Foreign Exchange Market Update
February 17, 2017
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) The U.S. leading economic index had its second strong increase since the election and if the trend continues it could point to acceleration in economic growth. The leading economic index for the U.S. rose 0.6% in January after a 0.5% gain in December. That’s the fastest pace since June 2015. The coincident index, which measures current conditions, rose 0.1% in January, while the lagging index advanced by 0.3%.
Australia’s dollar traded at 76.61 U.S. cents at 10:09 am PST and New Zealand dollar traded at 71.84 U.S. cents. The Bank of New Zealand-Business NZ performance of manufacturing index was a seasonally adjusted 51.6 in January, 2.6 points lower than December, and the lowest level of expansion since January 2015. The manufacturing sector has remained in expansion in almost all months since October 2012, barring a blip in January last year when the PMI slipped into contraction with a reading of 49.8. The economy has been buoyed by a construction boom that started in the post-earthquakes Christchurch rebuild and has extended to Auckland's housing market. On another note, New Zealand retail sales gained in the fourth quarter, led again by motor vehicle and parts retailing, with eleven of the 15 industries monitored seeing higher sales volumes. The volume of retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in the three months ended December 31, from a 0.9% rise in the September quarter. The total value of retail sales, seasonally adjusted, rose 1.1% in the quarter to $21.08 billion.
Euro traded at 1.0615 against USD at 10:09 am PST. The euro area current account surplus declined in December. The current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 31 billion in December from EUR 36.4 billion in November. The surplus on trade in goods rose to EUR 31.7 billion from EUR 30.8 billion in the prior month. Meanwhile, the surplus on trade in services fell to EUR 4.6 billion from EUR 5.3 billion. Primary income more than halved to EUR 5.3 billion from EUR 12.2 billion in November. At the same time, the deficit on secondary income narrowed to EUR 10.6 billion from EUR 11.9 billion. On an unadjusted basis, the current account balance showed a EUR 47 billion surplus compared to EUR 40.8 billion surplus in November.
British Pound exchange rate is 1.2443 against USD at 10:09 am PST. UK retail sales unexpectedly fell for a third month in January, suggesting consumers are starting to feel the squeeze from accelerating inflation. The volume of goods sold in stores and online declined 0.3% following a 2.1% plunge in December. The fall confounded market expectations for a 1% increase. In the three months through January, sales dropped 0.4%, the worst quarterly performance since 2013.
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.