President Donald Trump nominated Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell to chair the Fed on Thursday. Mr Powell will come to the chairman’s job at the Federal Reserve with a wide-ranging resume. He has worked in investment banking, in law and in government as an undersecretary in the Treasury Department. He would also be one of the wealthiest individuals to lead the Fed, thanks to his years in private equity. One thing he’s missing: He would be the first Fed chief in more than four decades who did not have an economics degree. He was appointed to the Fed board in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama. There was little new information in the statement from the November Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Wednesday following a two-day meeting, including no signal of the now widely-expected and 85%+ priced December rate hike.
The Bank of England raised its benchmark Bank Rate by 25bps to 0.5% on Thursday. It was the first rise in more than 10 years. The bank also signaled that “any future increases would be expected to be at a gradual pace and to a limited extent”. Bank of England lifts rates for first time in a decade.
The Bank of Japan announced on Tuesday it is holding its monetary policy steady, it is maintaining the short term interest rate at minus 0.1% and the target for the 10-year government bond yield at zero percent.
Australia’s trade surplus doubled in the month to $1.75bn, well above $1.2bn forecasts. A surge in iron ore exports was the primary driver. Total exports rose 3.3% and imports rose 0.6%. The Australian Performance of Services Index fell to 51.4 in October from 52.1 in September, pointing to a seventh straight month of expansion in the services sector. A reading above 50 represents an expansion. Respondents in the business-oriented sub-sectors noted continuing demand coming from the construction and mining sectors, predominantly in the eastern states. Services PMI in Australia averaged 48.69 Index Points from 2009 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 57.70 Index Points in December of 2016 and a record low of 39 Index Points in August of 2013.
The Australian market today has traded at an 18 month high and looks set to close at near these levels.
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