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90 seconds at 9 am: Dairy prices up again; bumper results for US banks; factory output rising; record EU unemployment; currency war warnings; NZ$1 = US$0.840, TWI - 75.4
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news that the Fonterra dairy auction this morning has seen the index hit 1,108.5, its highest level since December 2011.
It has risen in 10 of the last twelve auctions, and was up another 1.1% since the last one on the back of a 2.8% rise in whole milk powders.
However, this globaldairytrade data is all in US dollars - recalculating the results in NZ dollars does not give the same up trend. In fact, todays result is 1.2% lower than the previous auction in a NZ dollar basis. In US dollars, this index is level pegging with a year ago; in NZ dollars its down 5%.
In the US, two big banks, JPMorganChase and Goldman Sachs, have reported bumper results, beating analysts estimates. But given the reputation damage at JPMorgan, the CEO for that bank has seen his compensation cut sharply. Pay and bonuses at Goldman Sachs fell too.
Fundamental economic data in the US out overnight was very positive. Nationwide factory output was up 0.8% in December, inflation was flat, and inflation adjusted weekly earnings were up 0.6%. The factory output data was encouraging because we had had a few key regional surveys showing very mixed results. And this overall trend of good US data comes after recent positive news from retail sales and real estate activity.
It is unemployment that is still yet to start improving. It is steady at 7.8% according to the latest OECD data we received in an email statement. That same data shows euro-zone unemployment at 11.8%, a record high and growing.
And finally today, the issue of 'currency wars' is back as a talking point. The world is on the brink of a fresh currency war outbreak Russia has warned, and European policy makers joined Japan in bemoaning the economic cost of rising exchange rates.
The NZ$ starts today slightly higher at 84.0 USc, 79.6 AUc and the TWI is at 75.4.