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U.S. Review

  · The U.S. economy grew 2.6% annualized in 2014 Q4, weaker than the expectation of 3.2%. Despite a 4-year high 2.4%, it was well below some predictions of 3% at the beginning of the year. The slower growth was not surprising, given the insufficient demand created by slow wage growth and limited government investment.

  · January’s Non-farm Payroll report showed 257,000 job gains versus expectation of 230,000, and unemployment rate rised slightly to 5.7%. Labor participation rate still stuck around the lowest level in 30 years.

  · Wage growth continued to be sluggish. Though hourly wage was up 0.5% in January, it slipped 0.2% in December, and its gain in the past year was only 2.2%.

  · The ISM manufacturing reports for January pointed to a slower pace of growth, although it is still in expansion territory. Factory orders slid another 3.4% after declining 1.7% in November.

  · In December, the U.S. trade deficit grew to $46.6 billion from a revised $39.8 billion in November, with exports falling 0.8% while imports rising 2.2%. That suggested a likely downward revision of Q4 GDP growth.


Global Review

  · The policy of the newly elected leftist Syriza party in Greece has won the support from 70% of the population and raised their hope of lessening the austerity program forced upon them by creditor nations. The refusal of other European nations to cooperate has increased the chance of Greece's exit from the Eurozone.

  · The Canadian job market added 35,400 net new jobs in January. However, full-time payrolls fell 11,800 indicating the growth was all in part-time jobs. The impact mainly came from oil and natural gas sectors.

  · Last week, the unexpected interest rate cut of Reserve Bank of Australia was surprising but reasonable considering its export-oriented economy. Australian Dollars have been declined 17% to US Dollars since September.