Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Pushing on a string...

Are rate cuts effective?

Do low interest rates and quantitative easing work?

There are so many different opinions on this, but the objective answer seems to be: it might take some time, but eventually, yes.

I didn't get around to blogging it earlier in the month for various reasons (the fact I invested two hours today watching "Teen Wolf" on Channel 9 might give you some indication) but US job openings blasted off to their highest ever level in April at 5.4 million, having previously appeared to have stalled in March.

This 5.2 per cent monthly surge sent the "JOLTS" survey to its highest level from a decade-and-a-half of data.

For sure, we cannot know the counter-factual, but for all the talk that policies would fail this seems to me to be quite a remarkable result.

Employment growth

A smattering of other charts to illustrate.

By way of an example, UK employment has surged to a record high, with some 31.1 million people now in work. 

Real wages are growing in the UK now too, at long last.

The US Labor Force figures - which I look at monthly here - have continued to display very strong jobs growth, despite something of a slowdown in the first quarter of 2015.

In 2014 the US economy averaged nearly 260,000 new jobs per month.

Declining unemployment

On the unemployment side of the ledger, the UK unemployment rate has fallen from 8.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to nudge against a 7 year low, with the latest figures recording a 5.5 per cent unemployment rate.

US unemployment has also declined very sharply from 10 per cent in October 2009 to 5.5 per cent.

Australia - interest rates to fall further?

On an obliquely related note, China's stock markets have continued to nosedive, with corrective action being taken in the form of a PBOC interest rate cut and another easing of reserve requirements.

Meanwhile with Greece continuing to grapple with its seemingly neverending problems in Europe, Aussie stock markets have taken a beating today, the ASX 200 (XJO) off by 2.3 per cent at the time of writing.

It's the end of financial year in Australia tomorrow.

Interestingly, futures markets are now pricing in a further cut in our cash rate by the end of the calendar year as a 3 in 4 chance.