Eurozone inflation dropped more than forecast to its slowest in four years down to 0.5% from 0.7% for the month of March – way below the ECB’s target of less than 2%.
The data may well put the central bank under pressure on Thursday to take action to assist with the single bloc’s recovery. On March 25th ECB President renewed his vow to “take additional monetary policy measures” if “any downside risks” appear; thus Thursday’s press conference could provide some interesting reading.
Initially the Euro surprisingly strengthened but these gains were erased as the day went on with the GBPEUR finishing unchanged on the day.
Mortgage approvals for the month of February declined more than expected falling to 70,309 from 76,753 in January. Unsurprisingly the pound weakened off the back of this data.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made a speech yesterday afternoon which dampened demand for the US dollar.
Yellen commented that there was considerable slack in the economy and labour market and that considerable support would be needed for the economy for some time. This is somewhat of a contrast to what she said a month earlier, that quantitative easing should finish by October and that we could see an interest rate rise six months after.
As mentioned above the comments did cause a broad US dollar sell-off.
Data from the euro has painted a mixed picture of the state of manufacturing in the Eurozone. In France and Italy manufacturing expanded more than expected but in Germany and overall in Europe output slowed slightly.
Mixed data regarding employment in the Eurozone as well. In Germany and in the Eurozone unemployment remained at 6.7% and 11.9% respectively but in Italy unemployment rose to 13%.
UK manufacturing slowed slightly as well down to 55.3 in March causing the pound to be on the back foot this morning. Construction and service sector figures are due for release later this week which will give more guidance for the direction of the pound.
US data due for release this afternoon suggests that we could see the US dollar rebound as ISM manufacturing is set to expand further to 54.
14.00pm – USD – Construction Spending (Feb): Expected to increase to 0.2%.
14.00pm – USD – ISM Manufacturing PMI (PMI): Expected to expand to 54.