Currency Markets Mixed On Economic OutlookCurrency Markets Mixed On Economic Outlook

The US dollar was robust on the currency markets on Monday after US economic data signaled a strengthening across the economy.

Such strengthening might mean that the US Federal Reserve will not have to cut key interest rates.

The buck was near a one-week high against the euro at $1.1096. Against the Japanese yen, it was trading near an eight-month high at 110.19 per dollar.

Data from the last week showed homebuilding figures rose to a 13-year high in December. Also, retail sales appeared to be growing, while a measure of manufacturing activity rebounded to an eight-month high.

Futures indicated that nobody believed the Federal Reserve would slash interest rates. The US central bank’s next policy meeting will be at the end of the month.

Other data released this week included the Australian jobs report on Thursday and the consumer price index data from New Zealand on Friday.

Eurozone and other Currency Markets

Meanwhile, over in the Europe, economic data headed in a different direction. Last week, the German economy posted its weakest growth since 2013. In Britain, the inflation rate was weak, and retail sales slumped.

The sterling went lower to $1.3002, which was its weakest in a week.

Over in China, Beijing posted its slowest annual growth in almost 30 years last week. However, December data also showed renewed business confidence and more rapid factory output.

In offshore trade, the yuan was flat at 6.8643 per dollar. This figure is not far below a six-month high that it hit last week.

Also, both the Australian and New Zealand dollar were up slightly. Investors await critical economic data in the two countries this week.

For the case of Australia, the data will signal whether the central bank has to impose a rate cut. Its next policy-setting meeting will be on February 4. Futures indicated a 46% chance of a rate cut.

Same time:

Brent and WTI crude prices jumped on Monday in Asia amid the heating up in tensions among Mideastern countries. Concerns raged over output and export numbers.

US Crude oil WTI futures gained 1.1% to $59.25. Meanwhile, International Brent oil futures soared 1.3% to $65.69. Sunday saw Iraq stopping output at an oilfield. This decision comes amid intensifying and widespread unrest.

by Elliot Chang
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