A lackluster U.S. jobs report, the ascent of the Chinese yuan and a Greek yoghurt recall top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
Unemployment rate falls to 7.3 percent
US employers added 169,000 jobs in August and fewer in July than previously thought, according to the Associated Press. While the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest in nearly five years, the Labor Department indicates it is because many Americans just stopped looking for work. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work dropped to its lowest level in 35 years. July’s job gains were adjusted from 164,000 down to only 104,000. The weaker jobs picture could make the Federal Reserve hesitate on its decision to ease the bond buyback program.
US Treasury notes touch 3 percent
Government bond prices fell ahead of today’s jobs reports, setting the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to potentially breach 3 percent for the first time in two years. The Wall Street Journal indicates that Thursday’s selloff marked the third consecutive day Treasury prices declined and traders said they expect further selling. Net outflows from US bond funds and exchange traded funds totaled $123.5 billion since June. Last week, net short positions in the Treasury futures market reached the highest level since April 2010.
Chinese yuan joins world’s most traded currencies
The Chinese yuan has become one of the top 10 traded currencies in 2013, rising to No. 9 on the list due to “significant expansion” in offshore trading. The Associated Press reports that the Bank for International Settlements indicates that the yuan jumped from no.17 on the list in 2010 up to its current place of no.9. Turnover in trades involving the yuan surged to $120 billion a day on average in April 2013, three and a half times more than the $34 billion in 2010. The US dollar, in comparison, trades about $4.7 trillion daily. The Chinese government would like the yuan to become an international currency and have been promoting its use as an alternative to the dollar.
JP Morgan to end student loans
JP Morgan Chase & Co announced on Thursday that it is exiting the student loan market effective October 12. According to the Wall Street Journal, JP Morgan’s departure leaves Wells Fargo in the market as the only large US commercial bank still making student loans. Big banks have been leaving the market since 2009 when President Obama indicated the federal government would become much more active in making loans directly to students. In 2011-12, banks made $8.1 billion in student loans compared to $25.2 billion in 2007-08. Banks and other private lenders now account for only 15 percent of the outstanding student debt in the US.
Chobani recalls some Greek yogurt cups
Chobani says it is recalling some of its Greek yogurt cups that were affected by mold. According to USA Today, the recall comes about a week after the company first started asking retailers to pull the products from shelves. The company says that the affected products came from its Idaho facility and represents less than 5 percent of total production. The containers are marked with the code16-012 and expiration dates of Sept 11 to Oct 7. Mold allegedly became a problem because Chobani doesn’t’ use preservatives in its products.