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LGT Navigator: US labor market in focus, but in the shadow of the war

March 4, 2022

At the end of the week, the focus is once again on the monthly labor market statistics from Washington. However, the latest employment figures are unlikely to make much difference to the anticipated first interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine continues unabated, despite the direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict.

US labor market in focus, but in the shadow of the war

In the US, the latest labor market data will be published this afternoon at 14:30 (CET). Economists expect continued strong job growth of around +400'000 new jobs created. The short-term labor market figures also indicated a solid development. Thus, the weekly reported initial claims for unemployment benefits declined by 18'000 to 215'000 claims. Given the strength of the labor market so far, the Federal Reserve is also likely to assume a sustainable development and raise the key interest rate in mid-March for the first time since the pandemic.

On the New York Stock Exchange, the ongoing war in Ukraine and worse-than-expected data on sentiment in the US service sector cause discounts. The Dow Jones Industrial fell -0.29% to 33'794.66 points and the S&P 500 lost -0.53%, closing at 4'363.49 points. The strongest discounts were on the technology exchange Nasdaq where the indices lost almost -1.5%. With excitement are now expected the latest labor market data from the US, each of which is also decisive for the further monetary policy course of the Federal Reserve.

In Asia, the war in Europe was the focus after the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine was fired upon and a fire broke out. In Tokyo, the 225-stock Nikkei loses -2.25% and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index is down nearly -2.5%.

EU ready for expansion of sanctions against Russia

The European Union could decide to impose further sanctions against Russia if the talks between the two warring parties fail to produce a result. A complete embargo on energy transfers or interventions in the trade of cryptocurrencies remains conceivable. The EU Commission will monitor the situation very closely, Brussels said.

Sentiment of US service providers clouded

The Institute for Supply Management ISM Purchasing Managers Index indicated a clouding of sentiment in the American services sector with a drop from 59.9 to 56.5 points in February. Analysts had expected an increase to 61.0 points. The ISM pointed to ongoing problems in global supply chains and rising prices, as well as staff shortages.

Euro economy regains some momentum in February

Business sentiment in the eurozone brightened somewhat in February despite geopolitical uncertainties, according to the latest survey data. As a result, the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI Composite) for the entire private sector rose from 52.3 points in January to 55.5. On the other hand, the broad-based lifting of all pandemic measures had a positive impact.

Producer prices in the eurozone further increase inflationary pressure

At the beginning of the year, producer prices in the euro zone again rose at a record pace. Over the year, prices rose by +30.6%, the highest increase at producer level since the introduction of the euro in 1999. Energy prices rose by almost +86% for producers of goods, and prices for intermediate goods increased by around +20%.

Higher inflation in Switzerland

Inflation in Switzerland rose further in February from +1.6% in January to +2.2%. Month-on-month, consumer prices rose by +0.7%. Energy and residential rents were more expensive.

Inflation in Turkey out of control

The cost of living in Turkey increased by almost +55% year-on-year in February. In a monthly comparison, consumer prices rose by +4.8%, driven by more expensive energy and food or transport costs. The Turkish central bank is unable to counteract the increase due to political pressure. In view of its close relations with Russia, Turkey has so far not supported the sanctions imposed by the West but is still likely to feel the effects on the economy.


Economic Indicators March 4

MEZ Country Indicator Last period
08:00 GE Exports (January, m/m) +0.9%
08:00 GE Imports (January, m/m) +4.7%
08:45 FR Industrial Production (January, m/m) -0.2%
09:00 SZ Seco Economic Forecast
09:00 AUT GDP Q4 (q/q, revision) -2.2%
10:00 IT GDP Q4 (q/q, revision) +0.6%
11:00 EZ Retail Sales (January, m/m) -3.0%
14:30 US Unemployment Rate (February) 4.0%
14.30 US Non-Farm Payrolls (February) +467,000


Earnings Calender March 4

Country Company Period
GE Allianz Business Report
US Apple Shareholders Meeting


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Publisher: LGT Bank (Switzerland) Ltd., Glärnischstrasse 36, CH-8027 Zurich
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Source: LGT Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.

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