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Bob Mason
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The Stats

It was a slightly busier week on the economic calendar, in the week ending 2nd April.

A total of 60 stats were monitored, following 56 stats from the week prior.

Of the 60 stats, 38 came in ahead forecasts, with 16 economic indicators coming up short of forecasts. There were 6 stats that were in line with forecasts in the week.

Looking at the numbers, 40 of the stats reflected an upward trend from previous figures. Of the remaining 20 stats, 18 reflected a deterioration from previous.

For the Greenback, it was a 3rd consecutive week in the green. In the week ending 2nd April, the Dollar Spot Index rose by 0.28% to 93.022. In the previous week, the Dollar had rallied by 0.92% to 92.766.

The upside for the Dollar came amidst rising optimism over the U.S economic outlook. Improving economic data and U.S government spending plans supported the positive outlook.

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Out of the U.S

It was a quieter week on the economic data front. While quieter, there were some key stats for the markets to consider.

In the 1st half of the week, consumer confidence and ADP nonfarm employment change figures delivered.

The CB consumer confidence index jumped from 90.4 to 109.7 in March.

Justifying improving consumer sentiment was a 517k rise in nonfarm employment, according to ADP figures.

In the 2nd half of the week, manufacturing PMI and labor market numbers were in focus.

The market’s preferred ISM Manufacturing PMI increased from 60.8 to 64.7 in March,

On Thursday, jobless claims disappointed, however, rising from 658k to 719k in the week ending 26th March.

Wrapping things up at the end of the week were nonfarm payroll figures and the U.S unemployment rate.

In March, nonfarm payrolls surged by 916k, leading to a further decline in the unemployment rate from 6.2% to 6.0%. The fall in the unemployment rate came in spite of a rise in the participation rate from 61.4% to 61.5%.

In the equity markets, the NASDAQ and the S&P500 rose by 2.60% and by 1.14% respectively, with the Dow gaining 0.24%.

Out of the UK

It was a quiet week on the economic data front.

Finalized 4th quarter GDP and finalized manufacturing PMI numbers for March were in focus.

According to finalized figures, the UK economy expanded by 1.3% in the 4th quarter. In the 3rd quarter, the economy had expanded by 16%.

Year-on-year, the UK economy contracted by 7.3%, which was up from a prelim 7.8% contraction. In the 3rd quarter, the economy had contracted by 8.5%.

Also positive was an upward revision to the manufacturing PMI. In March, the PMI increased from 55.1 to 58.9, which was up from a prelim 57.9.

In the week, the Pound rose by 0.31% to end the week at $1.3832. The Pound had fallen by 0.60% to $1.3789 in the week prior.

The FTSE100 ended the week down by 0.05%, partially reversing a 0.48% gain from the previous week.

Out of the Eurozone

It was a particularly busy week on the economic data front.

Consumer spending, unemployment, manufacturing PMIs, and inflation figures were in focus.

It was a mixed set of numbers for the EUR, though the stats were skewed to the positive in a shortened week.

While consumer spending fell in France, retail sales was on the rise in Germany.

Germany’s unemployment rate held steady following a further decline in the number of unemployed. This was also EUR positive.

Providing much-needed support, however, was better than expected manufacturing PMI numbers.

With Italy and Spain seeing manufacturing sector activity pickup at a marked pace, the Eurozone’s PMI hit an all-time high 62.5.

Germany’s PMI also hit an all-time high 66.6 in March.

Inflation figures were mixed, however.

While the Eurozone’s annual core rate of inflation softened in March, the Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation accelerated at the end of the 1st quarter.

A marked pickup in inflationary pressures across member states was aligned with market expectations.

While the stats were skewed to the positive, uncertainty over the economic outlook weighed. A lack of vaccine supply and fresh spike in new COVID-19 cases weighed on the EUR in the week.

For the week, the EUR fell by 0.30% to $1.1759. In the week prior, the EUR had fallen by 0.92% to $1.1794.

The DAX30 rallied by 2.43%, with the CAC40 and EuroStoxx600 ended the week with gains of 1.91% and 1.23% respectively.

For the Loonie

It was another quiet week.

January GDP and February RMPI numbers were in focus mid-week.

The stats were skewed to the positive. In January, the Canadian economy expanded by 0.7% after having expanded by just 0.1% in December.

Also Loonie positive was a 6.6% jump in the RMPI, month-on-month. In January, the RMPI had risen by 5.7%.

While the stats were Loonie positive, it was another week in favor of the Greenback. A marginal rise in crude oil prices also left the Loonie flat.

In the week ending 2nd April, the Loonie slipped by 0.01% to C$1.2578. In the week prior, the Loonie had fallen by 0.62% to C$1.2577.

Elsewhere

It was a mixed week for the Aussie Dollar and the Kiwi Dollar.

In the week ending 2nd April, the Aussie Dollar fell by 0.35% to $0.7610, while the Kiwi Dollar ending the week up by 0.46% to $0.7032.

For the Aussie Dollar

It was a relatively busy week.

Mid-week, private sector credit and building approvals were in focus.

A 21.6% surge in building approvals reversed a 19.4% tumble in the month prior.

Private sector credit continued to disappoint, however, rising by just 0.2% in February.

Manufacturing, retail sales, and trade data wrapped things up on Thursday.

The stats were skewed to the negative.

While manufacturing sector activity picked up in March, retail sales fell in February.

Australia’s trade surplus also narrowed in February, pressuring the Aussie Dollar ahead of Friday’s market close.

A 0.57% gain on Friday cut the deficit for the week…

For the Kiwi Dollar

It was a relatively quiet week.

Building consents and business confidence figures were in focus in the week.

The stats were skewed to the negative. Building consents tumbled by 18.2%, with business confidence also weakening.

In March, the ANZ Business Confidence Index fell from +7 to -4.1.

The stats had pegged the Kiwi Dollar back before a 2nd half of the week recovery to $0.70 levels.

For the Japanese Yen

It was a busy week.

Retail sales and industrial production figures drew attention in the 1st half of the week.

The stats were skewed to the negative. Retail sales fell by a further 1.5% in February, following a 2.4% slide in January.

Industrial production partially reversed a 4.3% increase from January, falling by 2.1% in February.

Later in the week, finalized Manufacturing PMI and 1st quarter Tankan survey figures were in focus.

The stats were Yen positive, with the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index rising from -10 to +5 in the quarter.

In the 1st quarter, the Large Non-Manufacturing Index increased from -5 to -1. According to the surveys, the outlook also improved, with the Big Manufacturing Outlook Index climbing from -8 to +4.

In March, Japan’s Manufacturing PMI rose from 51.4 to 52.7, revised up from a prelim 52.0. The rise in the PMI signaled the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since Oct-2018.

The Japanese Yen declined by 0.96% to ¥110.69 against the U.S Dollar. In the week prior, the Yen had fallen by 0.70% to ¥109.64.

Out of China

It was a relatively quiet week on the data front.

Private sector PMIs were in focus in the 2nd half of the week.

The NBS Manufacturing PMI increased from 50.6 to 51.9, with the Non-Manufacturing PMI rising from 51.4 to 56.3.

By contrast, however, the market’s preferred Caixin Manufacturing PIM slipped from 51.4 to an 11-month low 50.6.

Despite of the decline, optimism hit levels not seen in 7-years, limiting the impact on the markets.

In the week ending 2nd April, the Chinese Yuan fell by 0.40% to CNY6.5670. In the week prior, the Yuan had fallen by 0.49% to CNY6.5411.

The CSI300 rose by 2.45%, with the Hang Seng ending the week up by 2.13%.

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