Not Much Happening As U.S. Honors Martin Luther King’s Birthday

January 18, 2010

The dollar fell 0.5% against sterling but is narrowly mixed otherwise with dips of 0.2% against the Canadian and Australian dollars and 0.1% versus the yen and Swissy, no change against the kiwi, and an uptick of 0.1% relative to the euro.

The Nikkkei fell 1.2%, but the German Dax and British Ftse are trading 0.5% firmer.  Stocks also fell 0.0% in Hong Kong, 0.6% in South Korea and 1.0% in Sri Lanka but are up 0.5% in India and China and by 0.2% in Australia.

Ten-year bund and JGB yields slid a basis point, and the 10-year gilt is off 2 basis points.

Oil prices have broken a losing streak with a 0.5% rise to $78.36 per barrel.  Likewise, gold firmed 0.4% to $1135 per ounce.

Britain’s Rightmove house price index increased 0.4% in January and posted a 4.1% gain from January 2009, the biggest on-year advance in 22 months.

In conjunction with the quarterly meeting of Bank of Japan branch managers, Governor Shirakawa called the fight to end deflation a “crucial challenge” and promised continuing ultra-loose monetary policy.

Japanese industrial production growth in November was revised to 2.2% from a preliminary 2.6%.  Output fell just 4.2% from a year earlier after dropping 20.1% in the year to 3Q09 and 15.1% in the year to October.  The inventory ratio slumped 3.4% and 9.2% from November 2009.  Capacity usage and capacity climbed 3.2% and 0.5% in the latest month.

In Australia, the TD-MI inflation gauge accelerated to 2.6% in December, which is in the middle of the central bank target range.  New Zealand house prices jumped 1.4% in December and by 9.6% over the last 12 reported months.

South Africa’s purchasing managers factory index improved for a fifth consecutive time, climbing to 52.5 in December from 50.3 in November.

Italy’s trade deficit of EUR 790 million in November was 29.5% smaller than a year earlier.  Exports fell 9.1% over the past year, however.

Consumer confidence in Turkey edged up 0.4 points to 78.8 in December despite a deterioration in several sub-components of the index.

IMF chief Strauss-Kahn warned that a double-dip global recession is possible.

The ECB has decided to halt its Swiss franc-denominated refinancing operations.

U.S. markets will be closed for Martin Luther King’s birthdayCanada releases data on international securities transactions today, while the Bank of Canada is slated to make the first of its eight annual interest rate announcements tomorrow.  Bank of Canada officials have said repeatedly that unless the inflation outlook changes, rates will not be lifted before the middle of this year.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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