The number of US citizens claiming unemployment benefits rose 36,000 to 482,000 in the week ended Jan. 16, surpassing the estimates of 441,000 new claims - a small concession for the weak job figures was Continuing Claims which made a slight retreat for the week of Jan 9.
Key commodities were hit hard; with gold continuing it retreat below US$1,100 a Troy ounce - copper, crude oil also found no relief. In-turn, commodity currencies wore the brunt with the Aussie slipping overnight to lows of 89.96 US cents. Yesterday, Aussie dollar continued to remain under pressure for much of the day on the news of China's intent to regulate growth by reducing the lending capacity for banks. The better than expected Chinese data also failed to ignite strength in the local unit.
Fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product in China grew at an annual rate of 10.7 per cent, beating the expected 10.5 per cent rise. We also saw a positive result from retail sales which grew at an annual rate of 17.5 per cent and PPI also exceeding estimates rising 1.7 per cent.