Article Highlights

  • U.S. headline retail sales down 0.1% in Feb as expected
  • U.S. core retail sales down 0.1% vs. estimated 0.2% drop
  • U.S. Jan headline and core retail sales downgraded to show 0.4% declines
  • U.S. headline PPI down 0.1% in Feb as expected
  • U.S. core PPI posted flat reading vs. estimated 0.1% uptick
  • Empire State manufacturing index improved from -16.6 to +0.6 vs. -10.3 forecast
  • U.S. business inventories up 0.1% instead of staying flat
  • API: Oil inventories up by 1.5 million barrels
  • New Zealand dairy prices down 2.9% in latest GDT auction
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Data from the U.S. economy came in as mixed as a bag of M&Ms, but the Greenback managed to end higher against most of its forex peers.

Major Events:

U.S. retail sales data – The February retail sales report painted a mixed picture of the consumer sector, as headline retail sales showed a 0.1% drop as expected while the core figure printed a smaller than expected 0.1% drop versus the estimated 0.2% decline. However, the January report featured downgrades for the headline figure from an initially reported 0.2% gain to a 0.4% drop and the core reading from a 0.1% uptick to a 0.4% decline.

U.S. PPI figures – Headline producer prices fell 0.1% in February as expected while the core version of the report posted a flat reading instead of the projected 0.1% uptick. Components of the report showed that the decline was led by falling gasoline prices, followed by smaller declines in fresh and dried vegetables, diesel fuel, beef and veal, passenger cars, and industrial chemicals.

New Zealand GDT auction – Just before U.S. forex traders called it a night, New Zealand was just waking up to start its Global Dairy Trade auction for this week. While the previous auction showed a 1.4% bounce in dairy prices, a decline of 2.9% was recorded this time to suggest that the slump in the industry ain’t over.

Major Currency Movers:

GBP – The British pound was one of the weakest currencies in the forex bunch, although there was no clear catalyst other than a break of technical levels that convinced bears to take control.

GBP/USD broke below 1.4200 before consolidating around 1.4150, GBP/JPY fell below 160.00 to a low of 159.49, EUR/GBP popped up to a high of .7861, and GBP/CAD is testing support at 1.8900 once more.

NZD – The Kiwi joined the losers’ table later in the trading sessions, after the GDT auction printed a decline in dairy prices.

NZD/USD fell from the .6650 area to consolidate around .6600, NZD/JPY fell from the 75.70 area to a low of 74.45, EUR/NZD moved all the way up to a high of 1.6860, and GBP/NZD is testing the resistance at 2.1400.

Watch Out For:

  • 11:30 am GMT: Australia MI leading index (0.1% previous)

See also:

Asian Session Recap

London Session Recap

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