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Blinken: “Ukraine will become a member of NATO”

Friday Feeling, statement from Blinken on Ukraine's membership to NATO, release of US labour market data this afternoon, and what's happening today.

Friday Feeling

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Blinken: “Ukraine will become a member of NATO”

Yesterday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Ukraine will one day gain membership into Nato. This came as senior politicians met at the Nato headquarters in Brussels for bilateral meetings with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Speaking to reporters, Secretary Blinken subsequently said that “Ukraine will become a member of Nato. Our purpose at the summit is to help build a bridge to that membership”.

Blinken’s remarks comes as additional funding for Ukraine continues to be held up in the US House of Representatives. This foreign aid package – worth some $95bn – has $60bn earmarked for Ukraine however many Republican representatives are arguing that the package should be contingent on further funds being released for the US’s southern border with Mexico.

Speaking on this subject Blinken said that “it’s imperative that Congress move forward with a supplemental budget request that President Biden made for additional assistance to Ukraine.  It’s not only in Ukraine’s interest; it’s profoundly in our own.” Its been reported that Nato are also considering a $100bn aid plan for Ukraine, though some countries are sceptical over whether this is a commitment that the bloc could meet.

Foreign ministers and senior officials from NATO are meeting in Brussels this week as the organisation marks its 75th anniversary. The alliance has only recently welcomed Sweden into the bloc as the Nordic country comes the 32nd country to join, ending two centuries of Stockholm’s policy of neutrality.

As leaders meet in Brussels against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, rising political tensions in the middle east and increasingly fragile relationships with Beijing, many are looking to spending commitments. Indeed, it’s estimated that two thirds of the organisation’s countries will meet this target, as political pressure is mounting on those that will fall short.

US Labour Market Data

At 1330 this afternoon, attention will turn to the release of US labour market data. Here, the general market consensus is expecting a Nonfarms payroll print of 200,000 marking a slowdown from last month’s figure of 275,000.

If the consensus is realised, March’s payrolls number would also mark the lowest reading in four months. While this may be indicative of some softening in the world’s largest economy’s jobs market, the US labour market continues to historically tight.

Indeed, while analysts are pointing to a softer print it remains well above the 100,000 figure that last year Powell cited as a level which is in line with population growth while not overly impacting inflationary pressures.

Elsewhere, unemployment is expected to remain unchanged at 3.6%, while average hourly earnings are expected to have risen 0.3% – a slight uptick from last month’s figure of 0.1%. Again, if this is realised, annual wage growth will be at its lowest level since June 2021.

Today’s Data

Away from US labour market data, today attention will also be firmly on Eurozone retail sales which are released at 10:00. Here, retail sales are expected to have fallen 1.3% on an annualised basis and 0.4% on a monthly basis.

Canadian unemployment data will also be released at 13:30 where the general market consensus is pointing to print of 5.9% up 10bps from February’s figure.

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