March 24, 2017
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United Sates (US) Markit flash PMI manufacturing index declined to 53.4 from the final 54.2 for February. This was below consensus expectations of 54.9 and the lowest reading for five months. The services-sector index declined to 52.9 for the month from 53.8 which was also below expectations of 53.9 and the lowest reading for six months. The composite output index declined to a six-month low of 53.2 from 54.1 previously. Within the services sector, there was a slowdown in new orders to a 12-month low with a sustained loss of momentum from January’s peak. There was also a slowdown in employment growth with one of the weakest reports for the last three years.
Australia’s dollar traded at 76.24 U.S. cents at 10:34 AM PST and New Zealand dollar traded at 70.35 U.S. cents
. New Zealand posted a merchandise trade deficit of NZ$18 million in February. That missed forecasts for a surplus of NZ$180 million following the upwardly revised NZ$257 million deficits in January (originally -NZ$285 million). Exports were down 5.5% on year or NZ$232 million to NZ$4.01 billion, missing forecasts for NZ$4.20 billion but up from NZ$3.91 billion. Dairy exports were up NZ$55 million (5.6%) in value, led by rises in the value of butter and other milk fats (up NZ$45 million), and milk powder (up NZ$20 million).
Euro traded at 1.0808 against USD at 10:34 am PST. France's economic growth doubled as estimated in the fourth quarter. Gross domestic product grew 0.4% sequentially, following third quarter's 0.2% expansion. The estimates were left unrevised. On average over the year, GDP rose by 1.1% compared to 1.2% in 2015. On the expenditure side, growth in household consumption expenditure accelerated to 0.6% in the fourth quarter from 0.1% in previous period. Likewise, gross fixed capital formation grew 0.5% versus 0.2% a quarter ago. All in all, final domestic demand excluding inventory changes was more dynamic and contributed more to GDP growth by 0.5 points.
British Pound exchange rate is 1.2498 against USD at 10:34 am PST. The number of mortgages approved for house purchases fell to 42,613 in February from 44,142 in January. This was the lowest since November. The expected level for February was 44,900. Gross mortgage borrowing of GBP 13.4 billion in February was 4.6 percent higher than in the same month last year. At the same time, net mortgage borrowing grew 2.5% from prior year. Consumer credit logged a 6.6% annual growth. There was some slackening in the annual growth rate for personal loans and overdrafts while that for credit card strengthened slightly.
Japanese Yen traded at 110.86 per USD at 10:33 am PST. The leading index climbed marginally to 104.9 in January from 104.8 in December. The score was revised down from 105.5. Nonetheless, this was the highest score since June 2015, when the reading was 106.4. Meanwhile, the coincident index that reflects the current economic activity, fell to 115.1 in January from 115.5 a month ago. The initial estimate for January was 114.9. The lagging index rose to revised 115.4 in January from 114.9 in the prior month.
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.