In this section, we look at the economic news affecting global markets this week.

Australia

  • Australia’s trade balance dropped to a $628m trade deficit in November from $302m deficit in October. Exports were flat whilst imports were +1.0%.
  • The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose 0.3 points to 52 points in December.
  • Residential building approvals were up by 11.7%. That was surprisingly market expectations which was expecting a fall of 1%.
  • Approvals for apartment construction rose almost 6% in Victoria. Approvals in the ACT fell by 22%. Approvals were the highest in Victoria, while Tasmania and WA also fared well. It seems Victoria and NSW are holding up.
  • ANZ Job Advertisements fell 2.3 per cent in December largely unwinding the increase over the previous two months. On an annual basis job ads are up 11.4 per cent, a slight moderation from 12 per cent year-on-year growth the previous month.
  • In trend terms, job ads were up 0.1 per cent month-on-month in December.
  • Residential property growth will fall by around 1% in the 2Q18 according to ANZ.
  • Retail sales numbers have smashed expectations in November. Sales rose 1.2% to $26.4 billion well above analyst expectations for a 0.4% rise.

 Europe 

  • Germany – A rise in the number of cars registered on German roads in 2017 was recorded. It was higher than in any year this decade highlighting the long-running growth in sales. New registrations rose 2.7% year on year.
  • The ECB policymakers have hinted that they may look to update their policy guidance to better align it with a strengthening EU economy. Officials said that policy would need to evolve gradually based on the outlook for growth and inflation.

US

  • US job openings fell for the second straight month in November. Manufacturing and real estate sectors both fell supporting economist forecasts that job growth will slow in 2018.

China

  • Factory inflation fell to the lowest level since November 2016 last month due to weaker output and higher year-ago base comparisons.
  • The PPI Index rose 4.9% in December from a year earlier above an expected 4.8%.
  • The CPI Index rose 1.8% below a 1.9% forecast.
  • China’s foreign exchange reserves rose last year, while the country’s corporate leverage ratio declined at a steady pace.