Over the weekend, the EU published a list of tariffs on US products in response to the US tariffs on Steel and Aluminium. The total value of EU tariffs is up to €6.4 billion and this list is for “stakeholder consultation” purposes only. The EU will make the decision on whether to impose the tariffs in three months time but this is a clear signal to the US. Stock markets are trading lower and EURUSD is back to Friday’s lows around 1.22634.
Eurozone Consumer Price Index – Core (YoY) (Feb) was released and came as expected, unchanged in at 1%. Consumer Price Index (MoM) (Feb) was 0.2% v an expected 0.2% from -0.9% previously. Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Feb) was 1.1% v an expected 1.2%, from 1.2% previously. Consumer Price Index – Core (MoM) (Jan) was as expected at 0.4%, from -1.7% prior. Inflation rose late in 2016 and early in 2017 to 2.0%, the highest levels in five years, but has stabilized around 1.3% since June (YoY). The ECB is looking for inflation to “approach 2%”. Labour Cost (Q4) was 1.5% v an expected 1.8%, against a previous reading of 1.6%. EURUSDmoved lower to 1.23178 before turning higher to reach 1.23311 due to this data.
US Housing Starts (MoM) (Feb) came in at 1.236M v an expected 1.290M, from a previous number of 1.326M, which was revised up to 1.329M. Building Permits (MoM) (Feb) were 1.298M v an expected 1.320M, with the prior reading of 1.377M, which was revised down from 1.396M. As expected, this data showed a slight fall in residential construction activity but, overall, these data points have been recovering since hitting lows of 0.46M and 0.49M respectively in 2009, after the financial crisis. The readings last month were the highest since those lows in both cases. EURUSD sold off from 1.23282 down to 1.23000 after this data release.