Dollar Basically Unchanged on Balance

May 29, 2012

The dollar has edged up 0.1% against the yen, Aussie dollar and kiwi and shows no net changes versus sterling, the Swiss franc, euro and yuan.  Swiss central bankers reportedly are making contingency plans in case the euro splits apart.

The 10-year German bund and British gilt yields are steady.  The Japanese 10-year JGB yield fell by 3 basis points.  Spanish 10-year sovereign debt yields rose further and, at nearly 6.5%, are less than 35 bps from last November’s record high.  Italian 6-month bill rates hit a 2012 peak.

Share prices in the Pacific Rim rose by 2.9% in Taiwan, 1.4% in Hong Kong, China, The Philippines and South Korea, and 1.1% in Australia.  The Japanese Nikkei recovered 0.7%, and the German Dax is 0.4% higher.  The Paris Cac edged up 0.1%, and the British Ftse is 0.1% lower.

Oil and gold prices increased 0.3% to $91.15 per barrel and $1575.20 per troy ounce.

Japan released more data. 

  • The jobless rate edged up a tenth percentage point to a 3-month high of 4.6%, and jobs in April were 0.4% lower than a year earlier.  However, the job seekers ratio continued to creep upward, rising to 0.79 from 0.76 in March and 0.73 in January.
  • Real household spending fell 0.9% on month in April but rose 2.6% on year, down from a 3.4% increase in the year to March.  Real disposable income was 2.3% higher than in April 2011.
  • Retail sales dipped 0.3% on month in April but were 5.8% greater than a year earlier.  Large store sales fell by 0.5% on year after posting a 1.3% on-year advance in the first quarter of 2012.
  • The Shoko Chukin index of small business sentiment softened to 47.2 in May from a 47.6 reading in April and 48.7 in March.  The average score in the final quarter of 2011 had been 46.0.

Direct trading between the yen and yuan will begin next month. 

Press reports in China surfaced that the central bank there may begin to cut its interest rates next month.  The prediction helped Asian equities.

Late yesterday came news that Colombia’s central bank retained a 5.25% benchmark interest rate.  Concern about inflation has lessened there.  The central banks of Hungary and Turkey have scheduled interest rate announcements today.

New home sales in Australia rose 6.9% on month in April, the most in 27 months, but such followed a 9.4% dive in March.

South African GDP grew 2.7% annualized in the first quarter and was 2.1% higher than a year before.

Singapore producer price inflation slowed to 1.2% in April from 4.1% in March. 

South Korean business sentiment weakened in June for both manufacturers and non-manufacturers.

Britain’s CBI survey of distributive trade activity unexpectedly jumped 27 percentage points to +21, the best score in 13 months. Such had been at minus 22 just four months ago.

Among five reporting German states, three saw on-year CPI inflation ease in May.  Hesse’s inflation was steady at 1.9%, and Bavaria’s rate edged up a tenth percentage point.  Core inflation remains benign.

German import prices fell by 0.5% last month and to a 12-month 2.3% increase from a gain of 3.1% between March 2011 and March 2012.  Non-oil import prices were 1.4% higher on year for a third straight time.  Export prices rose 0.2% on month and 1.8% from April 2011.

Swedish producer price inflation slid to zero in april from 0.2% in March and 0.5% in February.  M2 expanded 8.1% between April 2011 and April 2012.  Swedish business and consumer confidence exceeded expectations in May.  Norwegian unemployment in February-April averaged only 3.0%.

The UBS Swiss consumption indicator improved to a reading of 1.41 last month from 1.20 in March and 0.90 in February.

The volume of Spanish retail sales posted a considerably larger 11.3% drop in the year to April and even fell by 9.8% accounting for variations in the number of working days. Greek PPI inflation slowed to a year and a half low of 5.1% in April from 6.4% in March and 6.8% in February. 

Scheduled U.S. data releases today feature consumer confidence from the Conference Board, the Dallas Fed manufacturing index, and the Case Shiller house price index.  Texas holds its Republican primary, but Romney already has won the nomination.

Copyright 2012, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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