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U.S. Economy

·         US manufacturing growth was showing signs of struggling. Markit PMI manufacturing flash decreased to 53.7 in January from 53.8 in December and 54.8 in November. This is the weakest reading in a year, reflecting weakening old & gas activities and weakening export orders due to stronger USD.   

·         US housing market showed limited recovery during December. Existing home sales rebounded 2.4 percent in December after declining 6.3 percent in November. Housing starts rebounded 4.4 percent in December after declining 4.5 percent in November. There is, however, little forward momentum in housing as housing permits declined a monthly 1.9 percent, following a 3.7 percent decrease in November. Homebuilder sentiment was lower than the half a year ago.

Global Economy

·         IMF downgraded its forecast for 2015 global growth to 3.5% from the previous estimate of 3.8% made in October.

·         The year-over-year Chinese GDP growth (7.3%) was stronger than expected, but the growth is slowing.

·         The European Central Bank launched on an ambitious quantitative easing program. But as demonstrated in the U.S. and Japan, while the QE program will be successful in pushing up asset prices to enrich the richest, it will do little to improve real economy and the lives of common people.  

·         Bank of Canada announced an unexpected rate cut to 0.75%, in an effort to counter the negative impact of low oil price on its economy.