CHINA MANUFACTURING PMI SLOWS IN FEBRUARY - CAIXIN
The manufacturing sector in China continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Caixin showed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 50.9.
That's down from 51.5 in January, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Individually, output expanded modestly amid a softer rise in new work as the pandemic weighed on export sales and supplier performance.
Greater prices for raw materials and higher transport costs led to a further substantial rise in input costs. As a result, prices charged by manufacturers rose solidly as companies looked to partially pass on higher cost burdens to customers.
Business confidence improved on hopes for a global economic recovery in the months ahead.
The Reserve Bank of Australia retained its benchmark lending rate at 0.10 percent and the bond purchase program at $100 billion. Following the announcement, the aussie rose slightly against its major rivals.
The aussie was trading at 82.91 against the yen, 1.5492 against the euro, 0.7762 against the greenback and 1.0699 against the kiwi around 10:40 pm ET.
The services sector in China continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Caixin showed on Wednesday with a services PMI score of 51.5.
That's down from 52.0 in January, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Service providers indicated that business activity rose in line with new work. Total new orders increased modestly overall, with the rate of growth likewise easing to a ten-month low. While a number of firms commented on firmer client demand, there were reports that the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases globally had dampened sales growth.
Although employment fell, there seemed little pressure on operating capacities in February.
The survey also showed that the composite index fell from 52.2 in January to 51.7 in February.
The U.S. Dollar turned stronger against most of its peers on Thursday after the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell commented that he does not consider the sell-off in U.S. bonds as a "disorderly" move.
Continued optimism about a quick economic recovery aided dollar's surge. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield moved past 1.5% on Powell's comment that inflation could see a jump.
Speaking during The Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit, Powell acknowledged the reopening of the economy could "create some upward pressure on prices."
However, Powell suggested the increase in the annual rate of inflation would largely reflect comparisons to the low prices seen a year ago.
The Fed chief said he expects the increase in inflation to be "transitory" and stressed there is "a lot of ground to cover" before price growth reaches a sustainable level above the Fed's 2% target.
Data released by the Labor Department this morning showed initial jobless claims inched up to 745,000 in the week ended February 27th, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level of 736,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 750,000 from the 730,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed a bigger than expected increase in new orders for U.S. manufactured goods in the month of January.
The dollar index rose to 91.67, hitting a three-month high, and was last seen at 91.60, up more than 0.7% from previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar firmed up to $1.1972, gaining 0.75% from $1.2063.
The Pound Sterling weakened by nearly 0.4%, fetching $1.3896 per unit, compared to Wednesday's close of $1.3949.
The Yen was at 107.95 a dollar, about 0.85% down from previous close of 107.02 a dollar.
Against the Aussie, the dollar was stronger at 0.7724, gaining more than 0.6% from 0.7775.
The Swiss Franc weakened to 0.9293, losing more than 1% from 0.9199, while the Loonie was down at 1.2670, compared to 1.2655 on Wednesday.
AUSTRALIA NAB BUSINESS CONFIDENCE IMPROVES IN FEBRUARY
Australia's business confidence and conditions improved in February, survey results from the National Australia Bank showed Tuesday.
The business confidence index advanced to 16 from 12 in January. This was the highest reading since early 2010. The gain in confidence was broadly based, with all states and industries recording an increase - except retail.
With trading, profitability and employment conditions marking solid improvements, the business conditions index bounced to return to 15 points from 9 a month ago. A similar score was last seen in December and was the highest since August 2018.
Conditions remained very strong in retail, wholesale, mining and professional services, while construction, personal services and transport conditions continue to lag.
The survey continues to point to a robust recovery in the business sector, despite some tapering of government support beginning in late 2020, the NAB said. This is a positive sign for the economy, where ongoing strength in the business and household sector is needed to sustain the recovery.
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