Economic data yesterday from the US was on the positive side. The July Trade Balance deficit came in at a US41.9 billion compared to a US$45.2 billion deficit in June, showing its lowest level in five months. Meanwhile, the Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) that produces a figure which captures business conditions in the services sector also moved in a positive direction, up to 56.1 from the previous month’s 55.2 reading. These data sets, combined with Wednesday’s relatively positive beige book outcome, produced another rise for the US Dollar Index, an index based on the US dollars value against a mixture of major currencies, from 95.88 on Wednesday to 96.50 last night.
The focus today will be on the August non-farm payrolls, with the consensus being 220,000 jobs added, a 5,000 increase from last month. Two other key metrics are also expected from the US Department of Labour. The first is based on average weekly hours, an indicator that the Federal Reserve pays close attention to when setting interest rates; this is expected to remain relatively stable. The second piece of significant labour data is August’s unemployment rate, where there is hope of slight improvement, from 5.3% to 5.2%.