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Tuesday, April 4, 2017


The dollar recovery was fleeting. The dollar index crashed at 10 am on release of PMI data, then recovered just as wildly, and closed the day marginally higher—but the damage was done. Some analysts say the 10 am drop was due to the St. Petersburg train bombing, but that had been reported long before, at around 8 am, so we doubt it.

The yield on the 10-year fell from 2.389% around 6:40 am yesterday to 2.324% by 7:11 pm last evening, or over 60 points in one day. This can’t be good. It’s only marginally higher this morning at 2.325% at 8:28 am.

In US data, the Markit manufacturing PMI fell from 54.2 to 53.3, almost a full point and the lowest since Sept 2016, or a 6-month low. New orders are the weakest since last Oct.

Meanwhile, the ISM index of factory activity fell to 57.2 in March from 57.7 in Feb, although continuing a 7-month run of expansion. A survey manager told the WSJ “The prospects of lower tax rates and reduced encumbrances from regulation are helping to drive this system.” Raw material prices rose to the highest level since May 2011. Output and new orders dipped but employment rose to highest since June 2011. Seventeen of 18 sectors reported growth.

In Australia 

In Australia, the RBA left rates on hold as expected, noting condition continue to improve and a higher AUD would “complicate the economic transition.” It looks like the RBA is going to make this comment at every meeting statement. Two things: nobody is complaining that the RBA is jawboning the currency, but never mind—this kind of comment actually works only when used sparingly and causing a Shock. 

In Eurozone

In the eurozone, retail sales rose 0.7% m/m in Feb (when a lesser 0.5% was forecast), or 1.8% y/y. Jan was revised to +0.1% and 1.5% (from 1.2%). What did they buy? Clothes. Reuters reports “Monthly sales rose by most in Portugal, up 3.1 percent. Of the larger nations, Germany was the stand-out, with a 1.8 percent increase.”

Also in the eurozone, unemployment fell by 140,000 in Feb for a jobless rate of 9.5% (from 9.6%), the lowest since May 2009, according to the FT. Disparities abound, though. Germany has 3.9% but France has the same 10% and Italy has 11.5%, albeit better than 11.8% last time.

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