U.S. employment growth seen strong in December, wages up
U.S. employers likely maintained a solid pace of hiring in December while raising wages, putting the economy on a path to stronger growth and further interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve this year. Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 178,000 jobs last month after a similar rise in November, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is forecast ticking up to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent in November. Average hourly earnings are expected to rebound with a 0.3 percent rise, benefiting from a calendar quirk, after dipping 0.1 percent in November. That would push the year-on-year increase to 2.8 percent from 2.5 percent in November.
Modi’s Cash Ban to Be a Drag on India’s Exalted Pace of Growth
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is set to unveil its first assessment of how much his cash clampdown will slow one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies. India’s gross domestic product will grow 6.8 percent in the year through March, according to the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, with the Statistics Office’s forecast due at 5:30 p.m. in New Delhi on Friday. That’s the slowest pace in three years and belies projections of a pick up to 7.7 percent made before Modi’s Nov. 8 decision to cancel 86 percent of currency in circulation. While analysts are still debating about how long the effects of the cash shortages will linger, a deep slowdown that kills jobs may turn voters against Modi in key state elections over the next two months. Indian stocks saw the biggest outflows in Asia last quarter and global funds sold the most rupee-debt in at least five years as the cash ban and higher U.S. interest rates deterred investors.
Offshore yuan set for biggest weekly gain as China bears down on speculators
China’s offshore yuan pared some of its sharp gains racked up this week, but is still on course for its biggest weekly rise after Beijing was suspected of pushing up overnight borrowing costs to discourage bearish bets on the currency. Both onshore and offshore yuan have been rallying, driven predominantly by a blow-up in yuan borrowing costs offshore and tighter liquidity. The spread between the two spot rates widened to its highest since 2010. Chinese authorities are keen to deter speculation in the currency and traders suspect policymakers have sought to prevent it from weakening to the 7-per-dollar level, ahead of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Traders said the market had long held a strong "one-way" expectation of depreciation in the yuan and the rally in the currency over the week was the authorities’ attempt to alter such views.
Euro-Area Economic Confidence Jumps to Highest Since 2011
Euro-area economic confidence jumped to the highest since 2011 at the end of last year after the European Central Bank extended its stimulus and the recovery in the 19-nation region showed further signs of strengthening. An index of executive and consumer sentiment increased to 107.8 in December from a revised 106.6 in November, the European Commission in Brussels said on Friday. That’s the strongest reading since March 2011 and compares with a forecast of 106.8 in a Bloomberg survey. Economic momentum accelerated at the end of last year to the fastest in more than 5 1/2 years, according to a survey of purchasing managers, as the ECB extended quantitative easing to ensure a sustained pickup in inflation in a year of political uncertainty. While a surge in the cost of oil propelled consumer-price growth to the strongest in more than three years in December, underlying inflation pressures remained weak.