Overseas Headlines – April 13, 2017


U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fall as labour market remains firm
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labour market remains strong despite a sharp slowdown in job growth in March. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 8, the Labour Department said on Thursday. That was the third straight weekly decline in claims and left them not too far from a 44-year low of 227,000 hit in February. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labour market, for 110 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labour market was smaller. The labour market is near full employment, with the unemployment rate close to a 10-year low of 4.5 percent.


High-rated euro zone yields hit multi-month lows after Trump comments
Some of the best-rated euro zone government bonds saw their yields plummet to multi-month lows on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would prefer to see interest rates kept lower in the world’s richest country. German, Dutch and Finnish government bond yields all followed a sharp move downwards in U.S. Treasury yields overnight and hit their lowest levels since at least the start of the year. U.S. Treasury yields turned lower along with the dollar and stocks on Wednesday after Trump said the dollar is getting too strong and that he would prefer the Federal Reserve keep interest rates low. Germany’s 10-year government bond yield hit its lowest level since early January at 0.181 pct, down 2 basis points on day. Dutch 10-year govt bond yields hit a five-month low of 0.277 pct, down 2 basis points on the day, and the Finnish equivalent dropped below 0.30 percent for the first time since November 9.


China cbank resumes cash injections as shadow banking crackdowns spur liquidity worries
China’s central bank resumed injections into the money market on Thursday after a near three-week absence, in an apparent bid to ease fears of a cash crunch in the financial system following massive drains from maturing debt instruments. The market has also been on edge after a flurry of moves by regulators to curb riskier lending activity, including a crackdown by the banking watchdog this week on misdemeanours with a focus on shadow banking. Some investors are predicting a sell-off in low-grade corporate bonds by lenders rushing to avoid penalties, which would further strain the financial system and rattle investors. After skipping open market operations for 13 consecutive sessions — saying liquidity was relatively high — the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) injected 110 billion yuan ($15.98 billion) into the interbank market via reverse bond repurchase agreements on Thursday. It added another 83.9 trillion yuan through its pledged supplementary lending facility (PSL).