The dollar has climbed to a 6-month high against the Japanese Yen on Wednesday, due to uncertainty about Japan’s inflation target. The U.S. currency is also rebounding from early weakness against its major European competitors after releasing a large number of economic reports.
With orders for transportation equipment and computers showing notable decreases, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing a pullback in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the month of October.
The report said durable goods orders fell by 2.0 percent in October after jumping by an upwardly revised 4.1 percent in September. The drop in orders matched economist estimates.
In an upbeat sign for the labor market, the Labor Department released a report on Wednesday showing an unexpected decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended November 23rd. The report said initial jobless claims slid to 316,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 326,000.
The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to climb to 330,000 from the 323,000 originally reported for the previous month.
After reporting a substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity last month, MNI Indicators released a report on Wednesday showing a slowdown in the pace of growth in the month of November.
MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer dipped to 63.0 in November after jumping to 65.9 in October, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the business barometer to drop to a reading of 60.5.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved in the month of November, according to revised data released by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan on Wednesday. The report said the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for November came in at 75.1, reflecting a substantial upward revision from the preliminary reading of 72.0.
Indicating strengthening conditions in the underlying economy, the Conference Board released a report on Wednesday showing that its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators unexpectedly rose for the fourth straight month in October.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index edged up by 0.2 percent in October after rising by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in September. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged.
Bank of Japan Policy Board member Sayuri Shirai said Wednesday that Japan may not attain the 2 percent price stability target as expected and is likely to follow a more moderate path than outlined in the central bank’s outlook report.
“The current path toward achieving the 2 percent target entails uncertainty,” the policymaker said during a speech in Tokushima.
Shirai sees considerable difference between medium-to long-term inflation expectations and the 2 percent target. Also, she considers the pace of the increase in medium- to long-term inflation expectations to have moderated or become more or less flat in recent months.
The dollar climbed to a 6-month high of Y102.169 against the Japanese Yen on Wednesday, from yesterday’s low of Y101.138.
The greenback dropped to a 1-month low of $1.3612 against the Euro early Wednesday, but has since bounced back to around $1.3575.
A leading indicator of the euro area increased further in October, signaling continued improvement in the outlook for the economy, data from a survey conducted by the Conference Board showed Wednesday. The leading economic index moved up 0.6 percent month-on-month to 110.4 in October, after rising 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent respectively in September and August.
Germany’s consumer confidence hit a 6-year high towards the end of 2013 as hopes of a faster recovery and the reduction in interest rates boosted consumer mood, survey data from the market research group GfK showed Wednesday.
The forward-looking consumer confidence index for December rose to 7.4 from a revised value of 7.1 points in November. The reading was forecast to rise by 0.1 points from November’s originally estimated value of 7.
Confidence among French households decreased modestly in November from the previous month, survey data released by statistical office Insee revealed Wednesday. Economists had forecast sentiment to remain unchanged. The consumer confidence index dropped to 84 in November from 85 in the previous month. The index was forecast to stay unchanged at the October level.
The buck dropped to an 11-month low of $1.6329 against the pound sterling on Wednesday, but has since rebounded to around $1.6275.
The U.K. economy expanded 0.8 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter, in line with the initial estimate published on October 25. Gross domestic product grew at the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2010, and follows 0.7 percent growth in the second quarter of 2013, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.