The Opening Bell: Where currencies start on Thursday, March 15, 2018

By Dan Bell

The NZDUSD opens at 0.7331 (mid-rate) this morning.

The Kiwi is modestly lower against the majors but flat against the Euro.

ECB president Mario Draghi spoke on Monetary Policy in the Euro Area at a conference in Frankfurt. The ECB’s main focus is on inflation and tuning “our monetary policy stance to the changing pitch of the recovery”. “…the economy has developed even more strongly than we expected and confidence in the euro area has increased.”

“There is a very clear condition for us to bring net asset purchases to an end: we need to see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation towards our aim, which is a headline inflation rate of below, but close to 2% over the medium term. Thereafter, our monetary policy will have to be calibrated so as to ensure that inflation continues along this path.”

The number of persons employed increased by 0.3% in the Euro Area (EA19) and by 0.2% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter. In the third quarter of 2017, employment increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28.

In January 2018 compared with December 2017, seasonally adjusted Industrial Production fell by 1.0% in the Euro Area (EA19) and by 0.7% in the EU28.

Consumer prices in Germany were 1.4% higher in February 2018 than in February 2017. The inflation rate – measured by the Consumer Price Index – thus decreased for the third consecutive month. In January 2018, it had been +1.6%. Compared with January 2018, the CPI rose by 0.5% in February 2018. The value of Italian Retail Trade in January 2018 is estimated to have decreased by 0.8% while the volume dropped by 1.9% compared with January 2017.

U.S. Retail Sales unexpectedly fell in February for a third month, adding to signs that consumer spending will cool this quarter from the previous period’s hot pace, according to U.S. Commerce Department. Overall U.S. Retail Sales fell 0.1% (est. up 0.3%) after 0.1% decrease in prior month (prev. down 0.3%); Dec. figure revised to down 0.1%.

U.S. producer prices increased slightly more than expected in February as a rise in the cost of services offset a decline in the price of goods. Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.2% last month after increasing 0.4% in January. That lifted the year-on-year increase in the PPI to 2.8% in February from 2.7% in January.

U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude supplies rose by 5 million barrels for the week ended March 9. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had forecast a climb of 2.5 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a rise of nearly 1.2 million barrels.

Global equity markets are mainly lower: Dow -0.52%, S&P 500 -0.25%, FTSE +0.03%, DAX +0.00%, CAC -0.18%, Nikkei -+0.87%, Shanghai -0.57%.

Gold prices are down 0.2% or $3 currently trading at $1,324 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices gained 0.7% currently trading at $60.85 a barrel.

Current indicative rates:

NZDUSD 0.7331 -0.1%
NZDEUR  0.592 0.0%
NZDGBP 0.5243 -0.2%
NZDJPY 77.92 -0.4%
NZDAUD 0.9298 -0.3%
NZDCAD 0.9476 -0.2%
GBPNZD 1.9061 0.1%

Upcoming Data releases (NZST):

  • 10:45am – NZD – GDP q/q
  • 11:00am – AUD – MI Inflation Expectations
  • 11:30am – AUD – RBA Bulletin

 

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Dan Bell is the senior currency strategist at HiFX in Auckland. You can contact him here »

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Source: CoinDesk