US employment accelerated in February and the jobless rate fell to a 6-1/2 year low of 5.5 percent, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after rising 239,000 in January. The decline in the unemployment rate from 5.7 percent in January took it to its lowest level since May 2008.
The data suggested the US job market continued to strengthen, although the drop in the jobless rate largely reflected people leaving the labour force. Average hourly earnings rose by three cents last month. Fed officials are monitoring pay closely to help determine when enough pressure has built in the jobs market to merit higher borrowing costs to keep the economy from overheating.
The British public's expectations for inflationary movements over the next 12 months fell to its lowest level in more than 13 years last month, according to a survey on Friday from the Bank of England. Inflation expectations for the year ahead fell to 1.9 percent in February, the lowest level since late 2001, from 2.5 percent in November. Friday's survey will be of interest to members of the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee, which on Thursday voted to keep interest rates at a record low 0.5 percent, their level for the past six years since the depths of the financial crisis.
The BoE has said it could cut rates if low inflation becomes embedded, although Governor Mark Carney has said he expects the next move to be a rise. Economists believe the BoE will keep interest rates at a record low until at least October as inflation remains stubbornly below target.
Greece could call a referendum or have early elections should its euro zone partners reject its debt and growth plans, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.
The new Greek government, led by Alexis Tsipras, won an election in January promising to renegotiate a bailout agreed with the International Monetary Fund and its European Union partners that requires strict budget discipline and sweeping economic reforms. The government reached a temporarily deal with its lenders last month and Athens has until the end of April to specify the reforms it will make in exchange for further aid. Euro zone finance ministers are meeting on Monday in Brussels to discuss a letter of pledged reforms sent by Athens last week.
Most Greeks want the country to keep the euro, but two-thirds also continue to back the government's tough stance to renegotiate the bailout package.
There are no key announcements today
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