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Bob Mason

Earlier in the Day:

It was a relatively busy day on the Asian economic calendar this morning. The Aussie Dollar was in action in the early part of the day.

Key stats included business confidence, retail sales, and trade figures out of Australia.


For the Aussie Dollar

Retail sales fell by 0.5% in December, partially reversing a 1% rise in November. Economists had forecast a 0.2% decline.

According to the ABS,

  • The downside was attributed to a fall back from the jump in November sales that had been driven by Black Friday. Effects from the bushfires and associated smoke haze were also linked to weak data from New South Wales.
  • Department store sales fell by 2.8%, with cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services down by 0.9%.
  • Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell by 1.5%, with food retailing (-0.3%) and household goods retailing (-0.3%) also weighing.
  • Other retailing bucked the trend in December, rising by 0.2%.

While down for the month, retail sales rose by 0.5% in the 4th quarter, reversing a 0.1% fall from the 3rd quarter.

Australia’s trade surplus narrowed from A$5.519bn to A$5.223bn in December.

According to the ABS,

  • Goods and services credits rose A$557m (1%) to A$41,293m.
    • Non-rural goods exports rose by A$289m (1%), with the exports of non-monetary gold rising by A$266m (14%).
    • The exports of rural goods increased by A$63m (2%), with net exports of goods under merchanting rising by A$1m (20%).
    • Services credits fell by A$62m (1%), however.
  • Goods and services debits increased by A$853m (2%) to A$36,070m.
    • The imports of capital goods rose by A$376m (6%), with the imports of consumption goods rising by A$309m (4%).
    • There was also an A$64m (1%) rise in the imports of intermediate and other merchandise goods.
    • The imports of non-monetary gold fell by A$102m (21%), while service debits increased by A$205m (2%).

Business Confidence and Conditions

The NAB Business Confidence Index held steady at -1 in the 4th quarter. According to the NAB Quarterly Survey,

  • Confidence declined across finance, business & property services, transport & utilities, and mining and wholesale. Confidence jumped in construction and retail, however, with recreation & personal services also seeing a rise in confidence.
  • While business confidence held steady in the red, the business conditions index rose by 2 points to +4 in the 4th
  • Labor indicators were mixed. While the Employment Index held steady at +5, expectations over the 3-months ahead fell from +11 to +7. Expectations over the next 12-months also softened, with the sub-index falling from +16 to +15.
  • Leading indicators were softer, with the business conditions sub-index falling from +10 to +9 for 3-months head. For the next 12-months, the sub-index fell from +20 to +16.

The Aussie Dollar moved from $0.67516 to $0.67584 upon release of the data. At the time of writing, the Aussie Dollar was up by 0.07% to $0.6751.


At the time of writing, the Japanese Yen was down by 0.05% to ¥109.89 against the U.S Dollar, with the Kiwi Dollar down by 0.06% to $0.6470.

The Day Ahead:

For the EUR

It’s a busy day ahead on the economic calendar. Key stats due out of the Eurozone include December factory orders out of Germany.

We can expect the figures to provide direction ahead of the ECB’s Economic Bulletin and the EU’s economic forecasts.

Both reports will give some more color on the outlook and whether the Eurozone economy did, in fact, bottom out at the turn of the year.

At the time of writing, the EUR was down by 0.02% to $1.0997.

For the Pound

It’s a quiet day ahead on the economic calendar, with no material stats due out of the UK to provide the Pound with direction.

The lack of stats leaves the Pound in the hands of Brexit chatter, which is rarely a positive…

At the time of writing, the Pound was down by 0.15% to $1.2983.

Across the Pond

It’s a relatively busy day ahead on the data front.

Key stats due out of the U.S include 4th quarter unit labor costs and nonfarm productivity numbers. The weekly jobless claims figures are also due out later this afternoon.

The numbers will need to be on the positive side to continue supporting the Dollar at current levels.

At the time of writing, the Dollar Spot Index was down by 0.01% to 98.295.

For the Loonie

It’s a quiet day ahead on the economic calendar, with no material stats due out of Canada later today.

The lack of stats will leave the Loonie in the hands of risk sentiment and crude oil prices ahead of tomorrow’s employment and Ivey PMI numbers.

The Loonie was down by 0.03% at C$1.3286 against the U.S Dollar, at the time of writing.

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