August 18, 2017
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United States (US): Consumer Sentiment rose by 4.2 points in early August to 97.6%, compared with market expectations for an increase to 94.0%. With this month's modest increase, sentiment is now 8.7% above its year ago level. Current Conditions fell by 2.4 points to 111.0%. This is 3.7% above their year ago level. Consumer Expectations rose by 8.5 points to 89.0%. With this month's sharp increase, expectations are 13.1% above its year ago level.
Euro traded at 1.1751 against USD at 9:14 am PST. The euro zone's adjusted current account surplus narrowed in June and the annualized surplus also remained on a downward trend as expected. The working-day and seasonally-adjusted current account surplus in the 19-country currency bloc fell to 21.2 billion euros ($24.90 billion) in June from 30.5 billion euros in May even as the balance from goods trade remained broadly unchanged. The rolling 12-month surplus eased to 3.1% of the bloc's gross domestic product from 3.5% a year earlier. Eurozone construction output decreased for the second straight month in June. Construction output declined 0.5% m/m in June, bigger than the 0.2% decrease seen in May. On a yearly basis, construction output growth accelerated to 3.4% in June from 2.7% in May.
British Pound exchange rate is 1.2854 against USD at 9:14 am PST. UK inflation rose sharply after the EU referendum result, when sterling fell against other currencies. This week’s release shows the inflation steady at 2.6%. Meanwhile, wages have not been keeping pace. Employment data has been strong for a while, and this week’s Employment Report showed unemployment at its lowest for 42 years. However, wage growth has not risen in response. While this week’s earnings data was slightly stronger than expected, rising 2.1% in June compared to the year before, earnings growth is still well below the level of inflation. Over time, prices are rising more quickly than the value of the money in people’s pay packets.
Canadian dollar traded at 1.2571 per USD at 9:15 am PST. Canada's annual inflation rate ticked higher in July as prices for gasoline climbed, giving the Bank of Canada room to raise its key lending rate again in the fall. The annualized inflation rate last month was 1.2%, up from 1% in June. The all-items consumer-price index in July rose 1.2% from a year earlier, following a 1% advance in the previous month. On a month-over-month basis, CPI was unchanged in July. On a monthly basis, gasoline prices rose 0.2%. The shelter index increased 1.3% y/y in July, after rising 1.6% in June. Homeowners' replacement costs contributed the most to the gain in prices, rising 4.1% in the 12 months to July.
Onshore Chinese yuan traded at 6.6688 per USD at 9:15 am PST and offshore Chinese yuan traded at 6.6805 per USD. Aggregate prices of China’s newly built homes cooled in July for the fourth consecutive month, with a price rally easing among smaller cities for the first time as a concerted effort by the government to bring housing affordability under control showed its effectiveness. The sales value of new homes rose 4.3% in July to 779 billion yuan (US$117 billion) from the same period last year, the slowest annual pace in more than two years, compared with the 26.4% jump in June, according calculations by the South China Morning Post based on data from National Bureau of Statistics. Home sales area growth saw a steeper slowdown in July, rising just 0.26% y/y compared to 18.4% in June.
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.