The US$ is higher today after a string of strong secondary data lent it support, with Import Prices, Jobless Claims, Empire Manufacturing all better than expected. Comments from US trade adviser, Robert Navarro, playing down the prospects of a trade war also underpinned both the dollar and to the US stock Indices, which have been rangebound and are mixed at the end of the session. The metals are lower, care of the stronger dollar, while WTI is slightly higher.
In terms of the data from the US, the weekly initial jobless claims dropped -4k to 22k, in line with expectation while the continuing claims rose by 4k to 1.879mio. The NY Empire state manufacturing index rose sharply to 22.5, up from 13.1, and beat expectation of 15.0. On the other side of the coin, the Philly Fed manufacturing survey dropped to 22.3, down from 25.8 and missed expectation of 23.0. Earlier in the day, the Chf showed no reaction to the SNB decision to leave rates on hold.
The key focus on Friday will be the EU CPI (exp 0.2%mm, 1.2%yy; Core, exp 0.3% mm, 1.2%yy) although ahead of that we get the NZ Business PMI, a speech from the RBA’s Debelle and the monthly Japanese Capacity Utilisation and Industrial Production figures. From the US, the Housing Starts and Building Permits for February are due, along with the Industrial Production, Capacity Utilisation Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index – if these are generally solid, expect another run higher for the US$. Have a good weekend.
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