The US$ is mixed, while stocks are around 1% lower on Thursday after the US Retail Sales missed badly, coming in at -0.1%mm against the expected +0.3%, a 3rd straight month of declines. The stock indices have actually bounced off their session lows, pulled higher by gains in big technology shares but the retail and industrial sectors remain heavy towards the end of the session. Fears of tariffs/trade wars are generally weighing on sentiment and this is contributing to the general concern in the marketplace, especially with the White House pressing China to cut their trade surplus by $100 bio. On the other side of the coin, despite the signs of cooling in consumer spending, inflation pressures are steadily building which should see the Fed hike interest rates next week. The February PPI figure rose solidly, up by 2.8%yy, driven by strong gains in the cost of services.
Also of note on Wednesday, Mario Draghi was speaking and reiterated that the ECB is in no rush to change policy until inflation is on sustainable path, causing the Euro to head a little lower and bund yields to fall to the lowest level in seven weeks.
Looking ahead, the Q4 NZ GDP will be the initial focus of the coming session (exp 0.7%qq, 3.1%yy), and this comes ahead of the Australian Consumer Inflation Expectation (March) and the RBA Quarterly bulletin. The China Foreign Direct Investment is also due. The main event in Europe will be the SNB Interest Rate Decision although no change to policy is expected, while from the US we get the Philadelphia Fed Mfg Survey, NAHB Housing Market Index, New York State Empire Mfg Index and the weekly jobless claims.
Apologies for the last couple of days absence. The website server was down and we were unable to function.
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