Foreign Exchange Market Update
February 12, 2016
Indicative Interbank spot sell rates only as of 9:00 AM PST.
PLEASE CALL THE FX DEPARTMENT AT (626) 279-3235 FOR THE MOST CURRENT RATE
United States (US) import prices dropped 1.1% last month after a revised 1.1% decrease in December. Import prices have decreased in 17 of the last 19 months, reflecting a robust dollar and plunging oil prices. The oil price weakness is contributing to keeping inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target. Weak inflation and a sell-off of global equities have tightened financial market conditions. Imported petroleum prices dropped 13.4% in January after tumbling 9.2% in December. Import prices excluding petroleum slipped 0.2% after falling 0.4% in the prior month. Imported food prices rose 0.6% last month, while prices for industrial supplies and materials excluding petroleum fell 1.4%. The report also showed export prices dropped 0.8% in January after sliding 1.1% in December. Export prices were down 5.7% from a year ago.
Australia’s dollar traded at 70.98 U.S. cents at 9:13 AM PST and New Zealand dollar traded at 66.31 U.S. cents. Food prices in New Zealand climbed 2.0% (MoM) in January, marking the highest monthly rise since June 2013. The January reading follows the 0.8% decline in December, and it marks the first positive reading in six months. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 4.4%, influenced by seasonally higher prices for strawberries, apples, and tomatoes. Grocery food prices increased 1.6%, influenced by fresh milk (up 4.9%), chocolate (up 5.0%), and plain biscuits (up 14%).
Euro traded at 1.1237 against USD at 9:13 am PST. Economic output edged up a quarterly 0.1% at the end of last year. Gross domestic product rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of last year, the same as between July and September. Year-on-year, the euro zone economy expanded 1.5%. Germany, posted steady economic growth in the final quarter of 2015, as higher state spending to cope with an influx of refugees and construction offset a drag from foreign trade. While, Italy grew minutely during the same period as domestic demand was slow.
Japanese Yen traded at 112.99 per USD at 9:13 am PST. The yen headed for its biggest two-week gain versus the dollar since 1998 intensifying speculation Japanese authorities could intervene to weaken it. Japan’s currency has strengthened against all of its 31 major peers this month as a slump in stocks around the world spurred demand for haven assets. For Japan’s largest manufacturer’s income overseas won’t be worth as much when converted back into yen. Stock investors have reacted, helping to drive the Topix index down 18% this year.
Canadian dollar traded at 1.3838 per USD at 9:13 am PST. Canadian home prices edged down in January for a second month in a row, falling in seven cities, including what has been the hot market of Toronto. The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed national home prices dipped 0.1% in January from a month earlier. Prices were still up 5.9% from a year earlier, though that was the smallest annual increase in three months.
Onshore Chinese yuan traded at 6.5710 per USD at 9:13 am PST and offshore Chinese yuan traded at 6.5111 per USD. The offshore yuan fell the most in almost two weeks, tracking Asian currencies and stocks lower as a global selloff eroded the appeal of riskier assets. China, the world’s leading producer of chip has taken a severe hit, due to the low oil prices and the economic slowdown. New orders for Chinese shipbuilders fell by nearly half last year. In December, Zhoushan Wuzhou Ship Repairing & Building became the first state-owned shipbuilder to go bankrupt in a decade.
This market 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 situations or needs of any recipient. Cathay Bank does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of this market update.