All Quiet Except in Korea

December 23, 2010

The dollar has lost 0.7% against the yen and 0.5% versus the Australian and New Zealand dollars but is otherwise very steady with no change against the euro, yuan, and Canadian dollar, a 0.1% uptick against the Swiss franc and a 0.1% downtick versus sterling.

Japanese markets were closed to commemorate the Emperor’s birthday.  North Korea’s Armed Services Minister reportedly threatens use of nuclear weapons in a holy war with the South.

Stocks fell 0.8% in China, 0.3% in Indonesia, and 0.2% in India and Singapore, but such rose by 0.4% in Australia and Taiwan and by 0.3% in New Zealand.  In Europe, the British Ftse and German Dax are 0.1% higher, and the Paris Cac is off 0.1%.  On this day before Christmas Eve, many centers are in abbreviated sessions including the U.S. Treasury market.  Ten-year sovereign debt yields slid two basis points in Great Britain and by one basis point in Germany.

Oil remains above $90, up 0.1% to $90.59 per barrel.  Gold slipped 0.3% to $1383.50 per ounce.

New Zealand reported an unexpected negative growth last quarter, as GDP slid 0.2% and to an on-year pace of 1.5% from 1.9%.  Government spending fell 0.7%.  Manufacturing and construction took the biggest sector hits.

According to British Bankers Association figures, mortgage approvals fell to 29.99K in November from 30.69K in October, and net mortgage lending in the U.K. plumbed to its lowest level since August 1999.  A Bank of England policymaker, Fisher, said he wouldn’t rule out a quarter or so of negative growth in 2011 nor an extension of quantitative easing.

French producer prices firmed 0.4% last month and accelerated to a 4.5% on-year pace from 4.3% in October.  Import prices were 7.7% higher than a year earlier.  French consumer spending on manufactured goods jumped 2.8% in November, returning to positive on-year growth of 1.5% from a drop of 0.3% in the year to October.  Demand for autos shot up 14.9% after a 4.3% drop in the previous month.

Belgian consumer price inflation rose to 3.1% in December from 2.9% in November.  Spanish PPI inflation climbed to 4.4% in November from 4.1% in October.

Revised Dutch GDP figures showed an upward revision to no change in 3Q and an on-year pace of 1.9%, down from 2.2% in 2Q.  Polish unemployment picked up to 11.7% last month, and the 12-month 8.3% rise of retail sales was less than forecast. 

Hong Kong’s current account surplus of HKD 44 billion in 3Q was five times greater than the 2Q surplus.  The Filipino current account surplus of $2.7 billion was 4.7% wider than in 2Q.

There have been more weather-related flight cancellations for travelers in Europe.

In the United States, whose markets along with many others will be closed tomorrow, scheduled data to be released today include personal income and expenditures, durable goods orders, new home sales, the U. Michigan consumer sentiment index, and weekly figures on jobless insurance claims and natural gas inventories.  Canada will be releasing October GDP.

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



Comments are closed.