Strong employment data boosts Australian dollar

Financial and commodity markets analytics

The Australian dollar is trading sharply higher today after strong employment data and weak US retail sales figures pushed the currency back beyond the US82.00 cents mark.

At 4.45pm (AEDT) the Aussie dollar was trading at US82.08 cents up from US81.48 cents in yesterday’s trade.

Data from the Bureau of Statistics showed the unemployment rate fell to 6.1% in December below analysts’ estimates of 6.3%.

Even more surprising was the number of new jobs created, with the figure coming in at 37,400 well above expectations of 5,000 and unlike last month, the rise was mainly attributed to full time jobs.

Economists from UBS welcomed the news by noting that this is another step in the right direction after the recent rise in job advertisements and noted,

"Today's labour market data was clearly much better than expected , with a welcome lift in jobs growth to a near four-year high of 1.9 per cent year-on-year, to finally be more consistent with the leading indicators of employment, which we have long flagged as pointing to an imminent pick-up,"

Also giving a boost to the Australian dollar was the weak retail sales data out of the US yesterday which fell by 0.9% against analysts ‘expectations of a 0,1% fall casting doubt on the so called recovery of the US economy.

Brushing of the number as a cause for concern and looking at the big picture was Guy Berger, U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc who has been one of the best forecasters of US retail sales for the past 2 years,

“Maybe the optimism a month ago got a little too heated, Its a weak number but it follows some really strong ones and I don’t think it changes my general feeling on how the economy and consumers are doing.”


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