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Monthly reports for March included the Index of Leading Indicators, up slightly. The Empire State survey showed a little contraction; the Philly Fed survey, a little expansion. Wholesale inventories increased, while sales were flat. Industrial production declined significantly. Housing starts rebounded, but by less than expected. On the other hand, revised housing permits for February tied their November high. Both nominal and real retail sales also increased, taking back their February decline. Consumer sentiment about the present and the future increased.
The dollar rallied early in the aftermath of warmer U.S. CPI data, though with corporate earnings under some pressure this quarter, renewed Greece concerns, lower yields, and a subsequent Wall Street sell-off, the greenback soon moved generally lower again. EUR-USD fell from session highs of 1.0844 after the data, falling to a low of 1.0733 before heading higher again. USD-JPY managed 119.26 highs, though gave back the 119 handle into the London close, before basing at 118. 82.
High levels of global slack are the primary cause of deflationary pressures. Weak industrial production in the EU and UK is lowering demand for industrial inputs; Japan’s depressed capacity utilization rate is contributing to the phenomena. Low US and EU labor utilization levels are depressing consumer demand. Finally, in response to China’s insatiable raw materials appetite, Australian business overbuilt their basic materials sector, flooding the market with raw materials at literally the worst time possible. The combined impact of t
EUR-USD vaulted to a 10-day high of 1.0833 on breaking yesterday's peak at 1.0817 and triggering a batch of buy stops through 1.0820. The move comes despite the dollar's yield advantage holding up well, near 180 bp at the 10-year T-note versus Bund maturity. Recent EUR-USD gains have mostly been prompted by a run of softer U.S. data that has all but switched off chances of a Fed tightening as soon as June.
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