06/08/2018 - US Jobs Data Slowed

USD

The U.S. dollar was steady against a basket of peers on Friday after data showed U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in July, but tightening labour market conditions supported investors' expectations for two more interest rate hikes this year from the Federal Reserve.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was about flat on the day at 95.148, after dipping as low as 94.98. The index was up 0.5 percent for the week.

U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 157,000 jobs last month, more than the roughly 120,000 per month needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population.However, this figure was down against forecast of 190,000 jobs.

Data, however, also showed a drop in the unemployment rate suggesting that the labor market was tightening.

GBP

The UK’s biggest companies have become more optimistic about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, although they remain gloomy about the country’s economic prospects more broadly.

The most recent Boardroom Bellwether survey, conducted twice a year by ICSA, the governance body, found that more than half of FTSE 350 company secretaries expected Brexit to have a negative effect on the economy. This was sharply down on the proportion a year ago, when over 69 per cent thought this would be the case.

In addition, a majority of company secretaries — 58 per cent — said Brexit would have no impact on their business. Two-thirds said that Brexit was a risk but was not judged to be a “principal” one, in part because many FTSE 350 companies have often significant operations outside the UK.

However, confidence about prospects for the economy remained low, despite last week’s interest rates rise by the Bank of England to their highest in almost a decade, on the back of full employment and a pick-up in activity supported by household spending.

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