US markets were traded lower on Friday. Unemployment rate in January rose to 5.7% from 5.6% in December. Non-Farm Payrolls dropped to 257 thousand from 320 thousand. Investors consider the most important thing that for the first time since 1994 Non-Farm Payrolls has been outperforming the level of 200 thousand for 11 consecutive months. They deem it indicates stable economic development and raises the possibility of the Fed rate hike in the second half of 2015. As we have already mentioned, the expected rate hike pushes the US dollar index higher and stock prices lower, as observed on Friday. The Dow added 3.8%, showing the record close since January 2013. The trading volume on US exchanges was 3% lower than the 5-day average and made up 7.7 billion stocks. Major American macroeconomic data is not expected today. US stock indices futures are currently traded considerably lower.
European stock indices are down today for the second straight day. The German statistics released on Friday was negative. German industrial production in December was worse-than-expected. Positive data on German Trade Balance reported this morning has made up for these losses. In our opinion, European stocks are down because of the Greece situation risks. EU Finance Ministers will hold a meeting regarding the economic situation in Greece on February 11. The current loan agreement between Greece and the EU is expired on February, 28. To extend the agreement, the request should be sent by February 16th inclusive. Recall that new Greek authorities insist on writing off the external debt in the amount of 240 billion euro, and not on the debt restructuring as proposed by the European Union. Significant economic data will not be reported today in the EU.
Nikkei upped on Friday as yen weakened greatly against the US dollar following the US labour market data release. Today it has opened with a gap up on positive Japanese macroeconomic data. Stocks of large exporters such as Honda Motor and Nissan Motor added about 1% each. However, after higher opening Nikkei started to fall in tandem with the global downtrend, helped by weak Chinese data. Today at 23:50 СЕТ Q4 Bank lending will be reported in Japan.
Chinese exports in January tumbled 3.3%, while imports plunged 19.9%. Of course, the country posted a record trade surplus. However, investors believe that such trade performance indicates a possible production slowdown. It may drag lower commodity futures, especially copper. Copper imports to China in January amounted to 410 thousand, almost unchanged compared with December figures. Nevertheless, it dipped 24% compared with January 2014.
Crude oil prices slipped following dismal Chinese Trade Balance release. Oil imports in January reached 6.6 million barrels per day, only 0.6% below the level of 2014.
According to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), last week gold and silver net long positions reduced for the first time over six weeks. Note that a week earlier gold net long position hit the two-year high. Gold prices added 8% in January, the record monthly growth over three years. We deem the possible increased Greek risks may bolster the precious metals demand.