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  1. #1201
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    U.S. Producer Prices Drop, Unemployment Claims Rise

    U.S. producer prices dropped for the first time in almost 1-½ years in December amid falling costs for services, which could weigh on expectations that inflation will pick up this year.

    Separate data showed that initial claims for jobless benefits rose for the fourth consecutive week to over a three-month peak. Winter and snow in parts of the United States likely kept some workers at home, which accounts for the previous week's rise in unemployment claims.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve is projecting three rate hikes for 2018. It raised rates three times in 2017.

    According to the Labor Department, its producer price index for final demand dropped 0.1 percent in December. It was the first decline in the PPI since August 2016 and followed two consecutive monthly growth of 0.4 percent.

    The PPI increased 2.6 percent from the same period in 2016, after accelerating 3.1 percent in November.

    A key gauge of underlying producer price pressures, excluding food, energy and trade services, climbed 0.1 percent in December. The so-called core PPI rose 0.4 percent in November. It increased 2.3 percent in the 12 months through December after rising 2.4 percent in November.

    In the separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 261,000 for the week ended Jan. 6, the highest level since late September.

    Claims have risen since mid-December, though the data tend to be volatile during year-end holidays.

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  2. #1202
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    New Zealand Food Prices Fall For Fourth Month

    New Zealand's food prices declined for the fourth straight month in December, figures from Statistics New Zealand showed Monday.

    Food prices dropped 0.8 percent month-over-month in December, faster than the 0.4 percent fall in November.

    Grocery food and seasonally cheaper fruit and vegetables were the main factors in the dip in food costs.

    After four successive monthly rises, butter prices dropped 4.9 percent.

    On a yearly basis, food prices grew at a stable rate of 2.3 percent in December.

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  3. #1203
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    New Zealand Food Prices Fall For Fourth Month

    New Zealand's food prices declined for the fourth straight month in December, figures from Statistics New Zealand showed Monday.

    Food prices dropped 0.8 percent month-over-month in December, faster than the 0.4 percent fall in November.

    Grocery food and seasonally cheaper fruit and vegetables were the main factors in the dip in food costs.

    After four successive monthly rises, butter prices dropped 4.9 percent.

    On a yearly basis, food prices grew at a stable rate of 2.3 percent in December.

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  4. #1204
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    BRAZIL: Ibovespa Rises To New Record On Expiring Stock Options

    Ibovespa, the benchmark stock index in Brazil, rose 0.51% to 79,752.37 points Monday - a new record settlement - influenced by expiring stock options and data suggesting that the economic recovery in the country gained strength in November. The United States market holiday limited the local trading volume.

    Analysts said that the Ibovespa might be pricing a conviction of the former Brazilian President Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva in a trial scheduled for January 24. A court defeat could bar Lula from running for President in October.

    "The holiday in the United States removes liquidity from the stock market, but investors are expecting January 24 much more than anything else, and apparently the stakes continue to be at Lula's conviction," said the chief economist of Home Broker Modalmais, Alvaro Bandeira. In the short term, analysts expect Ibovespa to follow a bullish trend. The index remained at record levels even after Brazil's rating downgrade by S&P last week.

    For Bandeira, the inflow of foreign investment has offset bad news and helped to sustain Ibovespa's good momentum. However, Rico Investimentos analyst Roberto Indech noted that this week brings some data in Brazil and abroad that may weigh on the stocks.

    Meanwhile, the locally traded U.S. dollar turned positive in the final stretch of the trading day. The greenback's performance was influenced by the holiday of Martin Luther King in the United States, which reflected in lower trading volume. As a result, the locally traded currency closed slightly higher (+0.09%), at R$ 3,210.

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    Global Automakers Urge Trump Administration Not to Terminate NAFTA

    Major automakers urged the Trump administration not to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement and hopes that the United States, Canada and Mexico will be able to conclude a modernized and improved trade pact.

    Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA, which is heavily utilized by automakers that have production and supply chains spread across the three countries.

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said he hoped the Trump administration would “retune” some of its trade talk demands.

    Marchionne said FCA's truck production shift in part “goes a long way I think in addressing some of President Trump's concerns about the dislocation of production capacity out of the United States.”

    That decision reduces the risk those trucks would be hit with a 25 percent tariff if NAFTA unravels.

    Ford Motor Co CEO Jim Hackett said NAFTA needs “to be modernized,” adding that of Detroit's Big Three automakers, Ford has the highest percentage of U.S.-built vehicles.

    General Motors CEO Mary Barra expressed optimism NAFTA will survive with improvements. Other senior GM executives stood by the company's plans to continue building trucks in Mexico.

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    Singapore NODX Rises Less Than Expected In December

    Singapore's non-oil domestic exports increased at a slower-than-expected pace in December, data from the International Enterprise Singapore showed Wednesday.

    NODX climbed 3.1 percent year-over-year in December, well below the 9.1 percent spike in November. Economists had expected a 8.6 percent rise for the month.

    Exports of electronic products declined 5.3 percent annually in December, reversing a 5.1 percent growth in November.

    At the same time, non-electronic NODX rose 6.8 percent after expanding 10.6 percent in the prior month.

    On a monthly basis, NODX decreased a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent in December, following a 8.6 percent gain in

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    Australia Jobless Rate Climbs To 5.5% In December

    The unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.5 percent in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

    That was above forecasts for 5.4 percent, which would have been unchanged from November.

    The Australian economy added 34,700 jobs last month to 12,440,800, beating forecasts for an increase of 15,100 following the upwardly revised 63,600 gain in the previous month (originally 61,600).

    Full-time employment increased 15,100 to 8,518,900 and part-time employment increased 19,500 to 3,921,800.

    Unemployment increased 20,500 to 730,600. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 9,900 to 501,800 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work increased 10,600 to 228,800.

    The participation rate climbed to 65.7 percent, exceeding forecasts for 65.5 percent - which would have been unchanged.

    Monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 4.2 million hours (0.2 percent) to 1,736.4 million hours.

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    Oil Prices Rally on Disruption Threats in Nigeria, declining U.S. Inventories

    Oil prices edged up on a reported decline in U.S. crude stockpiles and as militant groups in Nigeria threatened to launch an assault on the nation's petroleum infrastructure.

    But prices continued to be below the three-year highs as fuel stockpiles continue to be ample and as refineries reduce operations.

    Brent crude futures stood at $69.56 per barrel, 18 cents or 0.3 percent higher from their last settlement. On Monday, the international benchmark hit their highest level since December-2015 high of $70.37 per barrel.

    U.S. WTI crude futures traded at $64.25 per barrel, 28 cents or 0.4 percent higher from their last close. WTI hit their highest level since December, 2014 at $64.89 per barrel.

    According to traders, prices have been lifted by reports that Nigeria's rebel group Niger Delta Avengers threaten to attack the nation's oil sector in the next few days.

    Markets also received support from a decline in crude inventories. U.s. crude inventories declined by 5.1 million barrels in the latest week to 411.5 million, according to API.

    Despite the overall upbeat sentiment in the markets, analysts warned that the recent rally, which has raised crude by around 14 percent since early December, may be on the verge of a correction.

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    U.S. Inflation Expectations Jumps to Highest Level Since 2014

    A significant market measure of inflation expectations has increased to its strongest level since 2014, as investors' deliver solid demand to purchase protection against the threat of rising interest rates and dropping bond prices.

    The 10-year break-even rate, a market measure of inflation expectations derived from Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, has increased to 2.09 percent, it's highest level since September 2014 when oil prices were collapsing. The impact of oil prices on break-evens is strong, with analysts attributing at least part of the recent rise in inflation expectations to rising oil prices.

    At a $13 billion auction of TIPS on Thursday, primary dealers — responsible for bidding on a pro rata share of the auction to ensure the sale of the debt — walked away with a smaller than average share of the securities, as other investors came in aggressively to buy.

    The 10-year Treasury yield has increased 20 basis points so far this year to 2.6 percent on Thursday, closing in on its 2017 high of 2.63 percent.

    The strong demand for TIPS showed a growing belief that price pressure is building from improving global demand and pushing domestic inflation to the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.

    Improving business activity around the world has supported oil and other commodity prices, reinforcing the view of rising inflation, analysts said.

    The ratio of bids to the amount of 10-year TIPS offered was 2.69, which was the highest reading since May 2014.

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