U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest in Almost 44 Years
The fewest Americans in almost 44 years filed applications to collect unemployment benefits last week, indicating the job market continues to power forward. Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 223,000 in the week ended Feb. 25, the fewest since March 1973 and below the lowest projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists, a report from the Labour Department showed Thursday. The median forecast called for 245,000 applications. The weekly decline, which was the largest this year, shows employers are keeping dismissals at a minimum as demand remains steady and the labour market stays tight. Federal Reserve policy makers will take persistent job growth and falling separations into consideration at their monetary policy meeting later this month.
Inflation rebound keeps euro zone bonds on defensive
March 2 Euro zone government bond yields edged up on Thursday after inflation in the bloc hit 2 percent for the first time in four years last month, shooting past the European Central Bank’s inflation target. Europe’s benchmark German 10-year yield hit a 10-day high ahead of the data, buttressed by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month. Inflation in the 19-member euro area rose to 2 percent last month, from 1.8 percent in January, increasing pressure on the ECB, which targets inflation of below but close to 2 percent, to end loose monetary policy. Analysts said a pick-up in headline inflation had been expected after strong country data in recent days, limiting a bigger selloff in bond markets for now. German inflation soared to its highest level in four-and-a-half years in February, data on Wednesday showed.
China’s new banking regulator vows to tighten supervision, curb risks
China’s newly appointed banking regulator vowed on Thursday to strengthen supervision of the lending sector, underscoring Beijing’s determination to fend off financial risks and push reforms this year. "We will put the prevention of financial risks at a more prominent position to make sure there won’t be a systematic financial crisis," Guo Shuqing, making his first public appearance as chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), told scores of reporters packed into a briefing room. The 60-year-old Guo, in his third day on the job, said he is determined to remove "chaos" from the regulatory system to "safeguard" the health of China’s 232 trillion yuan ($33.7 trillion) banking sector for "the country and the people". "Different regulators, different laws, different rules have caused some chaos," Guo said, adding that CBRC is collaborating with other regulators to create a framework to close loopholes in rules for cross-market financial products.