The dollar is losing ground against the Euro and the Japanese Yen Friday afternoon, but is up against the British pound. Investors were inundated with U.S. economic data this morning, after a trading week that had been extremely light on data. Once they were able to sift through the numerous reports, what they discovered was a number of disappointing results.
Retail sales in the U.S. saw a modest decrease in the month of December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday. The report said retail sales edged down by 0.1 percent in December following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in November.
Economists had expected sales to come in unchanged compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.
With utilities output showing another substantial decrease, the Federal Reserve released a report on Friday showing that U.S. industrial production fell by more than expected in the month of December. The report said industrial production dropped by 0.4 percent in December after slumping by a revised 0.9 percent in November.
Economists had expected production to dip by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.6 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.
Reflecting steep drops in prices for food and energy, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing that U.S. producer prices fell by slightly more than expected in December. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand dipped by 0.2 in December after rising by 0.3 percent in November. Economists had expected prices to edge down by 0.1 percent.
Manufacturers in New York State saw a sharp deterioration in business conditions in January, results of a key regional survey showed Friday. Results were well below what economists were predicting and marked the lowest levels in about 7 years. The figures also showed a multi-year low in optimism.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its Empire State index came in at negative 19.37 for January. This was down sharply from the reading of negative 6.21 in December. Economists had expected January’s figure to improve slightly to negative 4.
Reflecting more positive expectations for future economic growth, the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing that U.S. consumer sentiment has improved for the fourth straight month in January.
The preliminary report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 93.3 in January from the final December reading of 92.6. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 93.0.
Business inventories in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a modest decrease in the month of November, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday. The report said business inventories dipped by 0.2 percent in November after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in October.
Economists had expected inventories to come in unchanged, matching the reading originally reported for the previous month.
The dollar dropped to over a 2-week low of $1.0984 against the Euro Friday, but has bounced back to around $1.0935 this afternoon.
The euro area trade surplus hit a nine-month high in November as exports increased amid fall in imports, Eurostat reported Friday. The trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted EUR 22.7 billion from EUR 19.8 billion in October. This was the highest since February, when it totaled EUR 23.1 billion. Also, it stayed above the expected level of EUR 21 billion.
Demand and availability for unsecured lending increased notably in the fourth quarter, the latest Credit Conditions Survey from the Bank of England showed Friday.
Banks reported a significant increase in demand for unsecured lending in the fourth quarter. It was expected to increase again in the first quarter.
Demand for buy-to-let lending increased significantly in the fourth quarter, the bank said.
Meanwhile, demand for credit card lending fell notably at the end of the year, but lenders expected this to reverse in the first quarter.
Further, lenders said the availability of unsecured credit to households especially personal loans increased in the fourth quarter.
The buck has climbed to over a 5-year high of $1.4261 against the pound sterling this afternoon, from around $1.4430 this morning.
U.K. construction output dropped unexpectedly in November, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed Friday. Construction output fell 0.5 percent month-on-month in November, reversing a 0.2 percent rise in October. Economists had forecast a 0.5 percent rise for November.
The greenback has dropped to a 5-month low of Y116.501 against the Japanese Yen Friday, from around Y117.800 this morning. The Yen is benefitting from its safe haven status on an extremely weak day for global equity markets.
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