Thu 7 Sep 2017


watch Nightly Business Report. watch Bloomberg Technology. watch PBS NewsHour.
watch ECB Monetary Policy Press Conference
watch Sean Parker motivates Mark Zuckerberg with the idea that Facebook could be worth $1 billion. Today it punched through USD 500 billion, and Zuckerberg is personally worth USD 76.3 billion.

In Portfolioticker today

Today at the stock market

bull/bearWall Street ended little changed on Thursday after a moderate late-day rally as media stocks, which slumped on negative business updates from Walt Disney and Comcast, were offset by gains in healthcare shares.

  • The S&P 500 fell 0.44 points, or 0.02%, to 2,465.10
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.86 points, or 0.10%, to 21,784.78
  • The Nasdaq Composite rose 4.56 points, or 0.07%, to 6,397.87.
  • Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.06-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
  • About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 5.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Comcast dropped 6.2% after the cable operator warned of subscriber losses, while Disney shares fell 4.4% after the company cautioned about its profit growth. The S&P 500 media index ended down 3.6%.

Gains in healthcare stocks such as AbbVi and Bristol-Myers Squibb buoyed indexes, while strength in Microsoft and Amazon helped keep the tech-heavy Nasdaq in positive territory.

Investors were tracking Hurricane Irma, which was bearing down on Florida on the heels of devastation in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey. Irma plowed past the Dominican Republic toward Haiti after devastating a string of Caribbean islands.
With Irma looming, shares of insurers were weaker, with the Dow Jones U.S. Insurance index off 1.9%.

“There’s further uncertainty because of Hurricane Irma that is supposed to be hitting Florida. You don’t know what kind of damage it is going to do,” said John Praveen, managing director at Prudential International Investments Advisers in Newark, New Jersey. Combined with Harvey, in the short term, Praveen said, “maybe it will have a negative impact upon U.S. GDP growth and it might hurt U.S. earnings, and that’s probably why the markets are reacting negatively.”

Irma is the latest macro event to keep pressure on U.S. equities following concerns earlier this week about geopolitical tensions involving North Korea, which sparked the biggest one-day drop for the S&P 500 in about three weeks. Adding to concerns, September historically has been the worst month for stocks, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.

Still, the benchmark S&P remains near all-time highs, with market watchers pointing to strong earnings growth and solid economic data as helping to support stocks.

“For being in such a nervous world right now, the market has done exceptionally well,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Investors were also digesting comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who said the euro’s strength was already weighing on inflation and will be a key factor for the ECB next month when it decides how to proceed with its massive stimulus program.

General Electric shares sank 3.6%, dragging on the S&P and the Dow, after a bearish analyst note.

Apple shares also weighed on major indexes, falling 0.4% after a report that the company’s new iPhone was hit with production glitches.

Financial shares slid 1.7% amid a drop in U.S. Treasury yields.

Healthcare was the best-performing sector, rising 1.1%. AbbVie shares surged 6.1% and Bristol-Myers Squibb gained 5.0% after the drugmakers separately reported positive developments for their respective medicines.

Eli Lilly shares rose 1.3% after it said it would lay off about 8% of its employees.Reuters

Market indices

Market indices
^ Market indices today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Google Finance

Index Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
S&P 500 SPX (INX) 2,465.10 -0.02% 2,238.83 +10.1%
DJIA INDU 21,784.78 -0.11% 19,762.60 +10.23%
NASDAQ IXIC 6,397.87 +0.07% 5,383.12 +18.85%

read_this Portfolio Indices

USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks (Chart: Bunting)
^ USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks Chart: Bunting

Index values

Index Currency Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
USD-denominated Index USD 2.858 +0.03% 2.105 +35.79%
Valuation Rate USD/AUD 0.80971 +0.68% 0.72663 +11.43%
AUD-denominated Index AUD 3.534 -0.64% 2.895 +22.06%

Portfolio stock prices

:-) Ebay closed on a record high of $38.01, beating its 28 Jul 2017 record of $37.18.
:-) Facebook closed on a record high of $173.21, beating its 28 Jul 2017 record of $172.45.
:-) At today’s closing price of $173.21, Facebook’s market cap is USD503,035,890,315 (more than half a trillion dollars).
:-) PayPal closed on a record high of $62.00, beating its 30 Aug 2017 record of $61.77.
:-) Visa closed on a record high of $104.56, beating its 22 Aug 2017 record of $104.07.

Stock Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
Alphabet A GOOGL $949.89 +0.83% $792.45 +19.86%
Alphabet C GOOG $935.95 +0.87% $771.82 +21.26%
Apple AAPL $161.26 -0.41% $115.82 +39.23%
Amazon AMZN $979.47 +1.20% $749.87 +30.61%
Ebay EBAY $38.01 +3.40% $29.69 +28.02%
Facebook FB $173.21 +0.65% $115.05 +50.55%
PayPal PYPL $62.00 +1.24% $39.47 +57.08%
Twitter TWTR $17.22 +2.31% $16.30 +5.64%
Visa V $104.56 +1.33% $78.02 +34.01%
VMware VMW $106.50 -0.74% $78.73 +35.27%

FX: USD/AUD

USD

DXY movements
^ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) movements today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Bloomberg

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) dipped 0.7%, hitting the lowest in more than 2 years with its 6th straight decline.
The EUR increased 0.9% to USD1.2019, the strongest in almost 3 years.
Britain’s GBP rose 0.4% to $1.3097, the strongest in almost 5 weeks.
Japan’s JPY increased 0.7% to 108.49 per USD.
Bloomberg

AUD

AUD movements
^ AUD movements against the USD today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: xe.com

Oil and Gas Futures

Futures prices

Prices are as at 15:48 EDT

  • NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI): $49.08/barrel -0.16% Chart
  • ICE (London) Brent North Sea Crude: $54.47/barrel +0.50% Chart
  • NYMEX Natural gas futures: $2.98/MMBTU -0.70% Chart

flag_australia AU: Assets and Liabilities of Australian Securitisers. Jun 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_abs1]

Assets of Securitisers

At 30 June 2017, total assets of Australian securitisers were $125.3b, up $3.7b (3.0%) on 31 March 2017.
During the June quarter 2017, the rise in total assets was primarily due to an increase in residential mortgage assets (up $4.6b, 4.8%). This was partially offset by a decrease in cash and deposits (down $0.9b, 19.7%).

Liabilities of Securitisers

At 30 June 2017, total liabilities of Australian securitisers were $125.3b, (up $3.7b, 3.0%) on 31 March 2017. The increase in total liabilities was primarily due to an increase in long term asset backed securities issued in Australia (up $2.8b, 2.7%) and loans and placements (up $0.7b, 7.6%). This was partially offset by a decrease in asset backed securities issued offshore (down $0.6b, 13.3%).

At 30 June 2017, asset backed securities issued in Australia as a proportion of total liabilities increased marginally to 88.8%, up 0.2% on the March quarter 2017 proportion of 88.6%. Asset backed securities issued overseas as a proportion of total liabilities decreased to 3.2%, down 0.6% on the March quarter 2017 proportion of 3.8%.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “5232.0.55.001 – Assets and Liabilities of Australian Securitisers. Jun 2017“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_australia AU: Industrial Disputes. Jun 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_abs2]

Quarterly Estimates

In June quarter 2017, there were 47 disputes, 15 more than in March quarter 2017.

The number of employees involved in industrial disputes in June quarter 2017 was 27,800, an increase from 22,700 in March quarter 2017.

There were 40,200 working days lost due to industrial disputation in June quarter 2017, an increase from 25,600 in March quarter 2017.

Other Manufacturing (14,700) accounted for 36% of total working days lost in June quarter 2017.

Victoria (22,100) had the highest number of working days lost of any state or territory in June quarter 2017, accounting for 55% of total working days lost. Victoria also had the highest number of working days lost per thousand employees (7.8) for the quarter.

Year Ended Estimates

During the year ended June 2017, there were 200 disputes, 64 fewer than in the year ended June 2016.

During the year ended June 2017, there were 137,800 working days lost, 37% more than in the year ended June 2016 (100,700).

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “6321.0.55.001 – Industrial Disputes, Australia. Jun 2017“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_australia AU: International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia. Jul 2017

shipinfog

Press Release Extract [ser_45]

Balance on Goods and Services

In trend terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $768m in July 2017, a decrease of $250m on the surplus in June 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $460m in July 2017, a decrease of $428m on the surplus in June 2017.

May 2017 Jun 2017 Jul 2017 Change
EXPORTS of goods and services (Credits)
Trend estimates $31,925m $31,679m $31,554m -0%
Seasonally adjusted $32,189m $31,780m $31,071m -2%
IMPORTS of goods and services (Debits)
Trend estimates $30,476m $30,661m $30,786m +0%
Seasonally adjusted $30,239m $30,892m $30,611m -1%
BALANCE on goods and services
Trend estimates +$1,449m +$1,018m +$768m -25%
Seasonally adjusted +$1,951m +$888m +$460m -48%

Exports of Goods and Services

Between June and July 2017, the trend estimate of goods and services credits fell $125m to $31,554m.

In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services credits fell $709m (2%) to $31,071m. Non-rural goods fell $631m (3%), non-monetary gold fell $330m (17%) and net exports of goods under merchanting fell $4m (15%). Rural goods rose $97m (2%). Services credits rose $159m (3%).

Imports of Goods and Services

Between June and July 2017, the trend estimate of goods and services debits rose $125m to $30,786m.

In seasonally adjusted terms, goods and services debits fell $281m (1%) to $30,611m. Consumption goods fell $139m (2%), non-monetary gold fell $92m (17%), intermediate and other merchandise goods fell $77m (1%) and capital goods fell $27m. Services debits rose $54m (1%).

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “5368.0 – International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Jul 2017“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_australia AU: Managed Funds. Jun 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_abs4]

Total Managed Funds Industry

At 30 June 2017, the managed funds industry had $2,971.6b funds under management, an increase of $79.2b (3%) on the March quarter 2017 figure of $2,892.4b.

The main valuation effects that occurred during the June quarter 2017 were as follows: the S&P/ASX 200 decreased 2.4%; the price of foreign shares, as represented by the MSCI World Index excluding Australia, increased 3.6%; and the A$ appreciated 0.6% against the USD.

Consolidated Assets of Managed Funds Institutions

At 30 June 2017, the consolidated assets of managed funds institutions were $2,377.1b, an increase of $80.9b (4%) on the March quarter 2017 figure of $2,296.3b.

The asset types that increased were deposits, $31.2b (10%); short term securities, $13.9b (11%); shares, $10.4b (1%); land, buildings and equipment, $9.5b (4%); other financial assets, $8.4b (24%); units in trusts, $3.2b (2%); overseas assets, $3.0b (1%); bonds, etc., $1.4b (1%); and loans and placements, $0.1b (0%). These were partially offset by decreases in derivatives, $0.1b (2%). Other non-financial assets were flat.

Cross Invested Assets

At 30 June 2017, there were $527.1b of assets cross invested between managed funds institutions.

Unconsolidated Assets

At 30 June 2017, the unconsolidated assets of superannuation (pension) funds increased $82.7b (4%), public offer (retail) unit trusts increased $2.1b (1%), life insurance corporations increased $1.5b (1%), cash management trusts increased $0.5b (2%), and friendly societies increased $0.1b (2%). Common funds were flat.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “5655.0 – Managed Funds, Australia, Jun 2017“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_australia AU: Retail Trade. Jul 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_abs5]

Australian retail turnover was a relatively unchanged 0.0 per cent in July 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

This follows a rise of 0.2 per cent in June 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in household goods retailing (-1.7 per cent), department stores (-2.8 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in food retailing (0.7 per cent), other retailing (1.3 per cent), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent) in July 2017.

“The falls in household goods retailing and department stores come after strong rises during the June quarter,” said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide surveys for the ABS.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in New South Wales (-0.4 per cent), South Australia (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-0.9 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.1 per cent). There were rises in Victoria (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), Queensland (0.2 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.1 per cent).

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in July 2017 following a 0.4 per cent rise in June 2017. Compared to July 2016, the trend estimate rose 3.5 per cent.
Online retail turnover contributed 4.3 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Current Prices:

  • The trend estimate rose 0.3% in July 2017. This follows a rise of 0.4% in June 2017 and a rise of 0.4% in May 2017.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate was relatively unchanged (0.0%) in July 2017. This follows a rise of 0.2% in June 2017 and a rise of 0.6% in May 2017.
  • In trend terms, Australian turnover rose 3.5% in July 2017 compared with July 2016.
  • The following industries rose in trend terms in July 2017: Food retailing (0.2%), Other retailing (0.6%), Household goods retailing (0.4%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4%), and Clothing footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.6%). Department stores (-0.3%) fell in trend terms in July 2017.
  • The following states and territories rose in trend terms in July 2017: New South Wales (0.4%), Victoria (0.4%), Queensland (0.2%), Western Australia (0.2%), South Australia (0.2%), Tasmania (0.5%), the Australian Capital Territory (0.3%), and the Northern Territory (0.4%).

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “8501.0 – Retail Trade, Australia. Jul 2017“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_europe European Central Bank. Monetary Policy Statement

Press Release Extract [ser_ecb]

At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.40% respectively. The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases.

Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, the Governing Council confirms that the net asset purchases, at the current monthly pace of €60 billion, are intended to run until the end of December 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim. The net purchases are made alongside reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme. If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the programme in terms of size and/or duration.

European Central Bank, “Monetary Policy Statement“, 7 Sep 2017 More

Press Conference: Introductory Statement [ser_ecb]

Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. We expect them to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases. Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, we confirm that our net asset purchases, at the current monthly pace of €60 billion, are intended to run until the end of December 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim. The net purchases are made alongside reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme.

The incoming information, including our new staff projections, confirms a broadly unchanged medium-term outlook for euro area economic growth and inflation. The economic expansion, which accelerated more than expected in the first half of 2017, continues to be solid and broad-based across countries and sectors. At the same time, the recent volatility in the exchange rate represents a source of uncertainty which requires monitoring with regard to its possible implications for the medium-term outlook for price stability.

While the ongoing economic expansion provides confidence that inflation will gradually head to levels in line with our inflation aim, it has yet to translate sufficiently into stronger inflation dynamics. Measures of underlying inflation have ticked up slightly in recent months but, overall, remain at subdued levels. Therefore, a very substantial degree of monetary accommodation is still needed for underlying inflation pressures to gradually build up and support headline inflation developments in the medium term. If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, we stand ready to increase our asset purchase programme in terms of size and/or duration. This autumn we will decide on the calibration of our policy instruments beyond the end of the year, taking into account the expected path of inflation and the financial conditions needed for a sustained return of inflation rates towards levels that are below, but close to, 2%.

Let me now explain our assessment in greater detail, starting with the economic analysis. Euro area real GDP increased by 0.6%, quarter on quarter, in the second quarter of 2017, after 0.5% in the first quarter. Survey data point to continued broad-based growth in the period ahead. Our monetary policy measures are supporting domestic demand and have facilitated the deleveraging process. Private consumption is underpinned by employment gains, which are also benefiting from past labour market reforms, and by increasing household wealth. The recovery in investment continues to benefit from very favourable financing conditions and improvements in corporate profitability. Moreover, the broad-based global recovery will support euro area exports.

This assessment is broadly reflected in the September 2017 ECB staff macroeconomic projections for the euro area. These projections foresee annual real GDP increasing by 2.2% in 2017, by 1.8% in 2018 and by 1.7% in 2019. Compared with the June 2017 Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections, the outlook for real GDP growth has been revised up for 2017, reflecting the recent stronger growth momentum, and is broadly unchanged thereafter.

Risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook remain broadly balanced. On the one hand, the current positive cyclical momentum increases the chances of a stronger than expected economic upswing. On the other hand, downside risks continue to exist, primarily relating to global factors and developments in foreign exchange markets.

Euro area annual HICP inflation was 1.5% in August. Looking ahead, on the basis of current futures prices for oil, annual rates of headline inflation are likely to temporarily decline towards the turn of the year, mainly reflecting base effects in energy prices. At the same time, measures of underlying inflation have ticked up moderately in recent months, but have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend. Domestic cost pressures, notably from labour markets, are still subdued. Underlying inflation in the euro area is expected to rise gradually over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the continuing economic expansion, the corresponding gradual absorption of economic slack and rising wages.

This assessment is also broadly reflected in the September 2017 ECB staff macroeconomic projections for the euro area, which foresee annual HICP inflation at 1.5% in 2017, 1.2% in 2018 and 1.5% in 2019. Compared with the June 2017 Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections, the outlook for headline HICP inflation has been revised down slightly, mainly reflecting the recent appreciation of the euro exchange rate.

Turning to the monetary analysis, broad money (M3), despite some monthly volatility, continues to expand at a robust pace, with an annual rate of growth of 4.5% in July 2017, after 5.0% in June. As in previous months, annual growth in M3 was mainly supported by its most liquid components, with the narrow monetary aggregate M1 expanding at an annual rate of 9.1% in July 2017, down from 9.7% in June.

The recovery in the growth of loans to the private sector observed since the beginning of 2014 is proceeding. The annual growth rate of loans to non-financial corporations increased to 2.4% in July 2017, up from 2.0% in June, while the annual growth rate of loans to households remained stable at 2.6%. The pass-through of the monetary policy measures put in place since June 2014 continues to significantly support borrowing conditions for firms and households, access to financing ‒ notably for small and medium-sized enterprises ‒ and credit flows across the euro area.

To sum up, a cross-check of the outcome of the economic analysis with the signals coming from the monetary analysis confirmed the need for a continued very substantial degree of monetary accommodation to secure a sustained return of inflation rates towards levels that are below, but close to, 2%.

In order to reap the full benefits from our monetary policy measures, other policy areas must contribute decisively to strengthening the longer-term growth potential and reducing vulnerabilities. The implementation of structural reforms needs to be substantially stepped up to increase resilience, reduce structural unemployment and boost euro area growth potential and productivity. Regarding fiscal policies, all countries would benefit from intensifying efforts towards achieving a more growth-friendly composition of public finances. A full, transparent and consistent implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact and of the macroeconomic imbalances procedure over time and across countries remains essential to bolster the resilience of the euro area economy. Strengthening Economic and Monetary Union remains a priority. The Governing Council welcomes the ongoing discussions on further enhancing the institutional architecture of our Economic and Monetary Union.

European Central Bank: Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the ECB. Introductory Statement to Press Conference“, 7 Sep 2017 More

flag_usa US: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims

Press Release Extract [ser_4]

insurance

In the week ending September 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, an increase of 62,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 236,000. This is the highest level for initial claims since April 18, 2015 when it was 298,000. The 4-week moving average was 250,250, an increase of 13,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 236,750.

Hurricane Harvey impacted this week’s initial claims.

unemployment

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending August 26, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 26 was 1,940,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 3,000 from 1,942,000 to 1,945,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,948,250, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 1,951,500 to 1,952,250.

Employment and Training Administration, “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report“, 7 Sep 2017 (08:30) More

flag_usa US: Productivity and Costs. Q2/2017

Press Release Extract [ser_bls]

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.5 percent during the second quarter of 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 4.0 percent and hours worked increased 2.5 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017, productivity increased 1.3 percent, reflecting a 2.8-percent increase in output and a 1.5-percent increase in hours worked.

us_labprod1_20170907

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2017, reflecting a 1.8-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 1.5-percent increase in productivity. Unit labor costs decreased 0.2 percent over the last four quarters.

us_labprod2_20170907

BLS calculates unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. Increases in hourly compensation tend to increase unit labor costs, and increases in output per hour tend to reduce them.

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017, as output increased 2.1 percent and hours worked decreased 0.7 percent. The increase in manufacturing output per hour is the largest since the first quarter of 2012, when the measure increased 3.2 percent. Productivity increased 3.8 percent in the durable goods manufacturing sector and increased 0.5 percent in the nondurable goods sector in the second quarter of 2017. The larger productivity gain in durable goods industries was due primarily to a 2.7-percent decline in hours worked, as output increased 1.0 percent. In contrast, the modest increase in nondurable manufacturing productivity reflected a 2.8- percent increase in hours worked and a 3.4-percent increase in output. Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 1.1 percent, as output increased 1.6 percent and hours worked increased 0.5 percent. Unit labor costs in manufacturing decreased 0.4 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and rose 0.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

The concepts, sources, and methods used for the manufacturing output series differ from those used in the business and nonfarm business output series; these output measures are not directly comparable. See the Technical Notes for a more detailed explanation.

Preliminary second-quarter 2017 measures of productivity and costs were announced for the nonfinancial corporate sector. Productivity increased 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017, as output increased 7.8 percent, and hours worked increased 3.1 percent; the increase in output was the largest since a 9.9-percent gain in the first quarter of 2012. Unit labor costs decreased 2.6 percent, as hourly compensation increased 1.9 percent and productivity increased 4.6 percent.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Productivity and Costs – Second Quarter 2017, Revised“, 7 Sep 2017 (08:30) More

flag_japan Japan update

GDP. Q2/2017

The Japanese economy advanced 0.6% in Q2/2017 compared to Q1/2017, below preliminary estimates of a 1.0% expansion. Business spending grew much slower than expected and private consumption rose slightly less than anticipated. Despite the downward revision, Japan has maintained a 6th straight quarter of growth, the longest run of economic expansion since 2006. On an annualised basis, the economy grew by 2.5%, much weaker than preliminary estimates of a 4.0% expansion but faster than a 1.5% growth in Q1/2017. GDP Growth Rate in Japan averaged 0.50% from 1980 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 3.20% in Q2/1990 and a record low of -4.80% in Q1/2009.TradingEconomics

Currency: USD/JPY

JPY movements
^ JPY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

Stockmarket: Nikkei 225

N225 movements
^ Nikkei N225 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance

flag_china China update

Currency: USD/CNY

CNY movements
^ CNY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

Stockmarket: CSI300

CSI300 movements
^ Shanghai CSI300 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance