Nice surprise on employment in the US, but which sows doubt on an inflation that would be totally controlled

The employment figures in the United States come to close a week very rich in statistics for the financial markets, after the publication of the PMIs and especially the increases in key rates in the United States and the Eurozone (+25 bp for the Fed Funds[1] at 4.5-4.75% and +0.50% for the ECB deposit rate at +2.50%).

The US economy created 517K jobs in January while the consensus expected 187K and the number of jobs created in December was revised upwards (260K vs 223K) The unemployment rate continued to fall and stands at 3.4% (vs 3.6% expected)
in a context of rising participation rate (62.4% vs 62.3%)

But above all, wage growth slowed +0.3% to $33.03, in line with expectations, which is reassuring given the good strength of the job market in the United States. 
These very solid figures testify to the very good resilience of the US economy. The price/wage loop is narrowing (there is no acceleration in the pace of wage growth compared to previous months’ trends), but inflationary pressures could remain significant, due to an economy at full employment. These figures should reinforce the Fed’s desire to maintain a firm stance on inflation.

Will this U.S. jobs report calm the expectations of investors who have generally interpreted the slowdown in the Fed’s rate hike as a signal of a more accommodative policy in the coming months, while Mr. Powell’s speech remained very firm?

In any case, it could instil some doubt that the fight against inflation is already won.

Asset allocation: more equities and more duration on bonds while remaining broadly cautious

At Degroof Petercam Wealth Management, we reduced our equity[2] underexposure in January to return close to our neutral weights, and throughout the month of January added a little duration on our fixed income part. However, we remain reasonably cautious: corporate earnings reports do not exceed expectations any more than historically (68% of S&P 500 companies have so far published above expectations vs. 75% normally), and inflation, even if we see it falling this year, should be structurally higher than in previous decades (phenomenon of de-globalization in particular).

Termes et définitions
1. Fed Funds ( Fed Funds ) Les Fed Funds sont des prêts à court terme effectués entre les banques commerciales aux États-Unis. Les banques…
2. equity. Equity est un terme qui désigne une forme d’investissement à long terme dans une entreprise. Lorsqu’un investisseur achète…
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