UK retail sales unexpectedly surges 2.3% in April, hits 8-month high

A surprise surge in retail sales in April helped push the pound to its highest level in eight months as Britain’s consumers shrugged off concerns over falling living standards. Warm weather and the Easter holidays encouraged shoppers back onto UK high streets, with retail sales up 2.3% over the month according to the Office for National Statistics. It was more than double the 1% rise forecast by economists, and the biggest monthly rise since January 2016…

China’s economy picked up steam in the first quarter

The Chinese economy picked up steam in the first quarter. Gross domestic product grew 6.9% from a year earlier, according to official data published Monday, hitting its fastest pace since the third quarter of 2015. It’s an uptick from the 6.8% recorded in the fourth quarter of last year — and slightly above what some economists had been predicting…

U.S. created only 98,000 jobs in March but unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%

The economy added only 98,000 jobs in March, well below expectations, though the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate since May 2007, before the recession started. The jobless rate last month fell from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent because 472,000 more Americans found jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday…

U.S. job growth slowed sharply in March amid bad weather, retail sector layoffs

U.S. job growth slowed sharply in March amid continued layoffs in the retail sector, but a drop in the unemployment rate to a near 10-year low of 4.5 percent suggested labor market strength remained intact. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 98,000 jobs last month, the fewest since last May, the Labor Department said on Friday.
Job gains, which had exceeded 200,000 in January and February, were also held back by a slowdown in hiring at construction sites, factories and leisure and hospitality businesses, which had been boosted by unusually warm temperatures earlier in the year…

U.S. trade deficit drops 9.6% in February as exports jump to 2-year high

The U.S. trade deficit fell more than expected in February as exports increased to a two-year high and slowing domestic demand weighed on imports. The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade gap declined 9.6 percent to $43.6 billion. January’s trade deficit was revised slightly down to $48.2 billion from $48.5 billion.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap falling to $44.8 billion in February…

UK stepping back from threat to leave the EU without a trade deal

European diplomats based in the UK say the British government is stepping back from its threat to leave the EU without a trade deal if negotiations break down. In private, say diplomats, UK officials recognise the “havoc” that this would cause, and have come to regret the threat to turn the UK into a deregulated offshore tax haven, implicit in Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech in January, when she warned that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal”…

Stocks, dollar, U.S. treasury yields recover lost ground on hope Trump can bolster economy

Stocks, the dollar and U.S. long-dated Treasury yields slipped on Monday as investors fretted that U.S. President Donald Trump’s defeat over healthcare reform foreshadowed difficulties delivering other campaign promises, in particular fiscal stimulus. Trump’s failure to rally enough support from his own Republican party – which controls both houses of U.S. Congress – to repeal and replace Obamacare spurred a rush to safe-haven assets such as gold XAU=, the Japanese yen JPY= and the Swiss franc CHF=…

U.S. existing home sales decline 3.7% in February, fall from 10-year high

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in February amid a persistent shortage of houses on the market that is pushing up prices and sidelining prospective buyers.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales declined 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million units last month after hitting a 10-year high in January…

UK inflation jumps to 2.3% in February, hits 3-year high

Prices are zooming higher in Brexit Britain. U.K. inflation increased to 2.3% in February over the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics. That’s the highest level in more than three years. The pace of the increase, from 1.8% in January, also surprised analysts. The prices paid by consumers have risen steadily over the past year, marking a major turnaround from 2015 when prices were actually declining…

Oil prices slip to near 1-week low despite OPEC output cut extension

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with U.S. crude dropping to its lowest since November, as concerns about new supplies overshadowed the latest talk by OPEC that it was looking to extend output cuts beyond June. The decline also came ahead of the release of U.S. crude inventory data later Tuesday and on Wednesday that is expected to show a crude stock build of 2.8 million barrels for last week, according to a Reuters poll…

Trump expected to roll back some Dodd-Frank regulations, Fed hikes rates

It’s a good time to be a banker. President Trump is expected to roll back some of the financial regulations that were put into place during the Obama administration.
And the Federal Reserve is expected to give banks another gift Wednesday in the form of an interest rate hike. Higher rates tend to make loans to people and businesses more profitable for big banks…

Fed likely to hike rates again on strong job gains, rising inflation

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the second time in three months on Wednesday, encouraged by strong monthly job gains and confidence that inflation is finally rising to its target. A rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed’s latest two-day policy meeting is already baked into bond yields and financial markets overall, with investors putting the likelihood of such a move at 95 percent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program…

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