US NFP grows 199k, unemployment rate down to 3.7%

    US Non-Farm Payroll employment grew 199k in November, slightly above expectation of 190k. That was below the average monthly gain of 240k over the prior 12 months.

    Unemployment rate fell from 3.9% to 3.7%, below expectation of 3.9%. Participation rate rose 0.1% to 62.8%.

    Average hourly earnings rose 0.4% mom, above expectation of 0.3% mom. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings rose 4.0% yoy. Average workweek for all employments edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours.

    Full US non-farm payroll release here.

    BoE survey reveals lower public inflation expectation

      The latest Bank of England/Ipsos quarterly Inflation Attitudes Survey show inflation expectations decreased in the near term. There’s also a shift in public sentiment towards a more balanced view of the economic situation in the UK, with decreasing number of people expecting further interest rate hikes and an increasing number advocating for stability or reduction in rates.

      Median expectation for inflation over the coming year has decreased to 3.3%, down from 3.6% in August 2023. This decline suggests a growing optimism among respondents about the easing of inflationary pressures in the near term. However, when considering the twelve months following that period, expectations remain unchanged at 2.8%, indicating that respondents anticipate a stabilization of inflation rates in the longer term.

      Regarding the future path of interest rates, there has been a notable shift in public opinion. Only 44% of respondents now expect rates to rise over the next 12 months, a significant decrease from the 63% who held this view in August. Conversely, 29% expect rates to stay about the same, up from 19%.

      When asked about what would be “best for the economy”, only 11% of respondents suggested that rates should “go up”, down from 13%. Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents who believe that interest rates should “go down” remains steady at 40%, and those who think rates should “stay where they are” have increased to 29% from 26%.

      Full BoE survey results here.

      US NFP in spotlight: A crucial test for soft-landing hypothesis

        Today’s primary focus in the financial markets is US Non-Farm Payrolls report, which is keenly anticipated by investors assessing the “soft landing” scenario in the economy. The soft landing hypothesis implies that labor market is cooling sufficiently to reduce inflation and pave the way for Fed to start lowering interest rates next year, without posing a significant threat to the overall economy.

        Non-Farm Payrolls report is expected to indicate that job growth reaccelerated to 190k in November, up from October’s 150k. Unemployment rate is projected to remain steady at 3.9%, and average hourly earnings are anticipated to show 0.3% mom increase.

        Recent labor market data has shown signs of cooling. ISM Manufacturing Employment index dropped from 46.8 to 45.8, while ISM Services Employment index saw a slight improvement from 50.2 to 50.7. ADP Employment growth recorded 103k, nearly unchanged from the previous month’s 106k. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims rose from 213k to 221k. Additionally, the latest JOLTs reported a drop in the ratio of job openings to number of unemployed workers to 1.34, the lowest since August 2021.

        A “goldilocks” Non-Farm Payrolls report, signifying a balanced labor market condition, could reignite bull runs in the stock markets and subsequently exert renewed selling pressure on the Dollar. However, market reactions to deviations from this ideal scenario are difficult to predict.

        Regarding the Dollar index, recovery from 102.46 was interrupted after reaching 104.23, largely due to the steep selloff in USD/JPY. For now, further rise is mildly in favor as long as 103.06 minor support holds, towards 55 D EMA (now at 103.54).

        But the index could start to struggle above there, unless EUR/USD could extended its near term decline through 55 D EMA decisively, while USD/JPY could stabilize at 142.45 fibonacci support.

        Japan’s nominal pay rises 1.5% yoy, but fail to keep pace with inflation, consumer spending drops

          Japan’s nominal pay growth rose by 1.5% yoy, surpassing the expected 1.0% yoy increase. This marked the fastest rate of increase since June. Regular or base salaries contributed to this increase with a 1.4% yoy rise. However, overtime pay slightly decreased by -0.1% yoy. Special payments, a variable component of wages, saw a significant jump of 7.5% yoy.

          However, the positive trend in nominal pay was offset by the continued decline in inflation-adjusted real wages, which fell for the 19th consecutive month, dropping by -2.3% yoy. A labor ministry official commented, “Price increases have outpaced wage growth.” This situation is exacerbated by the consumer inflation rate, which includes fresh food prices but excludes owner’s equivalent rent, re-accelerating to 3.9% after a brief two-month slowdown.

          Alongside wage trends, household spending in Japan also experienced a downturn, decreasing by -2.5% yoy in October. This decline, while still significant, was less severe than the anticipated 3.0% yoy drop. The continued decrease in household spending, which has now extended to eight consecutive months, reflects ongoing challenges in the domestic consumption sector.

          BoC’s Gravelle elaborates on holding interest rates steady amid balanced economy

            In a speech overnight, BoC Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle said the decision to maintain policy interest rate at 5% this week was an effort to “balance the risks of over- and under-tightening.” BoC aims to avoid excessively slowing down the economy, while also alleviating the burden of high inflation on Canadians.

            Gravelle observed that the Canadian economy “no longer looks to be in excess demand”, a shift that has contributed to reducing price pressures across a wide array of goods and services. He added said, “The economy is now roughly in balance.

            He also emphasized that BoC is closely monitoring several key economic indicators, such as inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behavior. These factors are crucial in determining whether inflation is on a consistent path towards the 2% target.

            Despite the current state of balance in the economy, Gravelle stated, “Given the risks to the inflation outlook, we remain prepared to increase the policy rate further if needed.”

            Full speech of BoC’s Gravelle here.

            US initial jobless claims rose to 220k, vs exp 226k

              US initial jobless claims rose 1k to 220k in the week ending December 2, below expectation of 226k. Four-week moving average of initial claims rose 500 to 220.75k.

              Continuing claims fell -64k to 1861k in the week ending November 25. Four-week moving average of continuing claims rose 7kk to 1872k, highest since December 11 2021.

              Full US jobless claims release here.

              Eurozone GDP growth finalized at 0.1% qoq in Q3

                Eurozone GDP growth in Q3 was finalized at 0.1% qoq. Household final consumption expenditure increased by 0.3%. Government final consumption expenditure increased by 0.3% Gross fixed capital formation remained stable. Exports decreased by -1.1%. Imports decreased by -1.2%.

                EU GDP was flat qoq. Malta (+2.4%) recorded the highest increase of GDP compared to the previous quarter, followed by Poland (+1.5%) and Cyprus (+1.1%). The highest decreases were observed in Ireland (-1.9%), Estonia (-1.3%) and Finland (-0.9%).

                Full Eurozone and EU GDP release here.

                China’s exports return to growth in Nov, but imports slump

                  China’s export figures for November 2023 showed an unexpected rise, growing by 0.5% yoy to USD 291.9B, surpassing the anticipated -0.8% yoy decline. This increase marks the first growth in exports China has seen in seven months.

                  Notably, exports to US rose by 7% yoy. However, exports to EU and ASEAN experienced declines, falling by -14.5% yoy and -7.0% yoy, respectively.

                  Conversely, imports decreased by -0.6% yoy to USD 223.5B, significantly underperforming against the expected rise of 3.0% yoy. This decline in imports contributed to widening of trade surplus, which expanded from USD 56.5B to USD 68.4B, exceeding the forecasted USD 58.1B surplus.

                  Looking at the broader January to November period, China’s exports contracted by -5.2% yoy, while imports declined by -6.0% yoy. The cumulative trade balance for this period stood at a surplus of USD 748.13B.

                  WTI oil breaks 70, focus shits to 63/67 support zone

                    WTI crude oil fell sharply overnight, breaking 70 psychological level for the first time since June. Further decline is expected in the short-term from technical perspective. But 63/67 support zone is expected to provide a floor to contain this downtrend.

                    This selloff is driven by several key factors. The primary concern is demand destruction in the fuel market, underscored by EIA reporting a larger-than-expected increase in US gasoline inventories. Additionally, persistent worries about China’s economic health are adding to the bearish sentiment in the oil market. This concern is exacerbated by Moody’s downgrade of China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative. Market skepticism regarding the effectiveness of OPEC+’s production cuts also plays a role.

                    Technically, WTI’s strong break of 72.65 support confirms resumption of the fall from 95.50. Further decline is expected as long as 74.23 resistance holds. Break of 61.8% projection of 91.07 to 72.65 from 79.77 at 68.38 is envisaged.

                    Strong support is expected from 63.67/66.94 zone to contain downside to complete the five wave sequence from 95.50, and bring sustainable rebound. Even if 63.67 is breached, 100% projection at 61.35 should provide the floor, preventing further substantial drops in oil price.

                    BoJ’s Ueda sees multiple options for target interest rates post-negative rate era

                      BoJ Governor Kazuo Ueda noted there are various options for its interest rate targets once it transitions away from negative short-term borrowing costs. However, he emphasized that no decision has been made yet regarding this shift. Ueda reiterated BoJ’s commitment to continuing its monetary easing under Yield Curve Control to support economic activity and foster a cycle of wage growth.

                      Speaking to the parliament, Governor Ueda noted the economy is to continue recovering moderately. But there is “extremely high” uncertainty surrounding the outlook. He emphasized, “We have not yet reached a situation in which we can achieve [our] price target sustainably and stably and with sufficient certainty.”

                      Regarding shifts in BoJ’s monetary policy, Ueda outlined that once the central bank moves away from its negative interest rate policy, it could consider various options for its interest rate targets. These include continuing to target the interest rate applied to reserves that financial institutions hold with the central bank or reverting to a policy that focuses on the overnight call rate. He clarified, “We have not made a decision yet on which interest rate to target once we end our negative interest rate policy.”


                      ECB’s Villeroy foresees 2024 rate cut possibility, dismisses immediate action

                        ECB Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau indicated that the central bank will not pursue further interest rate hikes. In an interview with the French newspaper La Depeche du Midi, Villeroy stated, “Our decisions to increase interest rates are fully playing their role as a remedy against the disease that is inflation.”

                        He added, “This is why, barring any shock, there will be no further increase in our rates — the question of a reduction may arise in 2024, but not now.”

                        Villeroy expressed confidence in the progress made in the fight against inflation, noting that “we are well on our way… even if we are not yet finished.” He urged patience with the duration of these measures, reiterating the ECB’s commitment to bringing inflation back toward 2% by 2025 at the latest.

                        Furthermore, he pointed out that disinflation is occurring faster than anticipated due to two main factors: slowdown in energy prices, unaffected by conflicts in the Middle East, and deceleration of other prices, including services and manufactured products, as a result of ECB’s monetary policy.

                        BoC stands pat as economic slowdown eases inflationary pressures

                          BoC keeps overnight rate target unchanged at 5.00%, aligning with market expectations. In its policy statement, the central bank emphasized its ongoing concern about inflationary risks, stating it “remains prepared to raise the policy rate further if needed.”

                          Nevertheless, BoC also noted recent data suggesting that the Canadian economy is “no longer in excess demand”. This shift is seen as contributing to a reduction in inflationary pressures across a broad range of goods and services prices. This observation suggests a subtle yet significant change in the economic environment, potentially signaling a pivot in the central bank’s future policy decisions.

                          Full BoC statement here.

                          USD/CAD is steady after the policy announcement. The focus for the rest of the week will be on whether rebound from 1.3479 could extend through 1.3625 resistance decisively to confirm that whole correction from 1.3897 has completed.

                          US ADP jobs grows 103k, pay rise slows further

                            US ADP private sector employment grew 103k in November, below expectation of 120k. By sector, goods-producing jobs fell -14k while service-providing jobs rose 117k. By establishment size, small companies added 6k jobs, medium companies added 68k, large companies added 33k.

                            Job-stays saw a 5.6% yoy pay increase, down from 5.7% yoy, and the slowest since September 2021. Job-changes saw a 8.3% yoy pay rise, down from 8.4% yoy, slowest since June 2021.

                            “Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job creators during the post-pandemic recovery,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “But that boost is behind us, and the return to trend in leisure and hospitality suggests the economy as a whole will see more moderate hiring and wage growth in 2024.”

                            Full US ADP release here.

                            BoE’s Bailey: Rates to stay high for an extended period

                              BoE Governor Andrew Bailey, in a press conference today, stated that “rates are likely to need to remain at these levels for an extended period to bring inflation back to target on a sustained basis,” referring to the current bank rate at 5.25%.

                              He also noted that the full impact of the higher interest rates is yet to be fully realized, and highlighted the central bank’s vigilance towards potential financial stability risks that might emerge as a result.

                              Separately, BoE’s half-yearly Financial Stability Report noted, “The overall risk environment remains challenging, reflecting subdued economic activity, further risks to the outlook for global growth and inflation, and increased geopolitical tensions.”

                              The report also drew attention to the strains on household finances due to rising living costs and higher interest rates. It pointed out that some effects of these higher rates, particularly in terms of mortgage repayments, have yet to fully manifest.


                              Eurozone retail sales rises 0.1% mom in Oct, EU up 0.3% mom

                                Eurozone retail sales volume rose 0.1% mom in October, below expectation of 0.2% mom. Volume of retail trade increased by 0.8% mom for non-food products, while it decreased by -0.8% mom for automotive fuels and by -1.1% mom for food, drinks and tobacco.

                                EU retail sales rose 0.3% mom. Among Member States for which data are available, the highest monthly increases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Croatia (+3.1%), the Netherlands (+2.4%) and Slovakia (+1.9%). The largest decreases were observed in France (-1.0%), Belgium and Austria (both -0.8%), Spain and Portugal (both -0.4%).

                                Full Eurozone retail sales release here.

                                UK PMI construction fell to 45.5, ongoing sectoral downturn

                                  UK PMI Construction ticked down from 45.6 to 45.5 in November, remaining below the neutral 50 mark and underperforming against the expected 47.1. This level indicates continued contraction in the construction sector for the third month, marking it as the second-lowest reading since May 2020.

                                  Tim Moore of S&P Global Market Intelligence highlighted the sector’s issues, stating, “A slump in house building has cast a long shadow over the UK construction sector.” He pointed out that the downturn in residential construction has persisted for the past 12 months, with recent reductions among the steepest since 2009.

                                  Elevated mortgage costs and adverse market conditions were cited as key reasons for the decline in housing projects. Additionally, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty are adversely affecting commercial construction, while civil engineering activity saw its sharpest drop since July 2022.

                                  Moore also noted a significant decrease in overall input prices for the second consecutive month, marking the fastest rate of decline since July 2009. Despite this decrease in costs, the sector continues to face substantial challenges.

                                  Full UK PMI Construction release here.

                                  BoC set to stand pat, will dovish shift follow?

                                    BoC is widely expected to hold overnight rate target steady at 5.00% today, amidst a backdrop of increasing economic challenges. Current market climate suggests the potential for a slightly dovish shift in the central bank’s statement. However, while there is speculation among some investors about the possibility of BoC commencing rate cuts as early as the second quarter of next year, it seems premature for the central bank to signal any definite intentions in this regard at the current juncture.

                                    Governor Tiff Macklem’s recent comments have significantly influenced market expectations. He noted that “the excess demand in the economy that made it too easy to raise prices is now gone” and the economy is “approaching balance”. His observation that softening economic activity will exert “more downward pressure on inflation” and the acknowledgment that “interest rates may now be restrictive enough” have nearly eliminated the odds of further rate hikes.

                                    In a recent Reuters poll, a majority of economists, specifically 18 out of 26, projected that BoC’s rate would decrease to 4.0% or lower by the end of 2024. Nevertheless, Macklem is expected to reiterate that discussions about rate cuts are still premature, indicating a cautious approach from the central bank in the face of uncertain economic conditions.

                                    CAD/JPY has been bounded in range trading below 111.14 since September. The pull back is so far rather shallow as contained by 23.6% retracement of 94.04 to 111.14 at 107.10. There is not sign of trend reversal, and another rise through 111.14 is still in favor. However, considering bearish divergence condition in D MACD, upside potential could be relatively limited.

                                    On the other hand, firm break of 107.10 could indicate that deeper decline is underway to 38.2% retracement of 104.60, or even further to 61.8% retracement at 100.57. However, such a significant decline would likely require concurrent dovish policy shifts from BoC and hawkish turn from BoJ, potentially materializing early in the next year.

                                    BoJ’s Himino stresses patience in monetary easing to prevent return to “frozen state”

                                      BoJ Deputy Governor Ryozo Himino, in a speech today, affirmed the central bank’s commitment to continued monetary easing. He noted, “the Bank will patiently continue with monetary easing until sustainable and stable achievement of the price stability target, accompanied by wage increases, comes in sight.”

                                      He acknowledged the positive changes in firms’ wage- and price-setting behavior, noting “solid progress” and “signs in the right direction.” However, he warned of the risks of reverting to a deflationary state if a virtuous cycle between wages and prices is not established.

                                      Explaining further, Himino commented on the longstanding norm in Japan where neither wages nor prices could rise significantly. “Japan had worked for many years to break free from this,” he added, “and simply returning to such a frozen state after the current high inflation comes down would not be a desirable outcome either.”

                                      Himino highlighted the longstanding norm in Japan where “neither wages nor prices could rise”. He stressed that Japan’s efforts to break free from this stagnation, adding, “simply returning to such a frozen state after the current high inflation comes down would not be a desirable outcome”.

                                      He also outlined the multiple challenges facing Japanese monetary policy, including addressing current inflation, supporting moderate economic recovery, encouraging wage increases, and preventing a return to deflation. “The Bank is struggling to find a solution and this is by no means an easy task,” he admitted.

                                      Full speech of BoJ Himino here.

                                      Australia’s Q3 GDP growth slows to 0.2% qoq, per capita output declines

                                        Australia’s GDP for Q3 showed a modest increase of 0.2% qoq, falling short of the expected 0.5% qoq growth. On a year-on-year basis, GDP grew by 2.1%. However, a contrasting picture emerges when considering GDP on a per capita basis, which revealed a decline of -0.5% qoq and a -0.3% yoy.

                                        Katherine Keenan, ABS head of national accounts, said: “This was the eighth straight rise in quarterly GDP, but growth has slowed over 2023.” She pointed out that government spending and capital investment were the primary contributors to GDP growth in this quarter.

                                        Specifically, government final consumption expenditure rose by 1.1%. Additionally, gross fixed capital formation also saw a 1.1% rise.

                                        An interesting aspect of the September quarter’s GDP was the contribution of 0.4% points from changes in inventories. Notably, mining inventories increased by AUD 2.4B, a reflection of the larger fall in exports compared to production volumes.

                                        On the other hand, trade in services had a negative impact on growth. Imports of services surged by 8.4%, significantly outpacing the 1.9% growth in services exports.

                                        Full Australia GDP release here.

                                        US ISM services rose to 52.7 in Nov, corresponds to 1% annualized GDP growth

                                          US ISM Services PMI rose from 51.8 to 52.7 in November, a touch above expectation of 52.6. Looking at some details, business activity/production rose from 54.1 to 55.1. New orders was unchanged at 55.5. Employment rose slightly from 50.2 to 50.7. Price fell from 58.6 to 58.3.

                                          ISM said: “The past relationship between the Services PMI and the overall economy indicates that the Services PMI for November (52.7 percent) corresponds to a 1-percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.”

                                          Full US ISM services release here.