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Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Luci Ellis cautioned that wage growth may need a longer time to show an upward trend even if the country's unemployment rate reaches the central bank's projected full employment level.

Despite a solid year 2017 that saw around 400, 000 new jobs created, Australia's unemployment rate rose in December to 5.5 percent as more people joined the workforce. Last year, the RBA projected the level of Australia's unemployment rate at which wage growth begins to gain momentum- or non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemployment at five percent.

In a speech in Sydney, Ellis said that since last year, the RBA has not seen a justification to change that broad assessment. But they are still keeping in mind that as the figures are being reached, there is a threat that there will be more room to come down before wage growth gains momentum,

Ellis underlined the three key issues that are plaguing the economy: how much spare capacity it has, how much wage growth and inflation will rise and how resilient will consumption growth be if income growth continues to be weak.

Related news

The U.S. trade deficit slid to a seven-month low in April as exports climbed to a record high, bolstered by an increase in shipments of industrial materials and soybeans.

The Commerce Department said the trade gap fell 2.1 percent to $46.2 billion, the smallest deficit since September. Data for March was revised to show the trade deficit declining to $47.2 billion, instead of priorly reported $49 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had estimated the trade deficit unchanged at $49 billion in April.

Goods trade deficit with China increased 8.1 percent to $28.0 billion in April. The deficit with Mexico fell to 29.8 percent to $5.7 billion in April. The U.S. had a $0.8 billion goods trade deficit with Canada in April. Exports to China dropped 17.1 percent during the period.

In April, exports of goods and services rose 0.3 percent to a record $211.2 billion. Exports were propped up by a $1.3 billion increase in deliveries of industrial supplies and materials such as fuel oil and petroleum products.

Exports of industrial supplies and materials were the highest on record in April. Soybean exports increased $0.3 billion and corn shipments also rose by a similar amount. But exports of commercial aircraft tumbled $2.8 billion.

Imports of goods and services edged down 0.2 percent to $257.4 billion in April. Imports of consumer goods dropped $2.8 billion, weighed by a $2.2 billion decline in imports of cellphones and other household goods. Motor vehicle imports slid $1.0 billion.Crude oil imports rose $1.0 billion during the month. Imports from China were unchanged in April.

When adjusted for inflation, the trade gap fell to $77.5 billion from $78.2 billion in March. The real trade deficit stood below its $82.5 billion average in the first quarter.

If the trend in the real trade deficit is maintained, trade could add to gross domestic product in Q2 after having a neutral effect in the January-March period.

Solid data ranging from manufacturing to consumer spending and the labor market prompted the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to project that economic growth in the second quarter will surpass a 4.0 percent annualized rate. The economy expanded at a 2.2 percent pace in the first quarter.

The European Central Bank will discuss next week whether to halt bond purchases later this 2018, the bank's top economist Peter Praet said on Wednesday, a hawkish rhetoric perceived preparing investors for another rollback in stimulus.

After stoking growth with a massive 2.55 trillion euro bond-buying programme, ECB policy makers must make a decision on the timetable of the quantitative easing scheme as the threat of deflation is long eliminated and the bloc is headed for its best growth streak in a decade.

While ECB policymakers broadly agree that the bond-buying scheme should end this year, ECB President has avoided any official debate on the topic of winding down the program, as he looks for more proof that inflation is on a sustained recovery.

However, comments from Peter Praete, a close ally of the ECB president, indicated that the central bank is encouraged by the increase in inflation, increasing the prospects that a decision may come sooner rather than later.

In his last remarks before ECB's next policy meeting, Praet said that the Governing Council will have to evaluate whether the progress so far has been enough to warrant a gradual unwinding of their bond purchases in their meeting next week.

Eurozone bond yields climbed and the euro touched a 10-day peak versus the dollar on the comments from Praet, perceived as one of the most dovish members of the Governing Council.

Several analysts perceived the comment as an indication that a decision is coming at the June 14 meeting. Others saw it as a kickstart to a debate that will likely reach its end and lead to a decision in July.

Tags: Policy

Wall Street index climbed on Wednesday, receiving a boost from financial stocks as investors focused on solid economic data and trade war concerns went to the background while the Nasdaq notched its third consecutive record closing high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 346.41 points, or 1.4 percent, to 25,146.39. The S&P 500 rose 23.55 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,772.35 and the Nasdaq Composite increased 51.38 points, or 0.67 percent, to 7,689.24.

Late in the trading day, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a G7 summit this week.

While he said that Trump is not retreating from the tough stance he has taken on trade, the comments seemed to reassure investors.

Earlier reports citing people privy to the matter said that U.S. officials were considering an offer by China to import an additional $70 billion of American gods over a year as the Chinese government attempts to prevent a possible trade war.

Last week, Trump pushed on with imposing tariffs- 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on Canada, the EU and Mexico, with Mexico responding by hitting back with tariffs on American products including steel, pork and bourbon.

The S&P financial sector, which advanced 1.8 percent, was the S&P's biggest gainer as bank stocks rose along Treasury yields. Higher interest rates tend to boost bank profits. The bank index edged up 2.3 percent as the sector was also helped by an increase in mortgage applications for the first time in seven weeks.

The 10-year Treasury note yield increased close to a two-week high after data indicated that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly declined to a seven-month low in April, supporting the outlook for an acceleration of domestic economic growth in the second quarter.