Mixed Economic Signals Confuses Currency Markets

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Investors have been focusing on the oil market to guide the direction of stocks regardless of the diverse picture developing in the economy. Mixed economic signals are also likely to have mixed effects on the dollar exchange rate. The dollar traded lower than other major currencies today. It was lower against the pound; GBP/USD was up 0.30% at 1.4005, though it made a seven-year low of 1.3875 on Wednesday. However, USD/JPY was down 0.12% at 112.84.

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Nonetheless, there has been a 10,000 increase in the number of persons filing for initial jobless benefits for the week beginning February 20. But apparently, last month’s total durable goods orders posted a rise of 4.9%, which was way above the 2.5% forecasts. The 1.8% increase of core durable goods orders surpassed the 0.2% gain expected.

Continuing the mixed signals, the dollar was also lower against the euro; EUR/USD was up 0.15% at 1.1032. This may have resulted from last month’s Eurozone’s consumer price inflation that increased by 0.3%.

There was also an expansion of gross domestic product by 0.5% in the first quarter according to the U.K. Office for National Statistics. Earlier predictions were for a 0.4% growth of the U.K. economy in the preceding quarter. The UK economy seems to have responded pretty well year-over-year having achieved a growth rate of 1.9% in the three months that concluded on December 31. The status remained in line with projections and unchanged from an initial reading.

In January, core CPI rose by 1.0% meeting expectations and initial estimates. The CPI however does not include food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco.

But the Australian and New Zealand dollars presented a different look altogether with AUD/USD down 0.17% at 0.7225 and NZD/USD rising 0.48% to 0.6754. There was a gain for the yen though, which reversed an earlier course as investors waited in anticipation of better results from the weekend G20 meeting in Shanghai.

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