The dollar is up against the Japanese Yen and the British pound Wednesday afternoon and is paring its losses against the Euro following the release of the Federal Reserve statement. As expected, the Federal Reserve made no change to monetary policy in light of disappointing recent economic data.
“Economic activity appears to have slowed,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement released after its two-day meeting this week. “Growth in household spending has moderated, although households’ real income has risen at a solid rate and consumer sentiment remains high.”
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) left its benchmark interest rate unchanged in a range of 0.25% to 0.50%.
Stubbornly low inflation and rough patch for the economy have kept the FOMC from raising interest rates since December, when rates were hiked for the first time in a decade.
Some economists expected clues regarding a possible June rate hike, but the Fed gave no clear signal on timing of next rate increase.
Pending home sales in the U.S. increased by much more than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday, with pending sales rising to their highest level in almost a year.
NAR said its pending home sales index climbed by 1.4 percent to 110.5 in March after jumping by 3.4 percent to a revised 109.0 in February. Economists had expected pending sales to rise by 0.5 percent.
A stronger euro is not a concern for the European Central Bank, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview published Wednesday.
“The euro has stabilized over the last month after a clear depreciation,” Coeure told the Italian daily Il Sole 24 in an interview, the transcript of which was published on the ECB website.
“It is not an obstacle to our monetary policy,” he said.
The dollar slipped to a low of $1.1359 against the Euro around the release of the Fed statement, but has since bounced back to around $1.1310.
German consumer optimism improved unexpectedly in May, survey data from market research group GfK showed Wednesday. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index rose to 9.7 from 9.4 in April. It was forecast to remain unchanged in May.
Germany import prices declined at the fastest pace in more than six years in March, Destatis reported Wednesday. Import prices dropped 5.9 percent year-on-year in March, following a 5.7 percent fall in February and a 3.8 percent decrease in January. This was the biggest fall since October 2009, when prices decreased 8.1 percent.
French consumer confidence remained unchanged in April, the statistical office Insee reported Wednesday. The consumer sentiment index came in at 94 in April, the same as in March. It was forecast to rise to 95.
The buck has climbed to around $1.4540 against the pound sterling this afternoon, from an early low of $1.4621.
The U.K. economy expanded at a slower pace in the first quarter of the year as the service sector alone made positive contribution to growth amid the “Brexit” fears.
Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent from a quarter ago, when the economy expanded 0.6 percent, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics revealed Wednesday. The sequential growth rate came in line with economists’ expectations.
U.K. retail sales declined unexpectedly in April at the fastest pace since January 2012 but a rebound is expected next month, Distributive Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry revealed Wednesday.
A balance of 13 percent reported a decline in sales in April, reversing a 7 percent rise in March. Economists had forecast a score of +13 percent. Nonetheless, a balance of 9 percent expect sales to improve in May.
The greenback has broken out to around Y111.565 against the Japanese Yen this afternoon, after hovering around Y111.200 for much of the session.
Japan’s all industry activity decreased at a slower-than-expected pace in February, after rising in the previous month, figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Wednesday. The all industry activity index fell 1.2 percent month-over-month in February, in contrast to a 1.2 percent climb in January. Economists had expected a 1.3 percent decline for the month.