More positive data globally...
- The JP Morgan Global PMI report for November was stronger than expected – all-industry output was up +0.7 over the month to 51.5, reflecting expectations of further expansion. Global manufacturing PMI read 50.9, marking the fourth consecutive month of rising sentiment, whilst the services sector rose +0.6 to 51.6. Importantly, the employment subsector report was notably stronger, +1.1 in November.
- The Caixin China Business Activity Index recovered in November to 53.5 (October: 51.1, consensus: 51.2). This was the fastest pace of acceleration in 7 months, largely driven by the services sector. Amid ongoing trade tensions with the US, new export orders reported the strongest reading in 4 months +1.4 to 53.7, pushing the new business sub-index higher (53.1).
- The euro area Manufacturing PMI was revised up in November, +0.3 to a final reading of 46.9. This was mainly due to a revision in the German manufacturing PMI (+0.3 to 44.1), although there were upgrades across the board to the manufacturing PMIs in France (+0.1), Spain and Italy.
- The UK PMI reading was also revised higher in November, +0.8 to 48.9 (October: 49.6). This is consistent with an annualised GDP forecast of 0.9%. The composite PMI reading has been in contraction territory since September, with services reading well below historic average (49.3 in November) and the manufacturing sector consistently in contraction for the previous 7 months (48.9 in November).
Mixed data out of the US...
- The US ISM Non-Manufacturing Index was weaker than expected in November, down -0.8 to 53.9. The business activity component decreased -5.4 over the month (to 51.6), but this was offset by increases in new orders (57.1) and employment (55.5). The ISM Manufacturing data also missed expectations, reading 48.1 (October: 48.3, consensus: 49.2). Manufacturing production has been increasingly weaker in preceding months, attributable to waning demand particularly from new export orders – the new orders index fell to 47.2 in November (October: 49.1).
- US non-farm payrolls beat expectations in November, adding 266,000 jobs vs 180,000 estimates. The unemployment rate was 3.5% (consensus: 3.6%), matching a 50-year low. Average hourly earnings were up 3.1% over 12 months (consensus: +3.0%). Hiring was strong in healthcare, transportation and restaurants.
Central banks pivoting from a dovish stance back to neutral continue to take a more neutral stance globally...
- After the Royal Bank of New Zealand unexpectedly announced a pause in rate cuts last week, the Australian central bank also tilted more hawkish than expected this week. The RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 0.5% at their December meeting as expected, but also noted that the economy seems to have reached a “gentle turning point”.
- As was widely expected, the Bank of Canada left the overnight rate unchanged at 1.75%. In their statement the BOC acknowledged the slowdown in Q3, although this was expected given declining export data, and noted that there are signs that the global economy is stabilising. The change in tone has left analysts less hopeful of a January rate cut. The BOC listed four factors which will influence decisions on the policy rate next year – trade conflicts, consumer spending, housing activity and fiscal policy.
After some choppiness earlier in the week, markets recovered into the weekend...
- Ostensibly hawkish comments from Trump early in the week sent equities lower and government bonds higher.
- However, as White House officials hurried to qualify his remarks, equities rebounded and the stronger tone to data provided further support, leaving levels little changed over the week as a whole.