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Round Up – Australian Jobs Grow, Chinese Retail Sales Fall

James Boston
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Asian markets have stabilized somewhat overnight following the previous evenings above average declines.

Japan’s Nikkei extended it’s fall slightly to close a further 0.1% lower following the previous days losses of more than 2.5%. This was despite a glimmer of hope in the Japanese economy in the form of a surprisingly high Core Machinery Orders number. This important metric for Japan’s manufacturing sector rose 13.6% on the month against an expectation of just 7%. The Japanese Yen posted some very slight gains in reaction to this positive economic number but overall remains on it’s downward trajectory looking set to again challenge the 105.40 level against the US Dollar in the coming weeks.

Australia also managed some welcome news overnight in the form of much stronger than anticipated jobs numbers. The February data claims almost 50k new jobs in the economy against an anticipated figure of just under 20k. Despite some question marks around the validity of the sample size in light of recently introduced changes to the calculation methods, the Aussie Dollar posted immediate gains. AUDUSD gapped higher and added 50 points against the US Dollar in response to what on the surface appears to be a turnaround in the troubling Australian unemployment situation. Should this trend continue it will free up the Reserve Bank of Australia to tighten monetary policy.

More Chinese data overnight confirmed that growth is continuing to slow in the world’s second largest economy. Retail sales data produced an annual rise of 11.8% missing forecasts for 13.5% growth. Industrial Output numbers also came in weaker than expected, the Jan/Feb data showed a rise of only 8.6% on the same period last year, even in the knowledge of a slowing pace of growth in China, analysts had still expected Industrial Output to expand by up to 9.5%. Chinese markets however welcomed this data suggesting that domestic investors had expected things to be worse.

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