Between Japanese Retail Sales and U.S. GDP this Ascension Day

May 29, 2014

A number of European markets were closed today in observance of Ascension Day.

The first post-tax retail sales data in Japan were reported.  Month-on-month (13.7%) and on-year declines (4.4%) were greater than forecast and the largest setbacks in three years.  Large-store sales dived 6.8% between April 2013 and April 2014, as department store sales and supermarket sales fell by 10.1% and 5.1%.

A member of the Bank of Japan Board, Shirai, said it might take a bit longer to secure 2% core CPI inflation than planned.

Australian business investment sank 4.2% on quarter and 5.0% on year in the first quarter, but officials revised projected investment in fiscal 2014/15 to show a smaller drop.  New home sales in Australia went up 2.9% in April, their fourth straight increase.

As expected, the Central Bank of Brazil’s policy committee, Copom, left the Selic interest rate unchanged at 11.0%.  This pause ends a year-long string of tightenings amid weakening domestic growth.

The yen strengthened to 137.97 per euro, its firmest level in almost four months.

The dollar fell overnight by 0.7% against the Australian dollar, 0.3% relative to the yen, 0.2% vis-a-vis the euro and Swiss franc, and 0.1% against the loonie and sterling.  The kiwi is steady, and the yuan is off 0.1%.

Share prices in the Pacific Rim fell by 1.3% in Indonesia, 0.7% in China, 0.3% in Hong Kong and 0.2% in South Korea, but markets rose 0.9% in Singapore, 0.4% in Indonesia and 0.1% in Japan.

The 10-year Japanese JGB yield slid another basis point to 0.56%.  The 10-year British gilt also dropped a basis point to 2.54%.  A lower Treasury yield is indicated by futures.

The price of gold fell 0.5% to $1,253.70 per ounce, and WTI oil is 0.1% firmer at $102.83 per ounce.

Markets are anticipating a revision of 1Q U.S. GDP growth to a sub-zero reading from 0.1% reported last month.  Other U.S. data getting released today include pending home sales and weekly jobless insurance claims.  Canada will be releasing 1Q current account data.

Revised Spanish GDP data show first-quarter growth of 0.4% from 4Q13 and 0.5% from a year earlier.

GDP in the Philippines advanced 1.2% last quarter and 5.7% from the first quarter of 2013.

Producer prices in Singapore rose 0.4% on month and 1.4% on year in April.  South African producer prices increased 1.0% on month and 8.8% on year, also in April.  The South Korean current account generated a $7.1 billion surplus in March.

Industrial production in Cyprus was 1.3% lower in March than a year earlier. Hungarian unemployment unexpectedly fell to 8.1% in February-April from 8.3% in January-March.

Copyright 2014, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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