and acknowledged “the firm’s strong financial performance.” The bank’s reported profit jumped 46% to $2.09 billion in 2019 compared to 2018.

That kind of out-performance would typically result in the board giving the CEO a big raise. However, a source familiar with the board’s thinking said members also considered the bank’s recent disclosure that it would cut staff and discretionary compensation as it aimed to further reduce expenses.

In the bank’s fourth quarter earnings on Thursday it said it was lowering 2019 bonuses staff-wide in an effort to offset a 7% increase in other compensation expenses.

Morgan Stanley also disclosed it paid $172 million in severance packages to terminated employees, many of whom worked at the investment bank and trading business. The bank said in December that it would cut about 1,500 employees, or roughly 2% of its global workforce.(reut.rs/2qAtgES)

Gorman’s compensation is comprised of four parts: a base salary of $1.5 million; a cash bonus of $6.375 million; a deferred equity award of $6.375 million; and a performance-vested equity award of $12.75 million.

The board again required that 75% of Gorman’s incentive compensation be deferred over three years subject to a claw-back, and for all of that compensation to be paid in the form of equity in the company.

Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall and Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sonya Hepinstall



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Japan household spending falls 2.0% year-on-year in November By Reuters



TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese household spending fell 2.0% in November from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, compared with a median market forecast for a 1.7% decline.

To view the data on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications:

http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kakei/index.htm

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Canada gains surprise 35,200 jobs in December, unemployment rate falls to 5.6% By Reuters


© Reuters. A woman walks past a “Help wanted” sign at a retail store in Ottawa

By Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada gained a higher-than-expected 35,200 net jobs in December, entirely in full-time positions, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, official data showed on Friday, figures that could ease some concerns about the strength of the Canadian economy.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 25,000 jobs in December and an unemployment rate of 5.8%. Wages for permanent employees rose by 3.8%, Statistics Canada said, lower than the 4.4% gain seen in each of the previous two months.

Canada shed an unexpected 71,200 net jobs in November, the biggest decline since 2009, while the national unemployment rate rose to 5.9%.

“It’s a decent rebound,” said Andrew Kelvin, chief Canada strategist at TD Securities.

“It should put some of the immediate fears around the Canadian economy not to rest, but certainly make them a little bit less intense,” he added.

The Canadian dollar strengthened after the jobs gain, touching 1.3032 to the U.S. dollar, or 76.73 cents U.S.

The Bank of Canada has held its overnight interest rate steady since October 2018 even as several of its counterparts, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have eased. The central bank’s next interest rate decision is set for Jan 22.

Addressing a business audience on Thursday in Vancouver, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said the central bank would be watching to see if the recent slowdown in job creation persisted.

“I think (Poloz) will be pleased to see that rebound in jobs numbers in December,” said Josh Nye, a senior economist with RBC.

Full-time employment, Statistics Canada said on Friday, increased by 38,400 net positions, while part-time employment dropped by 3,200.

Meanwhile, Canada’s goods-producing industries gained 15,700 net jobs, mainly in construction. The services sector saw an increase of 19,400 net positions, largely in accommodation and food services.

Friday’s stronger-than expected jobs report follows a recent string of unimpressive domestic data analysts have said could point to the fourth-quarter annualized economic growth coming in below the central bank’s 1.3% forecast in October.

“I think (the Bank of Canada) will be relieved they didn’t get another negative,” said Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets. “There would be much more concern if you got three consecutive negative prints on the headline.”

Poloz said Thursday the most recent economic data had been mixed, telling reporters the fourth quarter had seen some unusual weather and strikes.



Oil falls but on track for biggest yearly rise since 2016 By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind the chimneys of the Total Grandpuits oil refinery southeast of Paris

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices edged lower on the last trading day of the decade on Tuesday but were still on track for monthly and annual gains, supported by a thaw in the prolonged U.S.-China trade row and Middle East unrest.

Brent has gained about 23% in 2019 and WTI has risen 36%. Both benchmarks are set for their biggest yearly gains in three years, backed by a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks and output cuts pledged by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.

On Tuesday, trade volumes remained low as many market participants were away for year-end holidays.

Brent crude () was down 32 cents at $66.35 a barrel by 12:40 p.m. EST (1740 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude () fell 17 cents to $61.51 a barrel.

(GRAPHIC: Oil holds steady in 2019 despite supply shocks – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7847/7829/oil%202019.png)

“This year’s oil trade is winding down amidst some subdued, low-volume trading conditions,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of trading advisory firm Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the Phase 1 trade deal with China would be signed on Jan. 15 at the White House.

The breakthrough in the talks has already boosted factories’ output and Chinese manufacturing activity expanded for a second straight month.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), an index showing economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors, was unchanged at 50.2 in December from November, but still remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

Tensions in the Middle East also kept traders on edge as thousands of protesters and militia fighters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to condemn U.S. air strikes against Iraqi militias.

Security guards inside the U.S. embassy fired stun grenades at protesters and the U.S. ambassador and other staff were evacuated due to security concerns. The U.S. strikes could pull Iraq further into the heart of a proxy conflict between the United States and Iran.

“Considering that Iraq is the second-largest OPEC producer with production around 4.6 million barrels per day, market participants may add a risk premium to oil tension if tensions last for longer,” UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

“That said, we need to see if the latest protests spread also in the south of the country, where most of the crude is exported.”

U.S. crude oil production in October rose to a record of 12.66 million barrels per day (bpd) from a revised 12.48 million bpd in September, the U.S. government said in a monthly report on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, U.S. crude inventories are expected to fall by about 3.2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 27, potentially its third consecutive weekly decline, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

(GRAPHIC: OPEC Production – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7848/7830/OPEC.png)

Oil prices are likely to hover around $63 a barrel next year, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday, benefiting from deeper production cuts by OPEC and its allies, and hopes that a U.S.-China trade deal could jumpstart economic growth.

“Oil prices, though largely expected to trade positive, will face headwinds from subdued global growth momentum and robust U.S. shale output levels in the first quarter (of 2020),” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures.



Japan jobless rate falls in November to 2.2% By Reuters



TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate fell and the availability of jobs held steady in November, government data showed on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.2% in November from 2.4% in the previous month, figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed. That compared with a median market forecast of 2.4%.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio stood at 1.57 in November, which was in line with October as well as economists’ median forecast, labor ministry data showed.

For a table, click the internal affairs ministry’s website:

http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/index.htm

(Note: The jobs-to-applicants ratio and new job offers can be seen in Japanese on the labor ministry’s website.)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Singapore November factory output falls most in four years By Reuters



SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s industrial output unexpectedly fell in November, marking its biggest drop in four years, in an indication that any recovery in the Asian bellwether economy is likely to be patchy.

Manufacturing output last month fell 9.3% from a year earlier, data from the Singapore Economic Development Board showed on Thursday, the sharpest decline since December 2015.

That compares with a 0.8% rise forecast by a Reuters survey of eight economists and a downwardly revised 3.6% increase in October.

Electronics manufacturing slumped 20.9% and pharmaceutical production declined 12.7%.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production fell 9.4%, after a revised 3.0% increase in the previous month. The median forecast was for a 1.1% increase, based on estimates from five analysts.

Singapore’s export-oriented economy has been hit hard this year by the prolonged trade war between the United States and China as well as a cyclical downturn in the electronics sector.

However, data for the previous two months had pointed to signs of respite, with manufacturing output having risen in September and October. [nL4N2861L2]

The city-state, which is expected to hold elections within months, revised up its third-quarter economic growth in November and comfortably avoided a recession that was forecast by some economists. [nL3N28101Y]

It will release advance GDP estimates for the fourth quarter and 2019 on Jan. 2.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. business borrowing for equipment falls 3% in November: ELFA By Reuters



(Reuters) – U.S. companies’ borrowings for capital investments fell about 3% in November from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Thursday.

The companies signed up for $7.8 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, down from $8 billion a year earlier. Borrowings fell 23% from the previous month.

“Uncertainty brought on by the prolonged trade frictions with China…was partly responsible for this slowdown,” ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta said, adding that credit markets were performing well, with losses and delinquencies in acceptable ranges.

Washington-based ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 75.7% in November, down from 76.3% in October.

ELFA’s leasing and finance index measures the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States. It is designed to complement the U.S. Commerce Department’s durable goods orders report, which typically follows a few days later.

The index is based on a survey of 25 members including Bank of America Corp (N:), BB&T Corp (N:), CIT Group Inc (N:) and the financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc (N:), Dell Technologies Inc (N:) Siemens AG (DE:), Canon Inc (T:) and Volvo AB (ST:).

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, reported monthly confidence index of 56.2 in December, up from the November index of 54.9, ELFA said.

A reading of above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.