EUR initially rallied from 1.3800 to 1.3934, before
falling back to 1.3850 on weaker equities. Initial strength came from stronger
German ZEW data, as well as EU comments the recession is bottoming and the ECB
saying there will be no expansion in asset purchases for now. GBP
rallied from 1.6259 to 1.6507 before heading back to around 1.6400. Positives
here included the consensus-beating CPI, BoE talk of exit strategies, and solid
demand for the new 25yr gilt. USD/JPY gyrated between 96.08 and 92.27,
unchanged overall at around 96.50.
AUD reached 0.8068 during London, the Rio Tinto rights issue supporting the
currency, as well as a McCrann article suggesting no rate cut is likely within
the next 2 months, but the falloff in risk during NY dragged it back to 0.7950.
NZD almost touched 0.6400, but is now a cent lower.
AUD/NZD made a 1.2550 low overnight, recovering to around 1.2600.
US housing starts jump 17.2% in May, boosted by a 62% jump in the volatile multiples
component, after a similar sized cumulative fall in the previous two months.
But even excluding multiples, single family house starts rose 7.5%, their
fourth straight month without a decline, and single family permits posted a
similar May rise. The level of activity remains very weak, at just 532k starts
annualised, compared to 2.3mn annualised at the peak in early 2006,
nevertheless the data are consistent with other evidence that the housing
market is bottoming out. It remains to be seem how the recent sharp gain in
mortgage rates impacts on this nascent recovery in coming months.
US industrial production down 1.1% in May, dragged lower by autos as the Chrysler plant
shutdowns impacted. The other detail revealed broad-based weakness, including
in business equipment which is a sign that capital spending remains in the
doldrums. Capacity use fell to a new record low (data go back 40 years), which
should help prevent production sector driven inflationary pressures from
emerging any time soon.
US PPI up 0.2%, core down 0.1%, in
May. The headline and
core PPI measures were very subdued, and for once auto and light truck prices,
both flat or close to it, were not a major influencing factor. But there was
some evidence that higher materials costs were pushing up crude price pressures
The Bank of Japan left the uncollateralised call rate at 0.10%. There was no word on unconventional policy
measures, in line with expectations. The commentary offered nothing that new,
with the basic point being that the maturity of the inventory cycle will leave
future developments in output solely to final demand.
The German ZEW outlook jump from 31
to 45 indicates that the 350 or
so German analysts and economists surveyed by the institute continue to think things
can only get better, and in June, for the first month in nine, the current
measure also posted a modest gain. In other news, inflationary pressures eased
on two fronts: the May Euroland CPI was confirmed at 0.0% yr, while the core
rate fell from April's 1.8% yr to 1.5% yr in May. Euroland labour costs growth
eased from 4.0% yr to 3.7% yr in Q1.
UK annual inflation eased slightly to 2.2% yr in
May, holding above the 2.0%
target for the 20th month running. Higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol
introduced in the April budget, and higher imported goods prices due to the
weaker pound sterling earlier this year, were factors at play.
Last night's NZD rally to near 0.6400 did not
breach the pivotal 0.6400 level, so our lower-NZD view remains intact.
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