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February 2017

UK employment best in 11 years

Published: Thursday 16 February 2017

  • UK employment best in 11 years
  • Growth of part time work boosts Aussie employment
  • NZ consumer confidence slips
By David Johnson
The UK employment scene is the most positive it has been since July 2005 and yet wage growth is still subdued, at just 1.4% in the year to December. Low inflation does dampen wage rises and a lot of the jobs created were in part time roles, so that’ll have an impact. However, a 4.8% unemployment rate looks amazing on comparison with the Eurozone’s 10% and the high levels elsewhere and this kind of level is considered full employment or as full as can be achieved.  Sterling had an OK day, but didn’t advance as you might have expected. The lack of UK data today means Sterling will tread water.
We heard overnight that Australian employment improved with a drop in the unemployment rate from 5.8% to 5.7%. However, as with the UK data, there is a swing to part time roles and, in fact, all of January’s job growth came from part time roles. The Aussie Dollar, like the Pound, shrugged off the data.
New Zealand’s consumer confidence level slipped a little this month. The snappily titled ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index decreased to 127.4 in February from 128.7 in January, but that is still in positive territory. The NZ Dollar managed a slight improvement on the news. Tonight’s NZ business confidence index is also expected to have slipped a tad but to have remained in the growth zone.
In Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) will release the minutes from their last meeting today, but their statement following the meeting will have let all of the cats out of the bag already. More concerning for the Euro is the state of play on the Greek debt arrangements and anything that comes from the French election campaigning.
Aside from the ECB minutes, the data diary is a little lacklustre today, but we will see US House Starts and Building Permits data later and that is all forecast to be positive.
In other news, Donald Trump has set yet another cat amongst another set of pigeons with his lukewarm comments regarding the US’s long standing demand for a ‘two-nation’ approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict.
And a Russian Yoga master has been arrested under laws that try to control terrorists. The philosophy of Yoga is, it seems, worthy of consideration as a non-traditional religion and therefore banned. So, I’m guessing it is not advisable to joke about being a Jedi Knight in Russia – and I wonder if origami is similarly frowned upon?

At the Supermarket

The husband picked up a 24 can pack of beer and put it in the trolley. The wife said, “What are you doing?” and the husband said, “They’re on offer; 24 cans for £10. It’s good value.” But the wife said,” We can’t afford that. It’s too expensive and we are supposed to be saving money.” So the husband put the pack back on the shelf.
Then, in the toiletries aisle, the wife picked up a pot of face cream and put it in the trolley. The husband looked at where it had come from on the shelf and read the price ticket before saying, “What are you doing? That’s £20 for a tiny little bottle of cream! We can’t afford that.” As he spoke, he went to take the pot of cream out of the trolley and the wife put her hand over it, saying, “Leave it alone. It’s my favourite face cream. It makes me more beautiful.”
The husband said, “So does a 24 pack of beer and that’s only a tenner.”

Anyway, Constable, that’s when I called for the Police and an ambulance.

Today's Major Economic Releases

EUR 12:30 European Central Bank Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts    
USD 13:30 US: Building Permits 1.23m 1.21m
USD 13:30 US: Philly Manufacturing Index 23.6 18.5
USD 13:30 US: Unemployment Claims 234k 243k
USD 13:30 US: Housing Starts 1.23m 1.23m
NZD 21:45 New Zealand: Retail Sales 0.9% 1.1%
NZD 21:45 New Zealand: Core Retail Sales 0.3% 0.9%
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