Foreign Exchange Market Update
February 24, 2017
Indicative Interbank spot sell rates only as of 9:00 AM PST.
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United States (US) Consumer sentiment fell, just slightly, for the first time since the election. Averaging 97.7 for the last 3 months, the survey's economists noted this would usually correlate with consumption growth of 2.7%. However, there is a sharp divide along political leanings of those surveyed with Republicans expecting strong growth and Democrats expecting recession. Independents tip the overall survey results higher. February Expectations Index for Dems was 55.5, Republicans, 120.1, and Independents, 89.2. On another note, new home sales rose modestly less than expected in January. Sales over the last three months have averaged 555K and are 0.9% below the 6-month average of 560K. The months’ supply held steady at 5.7 months. Overall the trend in new home sales remains positive.
Euro traded at 1.0570 against USD at 10:48 am PST. Italy's industrial orders grew 2.8% on a monthly basis in December, following a 1.7% rise in November. This was the fastest growth since August, when orders climbed 11.1%. Domestic order grew 6.8%, while foreign orders decreased 2.6% in December. Year-on-year, industrial orders fell 0.9%, reversing November's 0.1% rise. At the same time, industrial turnover increased 2.6% in December from November, when it grew 2.4%. On a yearly basis, turnover growth accelerated to 9.4% from 3.9% in November.
British Pound exchange rate is 1.2463 against USD at 10:49 am PST. The number of mortgage approvals rose to 44,657 in January from 43,581 in the prior month. This was the highest since January 2016, when approvals totaled 45,794. Gross mortgage borrowing of GBP 13.8 billion in January was 6.3% higher than in January 2016. Net mortgage borrowing was 2.4% higher in January than a year ago. Consumer credit annual growth rose to 6.7% despite weaker retail sales. Growth continues to be primarily driven by personal loans as credit card growth slowed for the third consecutive month. Lending to business rose by GBP 3.4 billion in January.
Canadian dollar traded at 1.3091 per USD at 10:49 am PST. The consumer price index advanced 2.1% from a year earlier, up from 1.5% in December. Economists had estimated a gain of 1.6%. The report shows a pick-up in energy prices is sparking inflation, even at a time when the economy seems to be awash in excess capacity.
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.