Foreign Exchange Market Update
April 25, 2019
United States (U.S.): Durable Goods Orders Jump 2.7% in March, Jobless Claims Rebound from Nearly 50-Year Low
U.S. manufactured durable goods surged up by 2.7% in March after tumbling by 1.1% in February. Economists had expected durable goods orders to climb by 0.8% compared to the previous month. Excluding the spike in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.4% in March after edging down by 0.2% in February. Ex-transportation orders had been expected to inch up by 0.2% compared to the previous month.
Initial jobless claims climbed to 230,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week's level of 193,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 200,000 from the previous week. The bigger than expected increase came after the number of jobless claims in the previous week represented their lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September of 1969.
Japan: BoJ Holds Monetary Policy Steady, Cuts GDP Forecasts
Japanese Yen traded at 111.56 per USD at 9:00 am PST.
The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged and announced that the interest rates will remain very low for an extended period, at least through spring 2020, reflected by uncertainties concerning economy and prices and the effects of the scheduled consumption tax hike. The policy board of the BoJ voted 7-2 to maintain interest rate at -0.1% on current accounts that financial institutions maintain at the bank. The bank said it will purchase government bonds so that the yield of 10-year JGBs will remain at around 0%. The purchase of government bonds will be conducted in a flexible manner so that the outstanding amount will increase at an annual pace of about JPY 80 trillion. The decision was widely expected by economists. The bank asserted that it will continue expanding the monetary base until the YoY rate of increase in the observed CPI exceeded 2% and stayed above the target in a stable manner.
The central bank revised down the real GDP growth outlook for the fiscal year ending March 2020 to 0.8% from 0.9% and that for fiscal year ending March 2021 to 0.9% from 1.0%. For the fiscal year ending March 2020, the forecasts for the headline and the core inflation were maintained at 1.1% and 0.9%, respectively. The headline inflation forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2021 was cut to 1.4% from 1.5% and the core inflation forecast was trimmed to 1.3% from 1.4%. The central bank expects real GDP growth of 1.2% and inflation of 1.6% for the fiscal year ending March 2022.
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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 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.