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August 8, 2016

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Firm US job data stoke September rate hike hopes

BUMPER July jobs data from the United States have again begun to stoke expectations of a September rate hike from the Federal Reserve, just when other major central banks around the globe are unleashing ever-looser policy.

That slightly more positive tone may linger as a backdrop for the global economy in the coming week, with growth data due for the eurozone, Germany and Italy, along with data on inflation, industrial output and retail sales in China.

New Zealand’s central bank is also expected to join the easing brigade with a cut on Thursday.

In the past week, the Bank of England fired its first post-Brexit salvo — cutting Bank Rate to a new record low of 0.25 percent while also reigniting its asset purchase program and hinted further easing was in the pipeline.

Governor Mark Carney said he had unveiled an “exceptional package of measures” because the economic outlook had changed markedly following the June Brexit vote. The BOE expects the economy to stagnate for the rest of 2016 and suffer weak growth next year.

Slow growth and virtually non-existent eurozone inflation will also force the European Central Bank to extend and expand the scope of its asset purchase program, a Reuters poll of economists showed last month.

Early indications suggest the bloc has so far largely shrugged off Britain's decision to quit the European Union but preliminary data due on Friday are expected to show the rate of economic growth across the currency union halved to 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

Germany will also publish its GDP numbers, likely to show a slowdown, but rising employment and wages should continue to support disposable income growth in the second half of the year. Italy probably maintained its slow and steady pace.

The Bank of Japan disappointed markets last month by keeping bond purchases steady, defying hopes it would buy up more.

Skittish global investors may be reassured by fairly steady growth expected in Chinese data in coming weeks, but tepid demand, slowing investment and rising debt levels remain pressing concerns for the world’s second-largest economy.


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