Following Tuesday’s extremely disappointing German industrial production figures – and Monday’s factory orders – there was some much-needed positive news from the eurozone yesterday. The latest unemployment figures showed a fall to 7.9% in November 2018 from a downwardly revised 8% the previous month and better than the 8.1% the markets had been expecting. It is the lowest jobless rate since October 2008, although it does still mean that just over 13 million people in the euro area are out of work.
The only other release of note was the balance of trade figures from Germany, which showed that the trade surplus decreased to €20.5 billion in November, from €23.8 billion in the same month a year before. Imports increased by 3.6% while exports remained more or less unchanged. The latest figures mean that from January to November 2018, the trade surplus narrowed to €214.2 billion from €229.5 billion in the correspecting period the previous year.
The euro had a good day against sterling and the dollar following the news, as the markets reacted positively to the news. The euro climbed above the $1.15 mark for the first time since 7 November 2018 (although it only just touched $1.1502 then before quickly falling back below). The moves were fuelled by an increased dollar sell-off, as traders reacted to dovish sentiment expressed by Fed policymakers.
It is a fairly quiet day for the eurozone today, although we will see the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting accounts just after midday. It will be interesting to see what policymakers make of recent economic data releases and whether there are any hints at future policy.