The dollar has gained ground in comparison to its major competitors on Tuesday, bouncing back from some recent weakness. The move today was fueled by a larger than expected increase in U.S. retail sales for the month of July.
U.S. retail sales rebounded by more than expected in the month of July, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, although the report also showed that the contraction in June was worse than initially reported.
Overall U.S. retail sales were up 0.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted level of $403.9 billion, a notably stronger increase than the 0.3 percent growth predicted by most economists. However, June retail sales figures, which had initially shown a 0.5 percent decline, were revised even further down to show a 0.7 percent drop for the month.
The Eurozone economy contracted for the second time in three quarters as expected, despite the two biggest economies of the region showing some resilience, lifting possibilities of a recession going forward, official data showed Tuesday.
According to the flash estimate of Eurostat, gross domestic product of the 17-nation economy fell 0.2 percent from the previous quarter. The flat reading in the first quarter helped the region to skirt a recession after a 0.3 percent decline in output at the end of 2011.
The German economy grew more than expected in the second quarter, supported by domestic consumption and net exports. Meanwhile, the French economy stalled for a third successive quarter due to weak demand both at home and abroad.
The German gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, while expectations were for 0.2 percent growth. This followed a 0.5 percent GDP expansion in the first quarter and a 0.1 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The French statistical office Insee reported that its GDP recorded no growth in the second quarter, as was the case in the past two quarters. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent contraction.
The dollar rebounded from a 3-session low of $1.2385 versus the Euro Tuesday morning, back to around $1.2335.
German investor confidence unexpectedly declined for the fourth straight month in August to its lowest level so far this year on increasing concerns over economic slowdown and the consequent weakness in exports.
The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment fell to -25.5 from July’s -19.6. Economists had expected the reading to improve to -19.3. The latest score is the lowest since December 2011, when the reading was -53.8.
France’s EU harmonized inflation weakened modestly in July, after remaining steady in the previous month, data released by statistical office Insee showed Tuesday. The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP), measured under the EU methodology, increased by 2.2 percent annually in July, after remaining unchanged at 2.3 percent in June. Economists were looking for an inflation rate of 2.3 percent in July.
The greenback bounced back from a 2-week low of $1.5728 versus the pound sterling Tuesday morning, to around $1.5685.
Inflation in the U.K. accelerated unexpectedly in July, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. The consumer price index rose 2.6 percent year-on-year in July, faster than 2.4 percent increase in the previous month. Economists expected the rate of inflation to ease to 2.3 percent.
Members of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy board feel that Japan’s economy will return to a moderate recovery path, the minutes from its July 11-12 meeting revealed on Tuesday. The bank expects the recovery to follow firm domestic demand, and as overseas economies emerge from deceleration, the minutes said – although some of the members pointed out that Japan could still be adversely affected by Euro debt risks.
“There remains a high degree of uncertainty about the global economy, including the prospects for the European debt problem, the momentum toward recovery for the U.S. economy, and the likelihood of emerging and commodity-exporting economies simultaneously achieving price stability and economic growth,” the minutes said. “Regarding risks to the price outlook, careful attention should be paid to future developments in international commodity prices and in medium- to long-term inflation expectations.”
The buck extended yesterday’s gains versus the Japanese Yen on Tuesday and reached nearly a one-month high of Y78.926.
An index measuring tertiary industry activity in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent on month in June, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Tuesday, standing at 99.4. That beat forecasts for a contraction of 0.3 percent following the 0.7 percent increase in May.
Wholesale prices rose by slightly more than expected in the month of July, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday, with the price growth reflecting higher prices for light trucks, cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals.
The Labor Department said its producer price index rose by 0.3 percent in July following a 0.1 percent increase in June. Economists had been expecting prices to increase by about 0.2 percent.
U.S. business inventories increased by slightly less than expected in June, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department. Overall manufacturers’ and trade inventories were estimated at a seasonally adjusted level of $1.58 trillion for June, reflecting a 0.1 percent increase from May levels. The increase marks a slowdown from the 0.3 percent growth reported in May and comes in lower than the 0.2 percent growth expected by most economists.