Dollar Ticks Lower on Weaker Data

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This morning’s U.S. economic reports had only a minor impact on the U.S. dollar. Weekly jobless claims, the Philadelphia Fed survey and leading indicators are important but not enough to have a meaningful impact on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, particularly since the surprises were small. We already know from the Beige Book that labor market and consumer spending conditions aren’t as bad as the latest payrolls and retail sales report suggests. In fact, jobless claims are low even with the small increase this week and the upward revision last week. Manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia region also slowed in April while leading indicators declined. More specifically, jobless claims rose to 352K from 348K while continuing claims dropped to 3.068 million from 3.103 million. The Philadelphia Fed index fell to 1.3 in April versus a prior reading of 2.0 and leading indicators fell 0.1%.

A number of Federal Reserve Presidents also spoke this morning including Tarullo, Kocherlakota and Lacker. Of these, only Tarullo is a FOMC voter this year and he felt that the “March jobless numbers give some pause.” Both Kocherlakota and Lacker were a bit more optimistic. Kocherlakota warned that low rates can mean inflated asset prices and volatility while Lacker said more directly that he favors stopping QE now. FOMC Voter Raskin is schedule to speak later this afternoon so keep an eye out for her comments.

Meanwhile the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers meeting starts today and goes until Friday but we don’t expect any major comments on currencies. The Group of 20 may reiterate that countries like Japan should avoid competitive devaluation but with so many guilty of doing the same, it may be difficult to official harden their stance on Japan.

Kathy Lien
Managing Director

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