Across-the-Board Dollar Gain in Absence of Meaningful Data News

May 18, 2015

Relative to last week’s closing levels, the dollar has risen 1.2% against the kiwi, 0.9% relative to the loonie, 0.8% vis-a-vis the euro, 0.7% versus the Swiss franc, 0.6% against the Australian dollar , 0.4% versus the yen and 0.3% relative to sterling.

The DOW opened comparatively steady, but share prices are down by 1.9% in Greece, 1.5% in Italy, 1.3% in Australia, 0.9% in China, 0.8% in Hong Kong, 0.6% in Spain, 0.3% in France and 0.2% in Great Britain.  Equities gained 0.8% in Japan, 0.6% in Germany and 1.3% in India, in contrast.

10-year sovereign debt yields have climbed six basis points in Greece, 5 bps in the United States and U.K., and 2 bps in Germany but have also settled back another two bps in Japan.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil firmed 0.6% to $60.37 per barrel.  Comex gold is 0.2% higher at $1,227.80 per troy ounce.

Canada is celebrating Victoria Day.

Core domestic machinery orders in Japan increased by a significantly greater-than-forecast 2.9% in March and 6.3% in the first quarter.  But government and foreign orders fell in the latest month by 19.3% and 13.5%, so total machinery orders went up 1.8%.  Core domestic machinery orders posted an 0n-year gain of 2.6% in March but are forecast by officials to be 7.4% lower in 2Q than their average 1Q level.

Japan’s tertiary index, a gauge of service sector activity, fell 1.0% in March, their first month-on-month decrease since April 2014.  The tertiary index was 2.7% lower than a year earlier and posted a 1.5% on-year slide in the first quarter.

Japanese industrial production in March was revised to a decline of 0.8% from a dip of 0.3% reported initially.  The drop in industrial shipments also got revised upward.  Capacity usage fell 1.2% on month and by 2.7% on year, while capacity recorded decreases of 0.1% from February and 0.6% from March 2014.

Britain’s Rightmove house price index posted its first decline (0.1%) of 2015 in May, trimming the 12-month rate of increase to 2.5% from 4.7% in April and 8.2% in January.

Italy’s seasonally adjusted EUR 3.89 billion trade surplus in March was 12.8% narrower than the February surplus, but the unadjusted EUR 4.06 billion surplus was 14.7% wider than the surplus in March 2014.

Swiss retail sales volume increased 0.7% in March, trimming its on-year slide by 0.3 percentage points from a 12-1/2 year high of 3.1% in February to 2.8% in the ensuing month.

Real GDP growth in Thailand slowed to 0.3% in the first quarter, a fourth as much as in the final quarter of 2014, but GDP was 3.0% greater than in 1Q14.  Singapore’s trade surplus in April was 31% smaller than the March surplus.

The confidence of U.S. homebuilders slipped unexpectedly in May to a 2-month low of 54 according to the NAHB index from 56 in April, 52 in March and 55 in February.

Copyright 2015, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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