The Euro strengthened against a host of currencies yesterday after the Euro-zone ended four months of deflation in April with consumer prices unchanged from year-ago levels, removing the threat of persistent price declines as energy costs pushed up in the month.
The bottoming out of price declines is welcome news for the European Central Bank who started printing money in March to inject more cash into the economy and ward off concerns of persistently falling prices, or deflation, showing the quantitative easing programme is working.
Analysts had begun questioning whether the ECB will need to carry out quantitative easing all the way through to September 2016, the data suggested otherwise which boosted the currency.
The Euro's gains were further compounded yesterday evening when Spain's GDP was revealed to have grown at its fastest pace since before the global economic crisis in 2007, boosting hopes that the Euro-zone is bouncing back despite the ongoing turmoil in Greece.
The Dollar gained against several currencies, including the Pound, after applications for US jobless benefits declined last week to the lowest level in 15 years, showing employers view a first-quarter slowdown in the economy is probably temporary.
With job openings at a 14-year high and prospects for stronger growth after the first-quarter setback, companies are intent on maintaining headcounts. The level of firings is consistent the Federal Reserve’s view of sustained progress in the job market. The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 74,000 to 2.25 million in the week ended April 18, the lowest level since December 2000.
Consumer confidence is high going into the General Election, new figures showed Thursday, but has failed to improve on last month. The consumer confidence index remained at a score of four in April. Despite confidence failing to improve on March, it is at its highest level for over a decade. At the depths of the financial crisis it neared minus 40. Survey respondents said they were happier with their personal finances and the general economic situation, but were less likely to make a major purchase than in March.
YouGov yesterday said that confidence had fallen for the first time in April, a further blow to chancellor George Osborne, after figures released earlier this week showed economic growth had slowed to its lowest level since 2012.
“It is clear that consumers still feel as though the recovery is fragile and that many of them are not feeling it in their wallets,” said Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov.
09:30 - GBP - Manufacturing PMI
15:00 - USD - ISM Manufacturing PMI