US ISM-NMI March increased to 54.5

April 6, 2016

FX News Today

German Feb industrial production drops less than feared: Production correcting just 0.5% m/m from the rise in January, against expectations for a drop of around -2.0% m/m. Still, the January number was revised sharply down to 2.3% m/m from 3.3% m/m reported initially and the annual rate fell back in February. Together with the weaker than expected orders readings and mixed confidence data the outlook is for slowing growth in overall production and a general weakening of the growth trajectory as the improvement on the labour market peters out and the refugee crisis weighs on consumer confidence.

European Outlook: Asian stock markets were mixed with Japan underperforming as a third consecutive dip in the leading indicator and a stronger Yen weighed on markets. Elsewhere stock markets started to stabilize and the front end Nymex futures climbed toward USD 37 per barrel. The EUR weakened, but remains clearly above 1.130 against the dollar. Released overnight the U.K. BRC shop price index dropped -1.7% in March, a slight uptick from the -2.0% y/y in February. Still to come, there is central bank speak from the ECB and the Riksbank and Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway sell bonds, while Greece issues bills amid fresh Grexit concerns.

US ISM-NMI March increased to 54.5: This was from a 53.4 two-year low that beat estimates and capped a four-month drop from a solid 58.3 as recently as October, versus a 59.6 ten-year high last July. The ISM-adjusted measure rose to 54.1 from 53.2 in February and a 53.1 two-year low in January, versus a 59.0 ten-year high last July. The ISM-NMI figures remain stronger than the factory sentiment readings likely because the service sector is benefiting from the boost to household purchasing power via lower gasoline prices, while the factory sector faces headwinds from an inventory overhang, weak foreign demand, restraint in the vehicle assembly rate, and a petro-sector recession. Given March strength in the factory sentiment figures, the ISM-adjusted average of the major surveys popped to a surprisingly solid 53 in March from 49 in both January and February and 50 over the last four months of 2015, leaving the strongest average since the 53 figure in June and July of last year.

US JOLTS report showed job openings fell 159k: 5,445k openings in February versus a revised 323k January gain to 5,604k (was 5,541k), though the January level was the 3rd highest of this cycle. The rate fell to 3.7% from 3.8%. Hiring rebounded 297k to 5,422k after diving 276k in January to 5,125k (revised from 5,029k). The rate rose to 3.8% versus 3.6% previously. Quitters increased 99k to 2,950k following the prior 237k decline to 2,851k (revised from 2,804k). The quit rate also rose to 2.1% from 2.0%.

Main Macro Events Today

FOMC Minutes  

The minutes to the March 17, 18 Fed meeting will be interesting for clues on the various outlooks of the Committee. However, Yellen’s dovish stance has usurped a lot of the importance of the minutes. Also, other Fedspeakers since the mid-March meeting have also let their feelings known, with even the more dovish members supporting expectations for 2 rate hikes this year. Meanwhile, data has revealed a slower Q1 economy, with our 2016 growth forecast now just 0.7%, with the Atlanta Fed at 0.4%. We know that in March, policymakers were contending with many uncertain and conflicting signals, as well as geopolitical concerns. Those factors left the FOMC on the sidelines, as they punted into Q2, although the economic projections for the year, along with inflation forecasts, were trimmed. Look for the minutes to largely underscore the various uncertainties domestically and around the world as the central reason for the unchanged policy stance.

ECB Non-Monetary Policy Meeting   

The Non-Monetary policy’s ECB meeting is this morning in Frankfurt. This is a monthly meeting and involves all 25 members of the governing council.

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