Job ads rise 2.9% during November, Inflation gauge heads higher: Economy Roundup

Job advertisements published in newspapers and online rose for a seventh consecutive month in November, according to the ANZ Job Advertisements index.

The survey shows job ads rose by a seasonally adjusted 2.9% during November, representing the largest monthly increase since February. The figures come as economists expect jobless data out on Thursday to show a drop in unemployment to 5.2%.

The result comes after the ANZ said job ads rose by just 0.7% in October – bringing the total increase for the year to 33.2%. ANZ head of Australian economics Ivan Colhoun also said in a statement that job advertisement is continuing to improve.

“The prior improvement in job advertising suggests that the Australian economy continues to create jobs,” he said in a statement. “Given the outsized rise in the participation rate in October, the surprise may be that the unemployment rate improves even more significantly in the near term.”

However, ANZ does say that it is “reasonable to expect some moderation in the rate of growth of labour demand in the months ahead”.

Meanwhile, a private gauge of inflation has shown the CPI index rose by 0.4% in November, compared to the 0.3% rise recorded in October.

According to the TD-Securities inflation gauge, the index is now 3.9% higher than in November last year.

“As the RBA took a pre-emptive stance against future inflationary pressures by shifting to a restrictive monetary policy stance last month, we expect the RBA to remain on the sidelines for the next few months,” Annette Beacher, head of Asia Pacific research at TD Securities, said in a statement.

“However, with inflationary pressures already building, the next move remains up for interest rates in Australia.”

The index found the largest contributors to the rise in the index were prices for fruit, vegetables and communication, while these were offset by declines in prices for AV equipment, computing and holiday travel and accommodation.

An Access Economics report has said the proposed merger of the Australian and Singapore stock exchanges is in the country’s best interests.

“We do think the merger of ASX and SGX is good for Australia,” report author Chris Richardson told journalists at a briefing this morning. The report states that the merger will improve Australia’s economic welfare, while maintaining the ASX’s structure with regards to regulation by local authorities.

Stocks higher thanks to strong overseas leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning following strong leads from equities markets overseas on the weekend, but have since fallen slightly.

The benchmark S&P/aSX200 index was up one point or 0.02% to 4695.3 at 12.20 AEST, while the Australian dollar has also gained ground following poor jobless data in the US, and is now trading at US99c.

ANZ shares lost 0.3% to $23.25, as Commonwealth Bank shares fell 0.6% to $49.15. NAB dropped 1% to $23.70 as Westpac dropped 0.2% to $21.88.

Troubled manufacturer Sigma Pharmaceuticals has indicated a 10-15% decline in annual wholesale revenues from February 2011 due to losing the rights to products from Pfizer Australia.

“From January 31, 2011, Pfizer will be expanding its current “Pfizer Direct” model so that all prescription products (PBS and non PBS) will be delivered by Pfizer direct to pharmacies,” Sigma said in a statement.

AMP has said a merger with AXA Asia Pacific Holdings will make the company a wealth management group rather than a strict banking entity.

Chief executive Craig Dunn told ABC TV that once AMP’s $14.6 billion takeover of AXA APH has gone through, the merger will allow AMP to expand more strongly.

“We’d like to over time grow that banking business once securitisation markets recover, but it’s fundamentally about taking the major banks on in their wealth management business,” he said during an interview yesterday.

“I don’t think there’s a magic wand that any government can wave and suddenly cause there to be more banking competition.”

Spain declares state of emergency

Spain has declared a state of emergency after air traffic controllers have gone on strike for a second day. IT comes as the Government is carrying out reforms to cut its deficit.

But authority AENA has said controllers are beginning to come back to work. “The controllers are returning to work and nearly half of the airspace sectors are open,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

In the United States, president Barack Obama has been struck by another blow after his plan to cut the US deficit did not win legislative support in Congress. He must pass a budget early in 2011, and it is expected he will use some measures to cut the deficit coming from a report produced by a presidential commission.

“I don’t doubt our ability to meet this challenge, but our success depends on our willingness to engage in the kind of honest conversation and cooperation that hasn’t always happened in Washington,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

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