US jobless claims at 15 year low, prices fall; Greek minister lashes out; China power use barely grows; China fiscal spending explodes; UST 10yr yields fall; oil price down; NZ$1 = 74.9 US¢, TWI-5 = 77.5

Here’s my summary of the key issues from overnight that affect New Zealand, with news of a huge jump in Chinese official spending to counter their slowdown, which is getting serious.

But first, American initial jobless claims continued to impress with the release of last week’s data showing a lower than expected level – in fact the lowest level in 15 years. But US producer prices data out for April did not impress, indicating prices are stubbornly low at the wholesale level. However, markets were happy with the combination of an expanded labour market and lower prices, pushing the US dollar and stocks higher.

Tension is rising in the Greek crisis with the Greek finance minister lashing out this morning at the ECB. Apparently he is angry that creditors won’t forgive debt Greece owes and some view his outburst as a threat not to make some repayments.

In China, electricity consumption rose +1.3% year-on-year in April. This data is often used as a more reliable indicator of how the Chinese economy is really doing. During the January to April period, power use in primary industries fell -2.6% year on year and secondary industries saw a drop of -0.8%, but the usage in tertiary industry surged +7.9. Residential power consumption grew +4%.

And data is coming to light about what China is doing with its stimulus programs. The South China Morning Post is reporting (paywall) that official data shows China’s fiscal spending jumped 33.2% in April from the same month a year ago.

Data out this morning from USDA monitoring shows that dairy prices are not recovering yet. Most categories were stable although there were small falls reported for skim milk power.

In New York, the UST 10yr benchmark yield fell back slightly in today’s trading, its first fall in more than a week, and is now at 2.24%.

The US oil price is a little lower and now under US$60/barrel, while Brent crude is back under US$67/barrel.

The gold price posted yet another good gain and is now at US$1,225/oz. Q1 data out from the Gold Council shows that jewellery demand fell -10%, bar and coin demand also fell, while mine supply rose. Picking up some of the the slack at low prices were hedge funds.

The New Zealand dollar starts today pretty much where it was at this time yesterday at 74.9 US¢, at 92.7 AU¢, and at 65.8 euro cents. The TWI-5 is at 77.5.

If you want to catch up with all the local changes yesterday, we have an update here.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here »

Daily exchange rates

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