Spotlight on the U.S.

September 13, 2013

Currency markets have been marking time ahead of the U.S. release of retail sales, producer prices, and the latest Reuters/U. Michigan reading of U.S. consumer confidence.  The dollar is unchanged against the yuan, loonie and sterling.  It is 0.1% softer versus the kiwi and has edged up 0.1% relative to the euro, Swissie, and yen.  The dollar also gained 0.2% versus the Australian dollar.

Share prices are somewhat lower, with drops of 1.0% in the Philippines, 0.7% in China and Taiwan, and 0.4% in Australia.  Japan’s Nikkei edged 0.1% higher, but in Europe, equities have so far softened 0.3% in Britain and Italay, 0.2% in Spain and France, and 0.1% in Germany.

Gold and oil prices have dropped 1.3% to $1313.30 per ounce and 1.0% to $107.53 per dollar.

The ten-year German bund and British gilt yields firmed three and one basis points, respectively, while the Japanese JGB is unchanged.

Central banks in Russia, Chile and Peru left their key interest rates unchanged at 8.25%, 5.0%, and 4.25%.   Each decision was as expected.

A report out of the Japanese Nikkei press claims that President Obama will nominate Larry Summers next week to be the next Fed Chairman, subject to senate confirmation.

Secretary of State John Kerry characterized talks as constructive that he had with his Russian counterpart over a diplomatic solution regarding Syrian chemical weapons.

Ezone finance ministers are meeting in Lithuania to discuss Cyprus mainly.

Jobs in the euro area dipped 0.1% in the second quarter and remained 1.0% lower from a year earlier.  Their decline between 1Q12 and 1Q13 also was 1.0%.  Employment suffered particularly big on-year declines in 2Q of 4.3% in Greece, 3.7% in Spain, 4.0% in Portugal and 2.2% in Ireland.

British construction output climbed 2.2% on month and 2.0% on year in July.

Swedish on-year GDP growth was revised down a half percentage point to just 0.1% in the second quarter.  GDP fell 0.2% sequentially between 1Q and 2Q13.

The Swiss PPI/import price index rose 0.2% both on month and on year in August.  Producer prices were steady versus July, while import prices rose 0.5%.

Greek import prices fell by 2.8% between July 2012 and July 2013 and were unchanged compared to June.

Industrial production growth accelerated in Hungary to a 12-month increase of 2.5% in July from 1.7% in June.

Spain’s index of leading economic indicators increased 0.5% in July, while the index of coincident economic indicators dipped by 0.1%.

Finland’s current account swung from a EUR 310 million surplus in June to a EUR 120 million deficit in July, but the year-to-date balance remains in deficit totaling EUR 1.5 billion.  In August, Finnish consumer prices fell 0.2% on month and to a 12-month rise of 1.2% from 1.6%.

Japan’s government upwardly revised its assessment of the economy for a fourth time in the last five months, asserting that it is now heading toward a gradual recovery.  Japanese industrial production was revised slightly higher to a monthly increase of 3.4% in July from 3.2% reported initially.  Output had dropped 3.1% in June, but July’s level was 1.9% greater than the 2Q average and 1.8% above its year-earlier level.  Capacity use increased 3.7% in the latest month, while capacity dipped 0.3%.

New Zealand reported 1) that food prices fell 0.5% on month and to a 12-month increase of just 0.3% in August; 2) that the business purchasing managers index had dropped two points to 57.5 in August; and 3) that consumer confidence declined 3.4% this month, thus erasing August’s 2.7% advance.

Retail sales in Singapore slumped 5.3% on month and by a larger 7.8% on year. 

Along with the aforementioned retail sales, PPI, and U. Michigan index, U.S. business inventories data will be reported today.  Next week’s mega-event will be the FOMC announcement and press conference; some tapering is widely anticipated.  Canadian capacity usage gets reported today.

Copyright 2013, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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