U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall to Lowest Since November
Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly declined last week to an almost three-month low, echoing a vibrant job market. Jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 234,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, a report from the Labour Department showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 249,000. The average number of applications filed over the past four weeks reached the lowest point since 1973. The latest results extend a trend of historically low claims, with applications staying below 300,000 in the longest streak since 1970. A shortage of skilled workers is prompting companies to hold on to existing employees while continuing to add more workers to help fulfil demand.
Germany’s 2016 trade surplus sets record
Germany’s trade surplus climbed to a record high in 2016, official data showed on Thursday, days after U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser accused Berlin of exploiting a "grossly undervalued" euro to its advantage. The surplus is likely to worsen tension between Washington and Berlin, which is trying to safeguard global free trade this year during its presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies, adopting the motto "Shaping an Interconnected World". Germany’s trade surplus for 2016 rose to 252.9 billion euros ($270.05 billion), surpassing the previous high of 244.3 billion euros in 2015, the Federal Statistics Office said.
Brazil could submit bill to simplify taxes in April -minister
Brazil’s Presidential Chief of Staff, Eliseu Padilha, said on Thursday the government could submit a bill in April to simplify the country’s tax system, as part of broad economic reforms to kindle growth after a deep recession. Padilha, speaking to reporters, added he was confident the judiciary would confirm the legality of the appointment of Wellington Moreira Franco to a ministerial post. A federal judge suspended on Wednesday the nomination of Moreira Franco, a close ally to President Michel Temer, after he was reportedly named in a massive corruption scandal.