US nonfarm payrolls in focus

The US jobs report on Friday will most likely be the highlight of the week. The nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show that employers stepped up hiring in February with economists projecting that 190,000 jobs were created compared with 158,000 in January.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the US is expected to remain steady at 4.9 per cent, while growth in average hourly earnings is forecast to slow to 0.2 per cent in February from 0.5 per cent.

Labour market data for January disappointed with a 151,000 increase in payrolls numbers, a drop from December’s 262,000.

US jobs data are closely watched by the Fed as they make decisions about monetary policy. Meanwhile, the US ISM PMI data will also be in focus next week.

Other data that will attract attention will be UK PMI data for February. Concerns about “Brexit” the past week have pushed the pound to seven-year lows.

Eurozone inflation figures due on Monday will be carefully scrutinized by the ECB, who will be looking for a rise in consumer prices in the region. The Bank’s inflation target is 2 per cent. A softer inflation rate will likely pressure the ECB to take action at its policy meeting in March.

Australian data due in the coming week include fourth quarter GDP figures while the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) policy meeting will attract attention on Tuesday.

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