Trump: Disbanded both Councils in a Tweet: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Seeing the writing on the wall, the 45th president of the U.S. is apparently attempting to fire them all (8 have already quit) before they can resign. Meanwhile, VP Pence is reportedly ending his Latam trip “a bit early” and returning to the U.S. after his visit in Panama. Gold and the yen both caught a bid after the announcement. Gossip is now swirling around his top team including Gary Cohn his chief economic adviser and the Presidents rumored preferred candidate as the next chair of the FED. EURUSD 1.1780, JPY 109.70 and Cable 1.2905. Gold trades at $1287 and USOil at $46.80 (having hit our $47.00 target).
Australian Jobs: Employment grew 27.9k in July after a revised 20.0k gain in June (was +14.0k). The increase in July mildly overshot expectations, but the details were less encouraging. Notably, full time employment retreated 20.3k after a revised 69.3k gain (was +62.0k). Part time jobs drove total employment gains in July, rebounding 48.2k after a slightly revised 49.3k decline (was -48.0k). The unemployment rate slipped to 5.6% in July from a revised 5.7% in June (was 5.6%). Employment growth has picked-up momentum this year, but wage growth remains weak. The wage price index, released Wednesday, grew at a 1.9% y/y pace in Q2, matching the growth rate in Q3 and Q4 of 2016, and Q1 of this year. That is the slowest rate on record (going back to 1998.)
FOMC Minutes: They showed definite concerns over inflation, and that gave the report a dovish bias. Meanwhile, most on the Committee preferred to defer the announce balance sheet unwinding until the upcoming (September 19, 20) meeting. Most members still expect inflation to pick up over the medium term, and still see a Phillips Curve connection between a tighter labor market and rising wage and price pressures, though a few doubted the validity of the framework. A number of causes for the sluggishness in inflation were bandied about, suggesting it’s not just idiosyncratic factors weighing. Some participants believed there was room for the FOMC to be patient on further rate hikes. But others saw inflation moving on a clear path toward the 2% target and were concerned about the effect of a tighter labor market. On the appropriate pace of normalization of the funds rate, the FOMC fell back to acknowledging it would depend on how financial conditions evolved. As for the balance sheet, it looks as though it will be announced at the September 19, 20 meeting. “Although several participants were prepared to announce a starting date for the program at the current meeting, most preferred to defer that decision until an upcoming meeting while accumulating additional information on the economic outlook and developments potentially affecting financial markets.”
US Housing Starts: The July U.S. housing starts report revealed declines of 4.8% for starts, 4.1% for permits, and 6.2% for completions, after small net upward revisions that sustained big June bounces from weak May levels, leaving a weaker than expected report. July declines were led by the multi-family sector, with drop-backs in the northeast and midwest after June gains, but with substantial weakness in the south since a spike in January that has left starts underperforming other housing series. We saw a third consecutive drop for the important starts under construction series, which hasn’t risen since April. Starts and permits have shown a 2017 pullback after a weather-led Q4 surge, while completions were strong through Q1 before stabilizing.
Main Macro Events Today
- Eurozone CPI – The Eurozone CPI for July is due this morning and expected to show no change in the (YoY) headline figure at 1.3% (MoM dipping to -0.5%) and the key Core CPI (YoY) ticking up to 1.2% (from 1.1%) and MoM no change at 0.2%.
- US Initial Jobless – Initial claims data for the week of August 12 are out today and should ease down to 238k for the week from 244k last week and 241k in the week prior. Overall, claims in August look poised to improve over July with an anticipated 240k month average, down from 242k in July. This supports expectations for continued strength in the labour market.
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