U.S. stock futures are pointing to a higher open on inauguration day in the U.S. that will see a transition of power in the White House and a new era of political governing under president- elect Donald Trump.
There are no major economic reports released due today and the focus of attention will remain on Trump’s upcoming inauguration speech in Washington D.C. and corporate earnings results.
Yesterday Fed Chairwomen Janet Yellen gave a speech at Stanford University and said that she expects further strengthening in the labor conditions as the U.S. economy continues to expand at a “moderate pace” but admitted that economic growth will be restrained in the near term due to monetary policy tightening in the U.S. and weak foreign demand.
“Second, economic growth more broadly seems unlikely to pick up markedly in the near term given the ongoing restraint from weak foreign demand and other factors that I mentioned, particularly in an environment in which monetary policy is likely to become gradually less accommodative” Yellen said at Stanford University’s Institute For Policy Research.
Yellen pointed out that “we are now much closer to the FOMC’s 2 percent objective than we were just a year ago” and the pace of labor market improvement in the U.S. has slowed down over the past couple of years with average payroll gains moderating from 250,000 per month in 2014 to 180,000 last year while the unemployment rate declined 1-3/4 percentage points combined over 2014 and 2015 compared with only 1/4 percentage point in 2016.
Yellen said that she considers it prudent to adjust the stance of monetary policy “gradually over time” to help achieve sustainable growth with the labor market operating at full employment and inflation running at about 2 percent.
China’s Latest GDP Figures
According to preliminary estimates from China’s National Bureau of Statistics released today, China’s GDP rose to 6.8 percent during the 4th quarter of 2016 and 6.7 percent during 2016.