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Last month of stable NFP growth in February before sequester brings uncertainty - Alexandra Estiot

Despite the fact that the US labor market was showing signs of improvement at the end of 2012 and in January 2013, many analysts believe that this positive trend might be coming to an end. In the opinion of Alexandra Estiot, Senior Economist at BNP Paribas, the February jobs numbers should still be decent, in the vicinity of 180K-200K, “but spring will be about uncertainty.”

The analyst believes that the direct impact of the US sequester on the labor market will become visible not earlier than April, while the indirect effects might be lasting and harmful. “Disruptions that will come from the furlough of civil servants will damage the good functioning of the overall economy, which is likely to translate into lower production and demand,” she predicts.

American equity markets open cautiously Thursday

The US Stock market experienced a cautious opening Thursday mixed upbeat data in the United States provided pause for investors. In the United States, Initial Jobless Claims (March 3) were reported at just 340K, against expectations of 355K, and down from 370K previously. In addition, Continuing Jobless Claims (February 24) came in at 3.094M, against a consensus of 3.110M. Finally, the US Trade Balance shrunk to $-44.45B in January, against a projected figure of $-43.0B.
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Forex Flash: USD/CAD in pullback to 1.0255/60 and maybe 1.0200/10 – TD Securities

The BoC managed to find a way to hold onto their mild hawkish bias, but rate hikes are now even more distant over the horizon.  “While the CAD sold off sharply on the announcement, the ‘lower for even longer’ message was not entirely surprising considering the string of weak Canadian data recently, and the fact that USD/CAD did not manage to make new highs for the year suggests some softening of the hawkish language was already priced in”, wrote analysts Shaun Osborne and Greg Moore, expecting tomorrow’s employment report to show more give-back of the strong increases in the final quarter of 2012. 
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