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A visual look at some economic data worth paying attention to today

The Bank of Japan, Bank of England and European Central Bank all held interest rates steady. But there were a few data points worth caring about. Here you go.

Australia’s trade deficit worsened

  • That’s mostly thanks to coal exports being held down by bad weather. But shipments are expected to bounce back, thanks to decent Chinese growth.

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Mexican inflation was a lower than expected in February.

  • The world’s investing and economic class is increasingly enamored of North America’s southernmost nation. That’s pulling investment dollars into Mexico, which is pushing the value of the peso higher, which is pushing inflation lower and making Mexican goods somewhat less competitive vis-a-vis its foreign competitors. The fact that prices rose less than expected in February suggests that trend remains in effect.

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US claims for unemployment benefits continued to signal improvement in the jobs market.

  • Sure weekly data can be volatile, but the trend over the last year has clearly been lower. That’s a good sign for the US job market as conventional wisdom says that for sustainable US job creation to take hold, jobless claims need to stay under 400,000. Thursday’s number came in at a lower-than-expected 340,000. Of course the number that really matters is Friday’s big monthly jobs report.

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The healing housing and stock markets are repairing much of the damage done to US household finances.

  • The Federal Reserve said household net worth grew by $1.17 trillion from October through December. It’s a fair guess that thanks to the recent US stock market rally—the S&P 500 is up more than 8% this year—has now taken households very close to where they were before the crash.

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