Thu 19 Apr 2018


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In Portfolioticker today

read_this Hey Jarvis, how did we go today?

Today at the stock market

bull/bearWall Street’s three major indexes closed lower on Thursday, with tobacco stocks leading a tumble in consumer staples while concerns about smartphone demand hurt the technology sector and rising bond yields and earnings helped financials rebound.

  • The S&P 500 index fell 15.51 points, or 0.57%, to 2,693.13.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 83.18 points, or 0.34 percent, to 24,664.89.
  • The Nasdaq Composite index fell 57.18 points, or 0.78%, to 7,238.06.
  • Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.71-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
  • The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 87 new highs and 52 new lows.
  • On U.S. exchanges 6.52 billion shares changed hands, compared with the 6.98 billion-share average for the last 20 sessions.

The market pared some losses late in the session after Bloomberg reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The report cited two unnamed people familiar with the matter. More: Bloomberg

A warning from Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker and an Apple Inc supplier, on soft demand for smartphones and on the industry’s growth this year sparked a tumble in chip stocks and made Apple the S&P’s second biggest weight. Apple shares fell 2.8%, making it the biggest drag on the S&P 500 on the day, as a raft of analysts said TSMC’s prediction of softer smartphone sales was driven chiefly by concern about demand for the company’s iPhones. TSMC’s U.S.-listed shares closed down 5.7%, while the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index fell 4.3%.

The S&P consumer staples sector was the benchmark’s biggest drag, closing down 3.2%, led by Philip Morris’ 15.6 percent slide. Altria, the parent of Philip Morris USA, fell 6%. Along with weak results from Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble Co, defensive sectors such as consumer staples were also hurt by a rise in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields, which helped bank stocks.

“It’s pretty much dictated by the move in the bond market,” said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco.

When yields are high, investors favor bonds over defensive sectors such as consumer staples and real estate, which promise high dividends and slow, predictable growth. But banks benefit because high interest rates can boost their profits.

“The sectors really tell the story. Financials are up because they do better in a higher rate environment,” said Richard Sichel, senior investment strategist at The Philadelphia Trust Company.

Procter & Gamble shares were down 3.3% after it said shrinking retailer inventories and higher commodities and transportation costs had squeezed its margins.

A 1.5% rise in the S&P’s financial sector was supported by a 7.6% rise in American Express Co shares due to strong earnings as well as climbing yields.

But rising bond yields hurt homebuilders and the PHLX housing index fell 2.7%.

Of the 52 companies among the S&P 500 that have reported first-quarter earnings through Wednesday, 78.8% topped profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.Reuters

Market indices

Market indices
^ S&P500 Index today (mouseover for 12 month view) [Chart: Google Finance]

Index Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 17 YTD
S&P 500 SPX (INX) 2,693.13 -0.58% 2,673.61 +0.73%
DJIA INDU 24,664.89 -0.34% 24,719.22 -0.22%
NASDAQ IXIC 7,238.06 -0.79% 6,903.39 +4.84%

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 17 YTD
USD-denominated Index USD 3.247 -1.38% 3.068 +5.86%
Valuation Rate USD/AUD 0.77812 -0.67% 0.78528 -0.92%
AUD-denominated Index AUD 4.175 -0.73% 3.909 +6.82%

Portfolio stock prices

Stock Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 17 YTD
Alphabet A GOOGL $1,089.45 +1.30% $1,053.00 +3.46%
Alphabet C GOOG $1,087.70 +1.45% $1,045.65 +4.02%
Apple AAPL $172.80 -2.84% $169.23 +2.10%
Amazon AMZN $1,556.91 +1.90% $1,169.54 +33.12%
Ebay EBAY $42.11 +0.86% $37.76 +11.52%
Facebook FB $168.10 +1.04% $176.46 -4.74%
PayPal PYPL $79.68 -0.83% $73.61 +8.24%
Twitter TWTR $31.54 +0.00% $24.01 +31.36%
Visa V $123.96 -0.42% $114.02 +8.71%
VMware VMW $135.59 -1.42% $125.32 +8.19%

Selected Tech News Headlines

  • Apple Jitters Mount on Concerns of Waning Smartphone Demand: “Apple Inc. and a slew of chipmakers fell Thursday after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the leading chip manufacturer for the smartphone industry, issued a growth forecast that rekindled concerns that the handset boom is waning. Taiwan Semiconductor on Thursday predicted that sales for the current quarter will be a billion dollars less than analysts had projected. That followed a report by the International Monetary Fund earlier this week saying smartphone shipments declined for the first time, a reminder that the best days may be in the past. Apple shares slipped 2.7% as of 2:55 p.m. in New York., while U.S.-traded shares of Hsinchu, Taiwan-based TSMC fell 6.4%. TSMC is the world’s foremost manufacturer of chips designed by other companies, and its earnings are a key indicator of demand in a world where chipmakers and electronics manufacturers increasingly outsource costly production. The company produces the main semiconductor components of the iPhone and many of the world’s other best-selling smartphones. Other chip and chip-equipment stocks fell on the news. Applied Materials Inc., which sells TSMC production machinery, fell as much as 7.2%. Broadcom Inc., another TSMC customer and a major supplier of phone parts, fell as much as 3.6%.” Bloomberg
  • Amazon Prime’s Membership and Retention Are Higher Than Costco’s: “Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said the e-commerce giant has exceeded 100 million paid Prime subscribers and will continue to invest to meet “ever-rising” customer expectations. With a base that tops nine-digits, Prime now has more members than Costco Wholesale Corp. Costco last reported having 90 million members in its fiscal 2017 annual report. Analysts have pegged Prime’s retention rate at over 90 percent. Costco, known for its members’ loyalty, has renewal rates that have hovered in the upper 80s since the warehouse chain began disclosing the figure in 2006.” Bloomberg
  • Amazon Web Services launches ‘blockchain templates’: “Amazon.com wants to make it easier for developers to create projects based on the blockchain technology underlying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company’s cloud computing division launched “AWS Blockchain Templates” on Thursday. The product gives users pre-set blockchain frameworks that support two versions of the technology: Ethereum and the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric.” CNBC

Currencies: 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) rose 0.5%, biggest rise in 3 weeks.
The EUR fell 0.2% to USD 1.2351.
Britain’s GBP fell 0.8% to USD 1.4090.
japan’s JPY fell 0.1% to 107.32 per USD.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose 4 basis points to 2.91%, the highest in eight weeks.

Germany’s 10-year yield rose 7 basis points to 0.60%, the biggest gain since 10 jan 2018.
Britain’s 10-year yield rose 11 basis points to 1.520%, the highest in 4 weeks.
Bloomberg

AUD

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

Oil and Gas Futures

Oil prices on Thursday hit highs not seen since 2014, built on the ongoing drawdowns in global supply and as Saudi Arabia looks to push prices higher, though U.S. crude gave back gains in the afternoon to finish lower.

A global oil glut has been virtually eliminated, according to a joint OPEC and non-OPEC technical panel, two sources familiar with the matter said, thanks in part to an OPEC-led supply cut deal in place since Jan 2017.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled 18 cents lower at $68.29/barrel after earlier hitting $69.56/barrel, their highest since 28 Nov 2014. WTI has gained nearly 8% in the last 8 days of trading.

Brent crude futures ended at $73.78/barrel, up 30 cents. The global benchmark touched $74.75/barrel, its highest since 27 Nov 2014 – the day OPEC decided to pump as much as it could to defend market share.

“Overall the supply-demand equation is fairly balanced. It depends on expectations at this point – bullishness may be stalling out, and people are asking, ‘What’s the next leg; you need to see the next signal, whether it’s a bullish or bearish signal.’,” said Anthony Scott, managing director at BTU Analytics in Denver.

Traders said speculators continue to bet on further upside, expecting potential supply disruptions and further drawdowns, driven by strong demand. More than 830,000 front-month contracts changed hands on CME Group’s New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, compared with a daily average of about 615,000.

Investors are eyeing the $70 level on U.S. crude, but said that would likely face resistance, particularly as the speed and magnitude of the recent rally would augur for selling pressure before long. “I do think we could see $70 pretty quick, but I want to caution that maybe we’ll see the market level out a little bit in a few weeks,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Joint Technical Committee, meeting this week in Jeddah, found that inventories in developed nations in March were at just 12 million barrels above the five-year average, according to a source familiar with the matter.

However, Oman’s oil minister, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, said he still thinks the oil market is oversupplied.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would be happy for crude to reach $80/barrel or even $100/barrel, viewed as a sign that Riyadh will not seek changes to the supply pact. Also supporting prices is the possibility that the United States might reimpose sanctions on Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, which could result in further supply reductions.Reuters

Futures prices

Prices are as at 15:49 EDT

  • NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI): $68.20/barrel -0.39% Chart
  • ICE (London) Brent North Sea Crude: $73.72/barrel +0.33% Chart
  • NYMEX Natural gas futures: $2.67/MMBTU -2.67% Chart

flag_australia AU: Labour Force. Mar 2018

"Collins St, 5p.m.", John Brack (1955) National Gallery of Victoria

“Collins St, 5p.m.”, John Brack (1955) National Gallery of Victoria

Press Release Extract au_jobs]

NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Trend Estimates

Australia’s trend estimate of employment increased by 14,000 persons to 12,485,800 in March 2018, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 3,500 persons to 735,000;
  • the unemployment rate increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 5.6 per cent;
  • the participation rate increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 65.7 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 62.0 per cent.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs increasing 0.2 million hours (0.01%) to 1,733.7 million hours.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 376,100 persons (or 3.1 per cent), which is above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 1.9 per cent. Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.9 percentage points to 62.0 per cent.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 14,000 persons between February and March 2018. This represents an increase of 0.11 per cent, which was below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16 per cent, and the lowest monthly growth rate observed since December 2016.

Trend full-time employment increased by 1,200 persons between February and March 2018, and part-time employment increased by 12,900 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 270,100 more persons employed full-time and 106,100 more persons employed part time. This compositional shift led to a decrease in the part-time share of employment of 0.1 percentage points over the past 12 months, from 31.8 per cent to 31.7 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 0.2 million hours (or 0.01 per cent) in March 2018, to 1,733.7 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 2.6 per cent over the past year, slightly below the increase in employed persons (3.1 per cent). As a result, the average hours worked per employed person decreased slightly to 138.9 hours per month, or around 32.0 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 5.6 per cent in March 2018, with the number of unemployed persons increasing by 3,500 to 735,000 persons. Over the past year the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 6,700 persons.

The trend participation rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to a historical high of 65.7 per cent in March 2018, and was 0.8 percentage points higher than in March 2017. Both the male and female participation rates remained constant at 70.9 and 60.6 per cent for the second month in a row, with the female participation rate remaining at an historical high.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force has increased by 369,500 persons (2.9 per cent). This rate of increase is above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (325,500 persons, or 1.6 per cent).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population, increased by 0.1 percentage points to a historical high of 78.1 per cent in March 2018 after February figures were revised. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 percentage points, at 82.9 and 73.3 per cent, continuing the long term convergence of male and female participation.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased by 0.1 percentage point to 67.9 per cent in March 2018. The unemployment rate for this group increased by 0.1 percentage points to 12.5 per cent in March 2018 and decreased by 0.5 percentage points over the year.

The trend series smooths the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

  • Employment increased 4,900 to 12,484,100. Full-time employment decreased 19,900 to 8,514,100 and part-time employment increased 24,800 to 3,970,000.
  • Unemployment decreased 2,400 to 730,200. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 9,300 to 522,400 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work decreased 11,700 to 207,800.
  • Unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5%.
  • Participation rate decreased by 0.1 pts to 65.5%.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 4.5 million hours (0.26%) to 1,740.4 million hours.

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 4,900 persons from February to March 2018 (following a revised decrease of 6,300 persons the preceding month). The underlying composition of the net change was a decrease of 19,900 persons in full-time employment and a 24,800 increase in part-time employment, which followed similarly sized compositional shifts in February (a 20,100 increase and a 26,400 decrease respectively). Since March 2017, full-time employment has increased by 226,900 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 140,200 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.5 million hours (or 0.3 per cent) in March 2018 to 1,740.4 million hours. This follows an increase of 22.0 million hours (or 1.3 per cent) from January to February 2018.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 61.9 per cent in March 2018, and increased by 0.8 percentage points from the same time last year.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5 per cent for the third consecutive month in March 2018. The participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 65.5 per cent.

STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

Trend Estimates

In March 2018, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except for Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory where employment decreased by 700 and 400 people respectively. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 4,700 persons), followed by Victoria (up 4,100 persons) and Queensland (up 3,200 persons).

Similarly, over the past year, increases in employment were also observed in all states and territories except Northern Territory (down 3,100 persons or 2.2 per cent). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 138,900 persons), Queensland (up 101,500 persons), Victoria (up 79,700 persons) and Western Australia (up 25,700 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Queensland at 4.3 per cent, followed by the Australian Capital Territory at 3.9 per cent, and New South Wales at 3.6 per cent.

The monthly trend unemployment rate increased in Western Australia by 0.2 percentage points to 6.4 per cent and by 0.1 percentage points in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to 4.9 and 4.1 per cent respectively. Victoria and the Northern Territory experienced 0.1 percentage point decreases in trend unemployment rates to 5.5 and 3.9 per cent respectively. The monthly trend unemployment rate remained unchanged in Queensland and Tasmania (both 6.0 per cent) and South Australia (5.9 per cent).

The largest increase in the monthly trend participation rate was in Northern Territory (up 0.2 percentage points), followed by New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia (all up 0.1 percentage points). Victoria and Australian Capital Territory recorded decreases of 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points respectively.

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 26,400 persons), followed by Tasmania (up 800 persons) and Western Australia (up 700 persons). The largest decrease was in New South Wales (down 6,500 persons), followed by South Australia (down 6,100) and Queensland (down 1,600 persons).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Western Australia (up 0.8 percentage points), followed by New South Wales (up 0.2 percentage points) and Tasmania (up 0.1 percentage points). South Australia,Victoria and Queensland recorded decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 0.6, 0.4, and 0.1 percentage points respectively.

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in Western Australia (up 0.6 percentage points to 68.7 per cent) followed by Tasmania (up 0.2 percentage points to 61.2 per cent) and Victoria (up 0.1 percentage points to 65.6 per cent). South Australia’s seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased 0.9 percentage points to 62.4 per cent, followed by Queensland, down 0.2 percentage points to 66.0 per cent.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “6202.0 Labour Force. Mar 2018“, 19 Apr 2018 More

flag_europe EU: Balance of Payments. Feb 2018

Press Release Extract [eu_bop]

Key points:

  • In February 2018 euro area current account recorded surplus of €35.1 billion.
  • Net acquisitions of assets of €56 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €9 billion in combined direct and portfolio investment of financial account.

eu_bop_20180419

Current account

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €35.1 billion in February 2018. This reflected surpluses for goods (€27.9 billion), services (€8.9 billion) and primary income (€6.3 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€8.0 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in February 2018 recorded a surplus of €408.1 billion (3.7% of euro area GDP), compared with €372.6 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to February 2017. This development was due to an increase in the surplus for services (from €39.1 billion to €101.9 billion), which was partially offset by decreases in the surpluses for primary income (from €115.8 billion to €94.7 billion) and goods (from €358.7 billion to €355.5 billion), as well as an increase in the deficit for secondary income (from €141.0 billion to €143.9 billion).

Financial account

In February 2018 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €56 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €9 billion.

Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €30 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net investments in equity (€25 billion) and debt instruments (€5 billion). Direct investment liabilities increased by €25 billion as a result of net investments in euro area debt instruments (€18 billion) and equity (€7 billion) by non-euro area residents.

As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net purchases of foreign securities amounting to €27 billion in February 2018. These net purchases were in the form of long-term debt securities (€20 billion) and short-term debt securities (€8 billion), while euro area residents disposed of equity (€1 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities decreased by €16 billion as a result of non-euro area residents’ net sales/amortisations of euro area long-term debt securities (€14 billion) and equity (€8 billion), which were partly offset by net acquisitions of euro area short-term debt securities (€6 billion).

The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) was balanced.

Other investment recorded net acquisitions of assets amounting to €36 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €69 billion. The net increase in assets was mainly due to MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€32 billion) and, to a lesser extent, to other sectors (€6 billion). These changes were partly offset by a decrease in the net assets of the general government (€1 billion). The net increase in liabilities was widespread across sectors, but was mainly attributable to the Eurosystem (€29 billion) and MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€21 billion) and, to a lesser extent, to other sectors (€16 billion) and the general government (€3 billion).

In the 12 months to February 2018, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €697 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €300 billion, compared with €935 billion and €325 billion respectively in the 12 months to February 2017.

In direct investment, there was a decrease in the net investments of euro area residents abroad and a shift to net disinvestment of non-residents from the euro area. The net acquisitions of equity by euro area residents dropped from €364 billion to €183 billion and transactions in debt instruments changed from net acquisitions of €126 billion to disinvestments of €106 billion. On the liabilities side, transactions in euro area equities by non-residents shifted from net investments of €262 billion to a net disinvestment of €183 billion, while intercompany lending recorded an increase in net investments from €48 billion to €159 billion.

Concerning portfolio investment, the net purchases of foreign equity by euro area residents increased from €74 billion to €197 billion. On the liabilities side, the net purchases of euro area equity by non-euro area residents increased from €188 billion to €444 billion.

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area monetary financial institutions (MFIs) decreased by €100 billion in the 12 months to February 2018, compared with a decrease of €217 billion in the 12 months to February 2017. This was mainly due to the net developments in direct and portfolio investment.

In February 2018 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €667.8 billion from €663.1 billion in the previous month (see Table 3). This increase (€4.7 billion) was mainly due to positive exchange rate changes (€6.2 billion), which were partly offset by negative price changes (€1.5 billion).

European Central Bank, “Euro area monthly balance of payments (February 2018)“, 19 Apr 2018 More

flag_usa US: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report

Press Release Extract [us_ui]

In the week ending April 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 232,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,250, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 230,000.

Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.

us_ui

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending April 7, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 7 was 1,863,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 7,000 from 1,871,000 to 1,878,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,858,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 1,850,250 to 1,852,000.

us_ue

Unadjusted Data

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 225,545 in the week ending April 14, a decrease of 6,180 (or -2.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 5,134 (or -2.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 225,864 initial claims in the comparable week in 2017.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent during the week ending April 7, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 1,926,858, a decrease of 74,700 (or -3.7 percent) from the preceding week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 60,084 (or -3.0 percent) from the previous week. A year earlier the rate was 1.5 percent and the volume was 2,042,394.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending March 31 was 2,034,634, a decrease of 503 from the previous week. There were 2,177,513 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2017.
Extended benefits were payable in Alaska and the Virgin Islands during the week ending March 31.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 795 in the week ending April 7, an increase of 212 from the prior week. There were 697 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 98 from the preceding week.

There were 10,678 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending March 31, an increase of 806 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 7,777, a decrease of 229 from the prior week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 31 were in the Virgin Islands (6.0), Alaska (3.3), Connecticut (2.6), New Jersey (2.6), Puerto Rico (2.6), California (2.3), Massachusetts (2.3), Pennsylvania (2.3), Rhode Island (2.3), Illinois (2.1), Minnesota (2.1), and Montana (2.1).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 7 were in New Jersey (+5,567), Texas (+3,505), New York (+3,287), Arizona (+2,346), and California (+1,942), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-1,134), Michigan (-570), Illinois (-481), Idaho (-292), and Maryland (-227).

Employment and Training Administration, “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report“, 19 Apr 2018 (08:30) More

flag_usa US: GDP by Industry Q4/2017 and year 2017 (advance estimate)

Press Release Extract [us_gdp]

Durable goods manufacturing; construction; and professional, scientific, and technical services were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. According to gross domestic product (GDP) by industry statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 16 of 22 industry groups contributed to the overall 2.9 percent increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter.
us_gdp1_20180419

  • For the durable goods manufacturing industry group, real value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—increased 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 7.5 percent in the third quarter. The fourth quarter growth primarily reflected increases in motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts; computer and electronic products; and fabricated metal products.
  • Construction increased 8.5 percent, after decreasing 1.2 percent. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2016.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services increased 4.2 percent, after increasing 2.7 percent. The fourth quarter growth primarily reflected an increase in miscellaneous professional, scientific, and technical services, which includes accounting and tax preparation services, and scientific research and development services.

us_gdp2_20180419
Other highlights:

  • Finance and insurance decreased 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 14.7 percent in the third quarter. The decrease was primarily attributed to a decrease in Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related activities, as well as a decrease in securities, commodity contracts, and investments.
  • Information services decreased 0.2 percent, after increasing 9.0 percent. This decrease was primarily attributed to broadcasting and telecommunications.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting decreased 1.7 percent, after decreasing 2.4 percent.

Gross output by industry

Economy-wide, real gross output—principally a measure of an industry’s sales or receipts, which includes sales to final users in the economy (GDP) and sales to other industries (intermediate inputs)—increased 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter. This reflected increases of 7.8 percent for the private goods-producing sector, 4.1 percent for the private services-producing sector, and 1.5 percent for the government sector. Overall, 18 of 22 industry groups contributed to the increase in real gross output.

us_gdp3_20180419

  • Real gross output for construction increased 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter, after decreasing 5.5 percent in the third quarter. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2016.
  • Durable goods manufacturing increased 9.0 percent, after increasing 6.8 percent. This industry has increased for six consecutive quarters.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services increased 6.1 percent, after decreasing 1.3 percent.

2017 GDP by industry

Real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2017 (that is, from the 2016 annual level to the 2017 annual level). The private goods- and services-producing sectors, as well as the government sector, contributed to the increase. Growth was widespread, with 20 of 22 industry groups contributing to the increase. Real estate and rental and leasing, health care and social assistance, and durable goods manufacturing were the leading contributors to the increase in real GDP.

  • For the real estate and rental and leasing industry, real value added increased 1.8 percent in 2017, after increasing 2.4 percent in 2016. This was the eighth consecutive annual increase.
  • Health care and social assistance increased 3.0 percent, after increasing 2.4 percent, primarily reflecting an increase in ambulatory health care services.
  • Durable goods manufacturing, which includes computer and electronic products, machinery, and fabricated metal products, increased 3.4 percent, after decreasing 0.2 percent. This was the largest increase in durable goods manufacturing since 2011.

Bureau of Economic Analysis, “GDP by Industry Q4/2017 and year 2017 (advance estimate)“, 19 Apr 2018 (08:30) More

flag_japan Japan update

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 225 movements over the past week [Chart: Google Finance]

flag_china China update

National Real Estate Development and Sales. Q1 2018

1. The completion of real estate investment

The total investment in real estate development in the first three months of 2018 was 2,129.1 billion yuan, a nominal increase of 10.4 percent year-on-year, the growth rate increased 0.5 percentage points over the first two months of 2018. Of which, the investment in residential buildings was 1,470.5 billion yuan, up by 13.3 percent, 1 percentage point higher, accounted for 69.1 percent of real estate development investment.

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In the first three months, the real estate investment in eastern region stood at 1,227.7 billion yuan, up by 11.8 percent year-on-year, and the growth rate was up by 0.2 percentage points over the first two months in 2018; the central region stood at 444.3 billion yuan, went up by 15.0 percent, and the growth rate increased 1.6 percentage points ; western region stood at 412.2 billion yuan, up by 2.9 percent, down by 0.8 percentage points; northeastern region reached 44.9 billion yuan, increased 1.3 percent, the pace of the first two months of 2018 was a decrease of 15.3 percent.

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In the first three months, the floor space under construction by the real estate development enterprises accounted for 6,465.56 million square meters, a year-on-year increase of 1.5 percent, stayed the same level over the first two months in 2018. Of which, the floor space of residential building construction area was 4,415.40 million square meters, up by 1.9 percent. The floor space started this year was 346.15 millions square meters, up by 9.7 percent, and the growth rate was up by 6.8 percentage points. The floor space of residential buildings started in the year amounted to 255.31 million square meters, up by 12.2 percent. The floor space of buildings completed stood at 207.09 million square meters, went down by 10.1 percent, and the pace of decline rate narrowed 2 percentage points. Of which, the floor space completed of residential buildings stood at 141.98 million square meters, went down by 14.0 percent.

In the first three months, the land area purchased by the real estate development enterprises totaled 38.02 million square meters, was up by 0.5 percent year-on-year, and the growth rate was down by 1.2 percentage points over the first two months in 2018. The total transaction of land reached 163.4 billion yuan, increased 20.3 percent, and the pace of growth rate went up by 20.3 percentage points.

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2. Sales of Commercial Buildings

In the first three months, the floor space of commercial buildings sold stood at 300.88 million square meters, a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent, and was down by 0.5 percentage points over the first two months in 2018. Of the total, the floor space of residential buildings increased 2.5 percent, office building decreased 2.8 percent, and buildings for business use increased 9.6 percent. The sales of commercial buildings amounted to 2,559.7 billion yuan, an increase of 10.4 percent, the rate of growth went down by 4.9 percentage points. Specifically, the sales of residential buildings went up by 11.4 percent, office buildings was down by 8.2 percent, buildings for commercial business increased 7.9 percent.

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In the first three months, the sale of floor space of commercial buildings in eastern region amounted to 124.91 million square meters, the growth rate decreased 7.3 percent year-on-year, the pace of decline rate expanded 1.8 percentage points over the first two months in 2018. The amount of sales stood at 1,412.6 billion yuan, went down by 0.9 percent, that of the first two months was an increase of 6.7 percent. The sale of floor space of commercial buildings in central region amounted to 82.64 million square meters, increased 14.6 percent, and the pace of increase went up by 3.9 percentage points. The amount of sales stood at 531.9 billion yuan, increased 28.2 percent, and the pace of increase expanded by 3.1 percentage points. The sale of floor space of commercial buildings in western region amounted to 83.76 million square meters, increased 12.0 percent year-on-year down by 1 percentage point over the first two months in 2018.The amount of sales stood at 543.0 billion yuan, went up by 29.0 percent, the growth rate went down by 1.2 percentage points. The sale of floor space of commercial buildings in northeastern region amounted to 9.57 million square meters, rose by 8.5 percent, the growth rate went down 6.7 percentage points over the last nine months of 2018. The amount of sales stood at 7.23 billion yuan, went up by 26.6 percent, the growth rate went down by 8.6 percentage points.

At the end of March, the floor space of commercial housing for sale reached 573.29 million square meters, decreased 11.38 million square meters compared with that at the end of February in 2018. Of which, the residential buildings for sale decreased 9.54 million square meters, office buildings increased 0.43 million square meters, buildings for business use went down by 2.03 million square meters.

3. Sources of Funds for Real Estate Development Enterprises

In the first three months, the sources of funds for real estate development enterprises reached 3,677.0 billion yuan, up by 3.1 percent year-on-year, narrowed 1.7 percentage points over the first two months in 2018. Specifically, the domestic loans stood at 695.7 billion yuan, increased 0.9 percent, foreign investment stood at 1.6 billion yuan, an decrease of 78.4 percent, self-raising funds stood at 1,144.9 billion yuan, up by 5.1 percent, deposits and advance payments totaled 1,113.0 billion yuan, increased 11.2 percent, personal mortgage loans totaled 516.0 billion yuan, down by 6.8 percent.

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4. National Real Estate Climate Index

In March, the national real estate climate index (the value released from this year was after revised by the based period) was 101.50, down by 0.16 month-on-month.

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National Bureau of Statistics of China, “National Real Estate Development and Sales. Q1 2018“, 19 Apr 2018 More

Sales Prices of Residential Buildings in 70 Medium and Large-sized Cities. Mar 2018

I. The Sales Prices of Newly Constructed Commercial Residential Buildings

The sales prices of newly constructed commercial residential buildings of 10 cities decreased, that of 55 cities increased, and that of 5 cities remained at the same level month-on-month. For the price changes, the highest increase was 2.1 percent, and the lowest was down by 0.4 percent.

The sales prices of newly constructed commercial residential buildings of 10 cities decreased, and that of 60 cities increased year-on-year. For the price changes, the highest increase was 12.3 percent, and the lowest was down by 2.3 percent.

II. The Sales Prices of Second-Hand Residential Buildings

The sales prices of second-hand residential buildings of 7 cities decreased, that of 59 cities increased, and that of 4 cities remained at the same level month-on-month. For the price changes, the highest increase was 2.1 percent, and the lowest was down by 0.6 percent.

The sales prices of second-hand residential buildings of 7 cities decreased, and that of 63 cities increased year-on-year. For the price changes, the highest increase was 13.8 percent, and the lowest was down by 6.8 percent.

National Bureau of Statistics of China, “GDP by Industry Q4/2017 and year 2017 (advance estimate)“, 19 Apr 2018 More

Total Retail Sales of Consumer Goods. Mar 2018

In March 2018, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 2,919.4 billion yuan, up by 10.1 percent year-on-year (nominal growth rate. The real growth rate was 8.6 percent. The follows are nominal growth rates if there’s no additional explanation). Of the total, the retail sales of consumer goods of units above designated size was 1, 183.2 billion yuan, increased 9.0 percent.

From January to March, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 9027.5 billion yuan, up by 9.8 percent year-on-year. Of the total, the retail sales of consumer goods of units above designated size was 3,494.1 billion yuan, increased 8.5 percent.

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In terms of different areas, the retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas was 2,505.0 billion yuan in March, up by 9.9 percent year-on-year; while that in rural areas was 414.3 billion yuan, up by 10.9 percent year-on-year. From January to March, the retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas was 7,709.6 billion yuan, up by 9.7 percent year-on-year; while that in rural areas was 1,317.9 billion yuan, up by 10.7 percent.

In terms of different consumption patterns, the catering services in March gained 309.9 billion yuan, up by 10.6 percent, year-on-year. The retail sales of goods gained 2,609.5 billion yuan, up by 10.0 percent. From January to March, the catering services gained 971.1 billion yuan, up by 10.3 percent, year-on-year; the retail sales of goods gained 8,056.4 billion yuan, up by 9.8 percent.

The retail sales amount of goods of units above designated size in March was 1,111.3 billion yuan, up by 8.9 percent year-on-year. From January to March, the retail sales amount of goods of units above designated size was 3,275.5 billion yuan, up by 8.6 percent year-on-year.

From January to March, the national online retail sales of goods and services was 1,931.8 billion yuan, increased 35.4 percent year-on-year. Of which, the online retail sales of physical goods was 1,456.7 billion yuan, increased 34.4 percent, accounting for 16.1 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods; of the online retail sales of physical goods, food, clothing and other commodities went up by 46.5, 33.9 and 33.3 percent respectively.

From January to March, of total retail sales, the supermarket, store, pro shop and exclusive shop of units above designated size went up by 7.7 percent, 5.5 percent, 9.5 percent and 9.6 percent respectively.

National Bureau of Statistics of China, “Total Retail Sales of Consumer Goods in March 2018“, 19 Apr 2018 More

Preliminary Accounting Results of GDP for the First Quarter of 2018

According to relevant basic information and national accounting methods, the preliminary accounting results of GDP for the first quarter of 2018 are as follows:

Preliminary Accounting Results: Q1/2018 Absolute Value Q1/2018 : Q1/2017
Gross Domestic Products CNY 19,878.3 bn 6.8%
Primary Industry CNY 890.4 bn 3.2%
Secondary Industry CNY 7,745.1 bn 6.3%
Tertiary Industry CNY 11,242.8 bn 7.5%
Farming, Forestry, Animal Husbandry, and Fishery CNY 933.3 bn 3.4%
Industry CNY 6,811.7 bn 6.5%
#Manufacturing CNY 5,909.9 bn 6.7%
Construction CNY 958.3 bn 5.4%
Wholesale and Retail Trades CNY 1,944.8 bn 6.8%
Transport, Storage, and Post CNY 886.1 bn 7.7%
Accommodation and Restaurants CNY 374.7 bn 7.1%
Finance CNY 1,782.4 bn 2.9%
Real Estate CNY 1,384.5 bn 4.9%
Information Transmission, Software and Services CNY 814.2 bn 29.2%
Renting and Leasing Activities and Business Services CNY 577.5 bn 10%
Others CNY 3,410.8 bn 6.1%

National Bureau of Statistics of China, “Preliminary Accounting Results of GDP for the First Quarter of 2018“, 19 Apr 2018 More

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