Friday’s US employment data was a mixed bag although it included the creation of a stellar 313,000 jobs in February, with the December and January figures both revised upwards to show the economy creating 54,000 more jobs than previously reported. On the other side of the coin though, the average hourly earnings edged up just 0.1%, to $26.75 in February, below consensus of +0.2% and down from the 0.3% rise in January, lowering the year-on-year increase in AHE to 2.6% from 2.8%. The headline unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1%in February for a fifth straight month while the average weekly hours rebounded to 34.5 after falling to 34.4 in January.
The result has been a strong rally in the stock markets on the back of the good numbers/low inflationary outlook, while the US$ was choppy but generally unchanged at the end of the Friday session, as tariffs/trade-war fears were put aside for the day. The metals were also choppy, closing slightly higher while WTI climbed by 3%, underpinned by the improved risk sentiment following the jobs data, but also assisted by the news of an upswing in relations between U.S.-North Korea, which overshadowed recent concerns about the level of US oil inventories and production levels.
The coming week is going to be quite thin on the data front so it looks like being politics that mostly drives the agenda. There are a couple of important numbers to watch though, with the US CPI on Tuesday being the first major focus of the week, to be followed on Wednesday by the China Retail Sales/Industrial Production, the German CPI and the US Retail Sales. The SNB Interest Rate Decision will take place on Thursday and the week will wind up with the EU CPI on Friday. Have a good week.
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