The Week Ahead: China Economy Set To Slow

With the earnings season out of the way it is time for traders to turn their attention to economic matters for inspiration.  

The US will report those closely-watched Non-Farm Payroll numbers for February. Last month 227,000 jobs were created, which was considerably higher than expected.   This time around, analysts are expecting a number of around 180,000. So any figure more than this could set to tongues a wagging.  

Perhaps of greater interest could be the unemployment rate, which climbed to 4.8% in January. Over the last three months, the proportion of people who are able to work but are not employed has been on the rise.  

Chinese lawmakers will be gathering for their annual National People’s Congress. An address by Premier Li Keqiang has already set a target growth rate of 6.5% for the Chinese economy. More details could follow in the coming days, as to how this could be achieved.  

Away from the orchestrated love-in at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the latest Chinese trade numbers will be eyed for signs of a slowdown in the economy. In January, exports rebounded strongly, led by robust demand from the US. Imports were higher than expected too.  

The European Central Bank has another interest-rate decision to make. The ECB has left its benchmark refinancing rate unchanged eight times in a row. It is almost odds on that the rate will remain unchanged at 0% again next week.  

And finally, Singapore will report Retail Sales numbers for January. In December they only rose 0.4%, which was lower than in January. The numbers paint a mixed picture for the Singapore retail scene. Vehicle sales appear to be motoring and medical goods seem healthy. But food and beverage looked unappetising.

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