to be down only 0.4%. Russia's central bank said it would switch some US treasuries into IMF SDR-denominated bonds,
hurting the USD and treasuries early in the evening. The 10 year treasury
auction saw good foreign appetite, albeit at a price commensurate with supply,
and yields rose 8bp to 3.94% (earlier touching 4.00%). The higher US yields
appeared to support the USD later in the session. The Fed's Beige Book,
reporting economic conditions remaining weak with stability noted in some
districts, had negligible market impact. Oil gained 1.7% on falling US
inventories, in turn driven by falling oil imports reported yesterday.
EUR managed modest further gains during early London to 1.4145, appearing to shrug off an FT story
on German banks, but spent the rest of the session declining to 1.3915 on the
broad-based USD rally. Fitch warned of rising risk of devaluation in Latvia, and Sweden's FSA said its banks could weather Baltic
credit risk. GBP peaked at 1.6475 around London, boosted by consensus-beating IP data, and drifted to 1.6240
thereafter. USD gained against the yen, from 97.50 to 98.45.
AUD continued higher until London, reaching 0.8135, followed by a fall to 0.7970.
NZD peaked at 0.6365, but by the NY afternoon had
fallen to 0.6235. AUD/NZD ranged sideways between 1.2750 and 1.2820,
threatening a topside break.
US trade deficit widens to $29.2bn in April. The US trade deficit widened for the second month
running, as exports fell more sharply than imports. Those declines were despite
rises in both import (mainly oil) prices and export prices, so the underlying
volumes picture was soft on both sides of the ledger, indicating ongoing
weakness both in US and trading partner demand.
Japan's April machinery orders fell 5.4%. That follows a 1.2% decline in March. There
are three key trends in the data. One, non-manufacturing demand is in a major
downtrend that will weigh on aggregate investment for a significant period.
Two, the advanced nature of inventory adjustment in manufacturing is showing up
in some consolidation in orders. Three, public sector orders spiked in April,
consistent with the government's commitment to front load its capital works
program into the first half of the fiscal year.
European industrial data for April,
with French factory output continuing to slide, down 1.4%, but the Italians
managing a modest bounce of 1.1% after very steep declines in Q1.
UK industrial production posted its first monthly
gain in April since Feb 2008.
The 0.3% rise was close to Westpac's 0.2% forecast but significantly stronger
than the consensus forecast for a modest decline in output. Excluding utilities
and mining, manufacturing posted back to back gains in March and April, further
evidence that the collapse in industrial activity might be bottoming out.
Still, IP remains very weak, the annual pace of decline being -12.3% yr. Also,
the trade deficit widened again in April to GBP7.0bn as a 0.6% rise in exports
was swamped by a 2.6% imports gain.
trade position fell back into modest deficit, at -C$0.2bn, with exports slumping 5.1% in April but imports also
down, by 1.2%. Also, Canada's house price index continued to fall at an
on-trend 0.6% pace in April.
Today's RBNZ meeting
will have a large bearing on NZD's intraday direction - a pause being bullish,
a cut being bearish - but little impact beyond. We prefer the downside scenario
today, with a test of 0.6155, but as has been the case for most of this year,
the big moves will occur in London and NY tonight, driven by global matters. We retain our longer-term
negative NZD bias, and require a break above 0.6600 to abandon that view.
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