US housing sales rise; jobless claims fall; ECB tackles uncertainty, hints Italian bank bailout; Singapore moves on 1MDB; Aussie bank satisfaction drops; UST 10yr yield at 1.57%; oil lower, gold up; NZ$1 = 69.8 US¢, TWI-5 = 73.8

Here’s my summary of the key events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news the ECB backs a public bailout of Italy’s ailing banks.

But first, today’s existing homes sales data in the US provided more evidence that Americans are growing increasingly confident about their economic prospects. Housing resales hit their highest level in more than nine years in June as low interest rates lured first-time buyers into the market. The median price is US$247,700 (NZ$354,000) and +4.3% above the same month a year ago.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell yet again last week. That is 72 weeks where the claims level has been below 300,000 which is the longest streak in more than 40 years.

In Europe, the ECB kept interest rates unchanged overnight but left the door open to more policy stimulus, highlighting “great” uncertainty and abundant risks to the economic outlook. Although Mario Draghi did stop short of an outright promise of more stimulus, the heightened prospect drove EU credit risk premiums sharply lower, and they were already low. He also gave some clear hints that Italy’s shaky banks may need public assistance.

In the Malaysian 1MDB fraud case that is swirling around the Malaysian prime minister, Singapore has now frozen more funds. But such is his control at home, it looks like he won’t be budged from his prime ministerial position.

In Australia, the big four banks’ average customer satisfaction ratings have fallen to their lowest level since June 2013, after peaking mid-last year. The drop comes as banks face heightened political pressure and calls for a royal commission after a run of scandals.

Back in New York, UST 10yr yields are a little lower today, now at 1.57%.

The US benchmark oil price has slipped by US$1/barrel today, now just under US$45/barrel and the Brent benchmark is just over US$46/barrel.

But the gold price is higher however, up more than $10 to US$1,330/oz.

The NZ dollar is lower especially against the greenback, now at 69.8 US¢, at 93.2 AU¢, and at 63.4 euro cents. The TWI-5 index is now at 73.8 and is almost 1½c lower than it was at this time last week.

If you want to catch up with all the local changes yesterday, we have an update here.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».

Daily exchange rates

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var chart_subtitles_arr= ["Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate"];
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// to generate the format for date representation in x axis

var timestamweek = 604800000;
var timestamday = 86400000;
var timestammonth30 = 2592000000;
var timestammonth31 = 2678400000;
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var mm2 = time4.getMonth();
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mm= "07";
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var mm2 = time4.getMonth();

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mm2 = "Oct";
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for(i=0;i

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