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  • 2019-04-04 19:01

    LONDON (MNI) - The KPMG/REC UK Jobs report, published Friday, showed the quickest decline in permanent job appointments in March, offering further evidence of the fragility of the UK economy caused by Brexit chaos.

    -The index slumped back into contraction territory for the second time this year, down to 47.6 from 50.0 in February.

    - Temporary staff hiring also pulled back, to 52.9 in March from 54.3 in February, its second lowest level in two-and-a-half years.

    - Amid reports of delayed decision making among firms leading to fewer job vacancies, candidates were also less enthusiastic about looking for a new job.

    - Limited availability of candidates continued to put pressure on starters' salaries. However, rates of pay softened in March.

  • 2019-04-04 13:50

    By Yali N'Diaye

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Monthly employment is expected to be flat in March after stronger-than-expected gains of 55,900 in February and 66,800 in January, according to a MNI survey, with the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.8%. The Bloomberg consensus is at +10,000, with the unemployment rate also stable. The unemployment rate has been below 6% since September 2018.

    Ahead of the release on Friday, we outline important themes for particular attention.

    - Private jobs increased 31,800 in February, explaining much of the total 55,900 employment gain.

  • 2019-04-04 13:00

    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - U.S. interest rates may need to move a bit higher if growth picks back up to trend or higher, labor markets stay strong and inflation remains near 2%, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said Thursday.

    "I see no urgency to change our policy stance" given rates are at the bottom of the range of estimates for the neutral rate and "little sign that inflation is poised to rise appreciably despite the strength in labor markets," Mester said.

  • 2019-04-04 10:47

    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Canadian Ivey Purchasing Managers Index rebounded to 54.3 in March from 50.6 in February, with the gain suggesting stronger activity and softer prices increases, data released Thursday by the Richard Ivey School of Business showed.

    While the 3.7-point increase did not offset the cumulative decrease of 9.1 points over the previous two months, it was the largest advance since last October.

    Here are some key features of the report:

    - The rebound in the unadjusted index was even stronger than the headline figure, as the PMI climbed 8.7 points to to 57.6, returning above the 50.0 mark for the first time since last November despite a 2.5-point drop in the price index to 60.1.

    - The price index decreased 1.1 points to 58.7, suggest

  • 2019-04-04 07:50

    By Luke Heighton

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - The ECB's March package of monetary policy measures was necessary in light of the "sizeable moderation" in the pace of euro area growth, according to the official account of the Governing Council meeting.

    Here are the key points from the minutes:

    -- "A number of members expressed an initial preference for extending forward guidance through the end of the first quarter of 2020," to provide a "clear easing signal" and be more in line with market expectations of a first rate increase.

  • 2019-04-04 07:30

    By Kevin Kastner

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - There were 60,587 layoff intentions announced in March, down from 76,385 in February and roughly unchanged from the 60,357 level in March 2018, job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. said in a report released Thursday.

    However, the March total was enough to push the first quarter total to 190,410, the highest recorded for the first quarter of the year since 2009. There were 172,601 layoffs in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 140,379 layoffs in the first quarter of 2018.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    - Challenger noted that uncertainty about future and concerns about a downturn are key factors in the recent boost in layoffs. Firm restructuring was the top reason for layoffs so far 2019.

  • 2019-04-03 20:58

    TOKYO (MNI) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Thursday that the BOJ will patiently maintain its easy policy to achieve the 2% price target while keeping a close eye on associated risks.

    "Profits at regional banks are in a process of falling on the back of a prolonged low interest rates.

  • 2019-04-03 12:12

    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the risk of a no deal Brexit was "alarmingly high", speaking in an interview with Sky TV.

    No deal was the biggest risk to financial stability from the Brexit process, Carney said, adding that real progress had been made preparing for this eventuality.

    Referring to the risk of no deal, he said: "It's alarmingly high now."

    Last August he had described the risk as uncomfortably high.

    His comments came as opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was set to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May to try and find a way out of the Brexit impasse.

    --MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2223; email:

    [TOPICS: M$B$$$,M$E$$$,M$$BE$]

  • 2019-04-03 07:00

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday reported a very large surge in mortgage activity in the March 29 week, with activity up 18.6% on a further decline in mortgage rates.

    Here are some of the key features of the report:

    - The Refinance Index jumped by 39% to a three-year high, while the Purchase Index rose by 3%, indicating a preference by existing home owners to take advantage of falling mortgage rates to make updates to their current homes.

    - The 30-year average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.36% in the current week from 4.45% in the previous week. There were declines for jumbo, FHA, and 15-year mortgages as well.

  • 2019-04-03 01:12

    TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's estimated positive output gap resulting from tighter supply and firmer demand widened to 2.23 percentage points in the October-December quarter, up from 1.26 percentage points in July-September, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday.

    --It was the ninth straight quarter with a positive output gap, which is expected to increase pressure on consumer prices and inflation expectations, albeit with a lag of a few quarters.

    --The BOJ's estimate of the output gap, which is based on capital and labour stocks, was wider than the Cabinet Office's latest estimate at 0.0% percentage point, a figure based on revised Q4 GDP data of +0.5% on quarter, or an annualized rate of +1.9%.

    --The BOJ also said that Japan's potential growth rate for October-December 2018 was