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Labour slowdowns and no labour slowdowns

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  • The Bank of Japan regional report showed improving consumer (domestic) demand aiding better growth in five out of nine regions. This seems good news, but ahead of the consumption tax rise demand should be improving, begging the question 'why aren't things better in the other four regions?"
  • Australian labour market data was weaker than expected, reinforcing the easing bias that the Reserve Bank has in place. Outright easing is probably avoided, and the weaker Australian dollar in the wake of the employment data gives the RBA some assistance.
  • The US Beige Book gave no signal of a slowing in the labour market, casting further doubt on the December payrolls data. We hear from Fed Chair Bernanke today, talking about the challenges facing central banks. A rather apt topic at the conclusion of his period in office.
  • The Euro area gives us the ECB monthly report, but the challenges for policy in the Euro area perhaps lie more in the political sphere than in the economic or monetary policy arenas. We also get aggregate consumer price inflation, but the issue is more about the spectrum of inflation within the Euro.
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