Dollar Up Slightly

March 23, 2010

On the day after the House approved healthcare reform, the dollar has risen 0.6% against sterling, 0.3% relative to the euro, 0.2% against the yen and Australian dollar and 0.1% against the Canadian, Swiss and New Zealand currencies.

Chicago Fed President Evans implied at least six more months before the fed funds target is raised.

Swiss National Bank President Hildebrand said the SNB will not tolerate excessive appreciation of the franc against the euro.

Harvard Professor Feldstein warned of a significant risk of slide back into recession.

ECB President Trichet called current rate stance “appropriate” and said unconventional liquidity boosts will continue to get phased out.

Stocks are mixed, having fallen by 0.5% in Japan, 0.8% in China, 0.4% in Taiwan and Sri Lanka, 0.4% in Pakistan and 0.2% in New Zealand.  There have been gains of 0.9% in Australia and Malaysia, 0.7% in Indonesia, 1.3% in Thailand, 0.6% in Singapore, 0.3% in Hong Kong, and 0.2% in India.  European markets are up as well, with rises of 0.9% in Britain, 0.8% in France, and 0.5% in Germany.

Ten-year German bund and Japanese JGB yields slid one basis point.

Oil and gold are respectively off 0.1% and up 0.3% at $81.55 per barrel and $1102.30  per troy ounce.

Japanese supermarket sales were 2.4% lower in February than a year earlier.  That was a smaller drop than that of 4.9% in the year to January or in the February-on-February declines of 5.4% in department store sales and 4.7% in convenience store sales.

Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s February 17-18 meeting revealed divided sentiment on the Policy Board regarding economic prospects.

Google ended its censorship of search results in China.  Consumer prices in Singapore rose 0.4% on month and an as-expected 1.0% on year in February.  Taiwanese industrial production posted an on-year advance of 35.17% last month after 70.08% in the year to January.

British consumer prices rose 0.4% on month and 3.0% on year in February, a tenth less than forecast.  The 12-month increases were 3.5% in January and 2.9% in December.  Core inflation slowed to 2.9% from 3.1% in January but exceeded December’s 2.9% and November’s 2.0%.  Retail price inflation was steady at 3.7%, and the RPIX index, the old Bank of England target variable, showed a 12-month rise of 4.2%, down from 4.6%.

Results from the Confederation of British Industries’ (CBI) monthly survey of retailers revealed a greater-than-expected setback to +13 from +23 in February.  The latest reading was the same as printed in November and December.

According the the British Bankers Association data, mortgage approvals amounted to 35.2K in January, same as in December and marginally above expectations.

French business sentiment improved three points to 94 in March.  Such was expected to print at 92.

Serbia’s central bank unexpectedly cut its two-week repo rate by 50 basis points to 9.0%.

Retail sales volume in Hungary rose 0.6% on month but fell 5.6% on year in January.  December had seen an on-year drop of 7.4%.

South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed to 2.8% of GDP last quarter from 3.1% in 3Q09, 4.0% in calendar 2009 and 7.1% of GDP in 2008.  Household consumer spending advanced 1.4% last quarter after declining 1.9% annualized in 3Q09 and by 3.1% last year as a whole.

U.S. data today include the Richmond Fed index, existing home sales, and the FHFA house price index.  Canada reports its index of leading economic indicators.

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

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