April 16, 2014
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The U.S. dollar pared losses versus the euro as data showed U.S. industrial production rose more than forecast in March. Output at factories, mines and utilities climbed 0.7 percent after a revised 1.2 percent increase the prior month, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington.
The British pound rose after the U.K. jobless rate slipped below the Bank of England’s threshold for considering an interest rate increase. The pound approached a four-year high versus the U.S. dollar as the unemployment rate dropped below the 7 percent threshold that Bank of England Governor mark Carney set as an initial guide for considering increasing interest rates. The report also showed that wage growth accelerated in the period to 1.7 percent, matching the inflation rate in February. The pound rose 0.4 percent to $1.6795 and reached $1.6818. It climbed to $1.6823 on Feb. 17, the highest level since November 2009. Sterling strengthened 0.4 percent to 82.23 pence per euro.
The euro area’s core inflation rate fell more than initially estimated in March, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to take action to boost prices. The annual core rate, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, dipped to 0.7 percent from 1 percent the prior month, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s below Eurostat’s March 31 estimate of 0.8 percent. The ECB is considering further monetary stimulus to maintain price stability and has said policy makers are “unanimous” in their willingness to use unconventional measures if needed. The euro’s gain of more than 5 percent against the dollar in the past year has helped depress inflation, which is currently at about a quarter of the central bank’s goal. The euro was little changed at 1.3821 U.S. dollar.
The Australian dollar recovered from a six-day low Wednesday after China's March-quarter GDP wasn't quite as weak as expected. That followed an intraday swoon after lower-than-expected New Zealand inflation data. New Zealand’s dollar slumped after inflation unexpectedly slowed and dairy prices extended a decline. The kiwi fell against all of its 16 major counterparts as Statistics New Zealand said the annual inflation rate slowed to 1.5 percent in the first quarter from 1.6 percent in the final three months of 2013 while Economists predicted acceleration to 1.7 percent. The kiwi declined 0.4 percent to 86.05 U.S. cents after sliding 0.5 percent yesterday. The Aussie was trading around 93.78 U.S. cents versus 93.92 late Tuesday.
The Canadian dollar touched its lowest point in over a week after the Bank of Canada maintained a neutral bias on interest rates and said a forecast pickup in business investment has been slow to materialize. The currency fell against most of its major peers as the central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 1 percent for the 29th straight policy meeting. The economy’s recovery “hinges critically” on a shift in demand from indebted consumers to exports and business investment, which will be aided by a weaker Canadian dollar and rising U.S. orders, the central bank said in a statement today. The loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the image of the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, depreciated as much as 0.4 percent to C$1.1024 per U.S. dollar, the weakest since April 4, before trading at C$1.1007 at 11:19 a.m. in Toronto, down 0.3 percent. One loonie buys 90.85 U.S. cents. The Canadian dollar has been the worst-performing of the greenback’s 16 major peers this year as shifts in the Bank of Canada’s outlook prompted bets it would signal a need for easier monetary policy to spur inflation and boost exports. The central bank’s forecast assumes the currency will stay in its recent trading range around 91 U.S. cents.
The Japanese yen fell the most in more than two weeks against the dollar after data showed China’s economic growth slowed less in the first quarter than analysts forecast, damping demand for safer assets. Japan’s currency dropped against most of its 16 major peers as the nation’s stocks gained and central bank Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament it wasn’t appropriate to discuss an exit from stimulus at such an early stage. The yen depreciated 0.4 percent to 102.32 per dollar at 11:32 a.m. New-York time. It was the biggest intraday decline since April 1. Japan’s currency dropped 0.4 percent to 141.28 per euro.
China’s expansion moderated to the weakest pace in six quarters and property construction plunged, testing leaders’ commitment to keep reining in credit as risks mount of a deeper slowdown. Gross domestic product rose 7.4 percent in the January-to-March period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing. China's yuan was slightly stronger against the U.S. dollar Wednesday on better-than-expected first-quarter domestic growth data, but further gains were capped by lingering concerns about the outlook for the economy. On the over-the-counter market, the dollar ended at 6.2214 yuan compared with Tuesday's close of 6.2220 yuan. It traded in a range of 6.2209 to 6.2262 yuan. The People's Bank of China set the dollar/yuan central parity rate at 6.1589, up from 6.1571 in the previous day.
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.