This week is all about data. According to figures published this morning by the Office for National Statistics, from December 2018 to February 2019, the overall UK unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent, a rate that hasn’t been lower since the Winter of 1974–1975. Also, total pay in Britain has kept rising at its fastest rate in a decade. Overall, despite Brexit uncertainty and the risk of a wider economic slowdown, the UK job market held up strongly in February as employment remains at a record high, with 457K more people in work than a year ago. The pound however remained unchanged after the figures were released.
In the EU, the German ZEW headline numbers (a gauge measuring 300 German institutional investors and analysts’ confidence in the German economy) for April showed that the economic sentiment index jumped to 3.1 versus an expected 0.8 and previous -3.6. The ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach stated that the postponement of the Brexit deadline as well as “the hope that the global economic environment will develop less poorly than previously assumed” have boosted the figures. The EUR/USD pair is struggling to hold above 1.13 and may not see a meaningful break in either direction until the US Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI, the indicators of economic health for manufacturing and service sectors) are released on Thursday.
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