Foreign Exchange Market Update
April 17, 2015
Indicative Interbank spot sell rates only as of 8:30 AM PST.
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The U.S. dollar declined, extending weekly losses against its major counterparts, as signs of slowing momentum in the U.S. economy undermined the prospects of an early increase in interest rates. U.S dollar fell versus all of its 16 major peers this week after below-forecast readings for American housing, factories and retailers added to concern about the labor market. The dollar weakened 0.5 percent to $1.0810 per euro as of 8:31 a.m. New York time, extending this week’s decline to 1.9 percent, depreciated 0.1 percent to 118.91 yen, having slipped 1.1 percent since April 10.
The British pound posted its biggest weekly gain versus the dollar in almost two years as data signaling U.K. economic strength overshadowed volatility caused by a looming election that’s still too close to call.
Pound strengthened against 13 of its 16 major counterparts this week as an Office for National Statistics report on Friday showed accelerating U.K. wage growth. That capped a week in which data signaled retail sales rose last month. That’s cementing the Bank of England’s status as the next central bank most likely to raise interest rates after the Federal Reserve. The pound rose 2.1 percent this week to $1.4978 as of 5 p.m. London time on Friday, when it touched $1.5054, the highest since March 18. That’s the biggest weekly gain versus the U.S. currency since June 7, 2013. Pound appreciated 0.4 percent from April 10 to 72.16 pence per euro.
Canada’s core inflation rate was the fastest in more than six years in March, led by rising costs for everything from a text message to fresh meat and a new car. The core consumer price index, which excludes gasoline and seven other items with volatile prices, quickened to 2.4 percent from 2.1 percent in February, the fastest since December 2008, Statistics Canada reported Friday from Ottawa. The Bank of Canada policy makers predicted on Wednesday inflation will return to target in the first quarter of 2016, about a year earlier than they forecast in January, citing a weaker currency that is making imports more expensive. Canada’s currency appreciated after the inflation report, climbing as much as 0.8 percent to C$1.2088 per U.S. dollar, the strongest since Jan. 21. Yields on benchmark government two-year bonds rose 4 basis points to 0.62 percent, the third straight increase. The central bank sets interest rates to keep inflation in the middle of a 1 percent to 3 percent band. The core rate has exceeded 2 percent since August. The total inflation rate is down from 2.4 percent in October.
The offshore yuan completed the biggest weekly advance in a month as Chinese authorities pledged support for the currency and a slowing economy spurred speculation the government will take steps to boost growth. The nation can’t rely on a declining yuan to help exports and doesn’t want further devaluation, Premier Li Keqiang said in an interview this week. China has taken “very positive steps” to support its efforts to include the yuan in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket of reserve currencies, Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Washington. The offshore yuan advanced 0.42 percent this week to 6.1923 a dollar as of 5:44 p.m. in Hong Kong. It earlier climbed to a four-month high of 6.1863. In Shanghai, the currency rose 0.18 percent from April 10 to close at 6.1978, China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices show.
This market update is prepared by Cathay Bank for informational purposes only and does not constitute any form of legal, tax or investment advice, nor should it be considered an assurance or guarantee of future exchange rate movements or trends. This information is provided without regard to the specific objectives, financial situation or needs of any recipient. Cathay Bank does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of this market update.