Currency Note

German economy plummets to five-month low

By Roseanne Bradley May 17th, 2023

Yesterday the German economic sentiment fell to its lowest level in five months

It was a quiet day for the currency markets yesterday despite a flurry of economic data following the UK’s unemployment rate, which slightly increased by 0.1% in April on Tuesday.

Germany’s economic sentiment fell to its lowest level in five months, with the sentiment index falling to -10.7 in May from 4.1 in April. This was considerably lower than market expectations of -2.

US retail sales rose by 0.4% in April, partially recovering from two consecutive months of declines but falling short of market expectations of a 0.8% increase. The largest monthly retail sales increases came from miscellaneous stores (2.4%) and non-store retailers (1.2%).

Canada’s inflation rate rose unexpectedly yesterday to 4.4% from the 19-month low of 4.3% in March. This exceeded market forecasts and is rumoured to have reignited fears of a hawkish Bank of Canada.

The Canadian dollar strengthened following the CPI data release, which broke the streak of 10-consecutive months of slowing inflation.

The Japanese economy grew by 0.4% in the first quarter of 2023, GDP growth data revealed. This topped market forecasts of a 0.1% rise and reflected the fastest economic expansion since Q2 of 2022.

Former CEO of collapsed US lender Silicon Valley Bank, Greg Becker, spoke out yesterday to apologise to the Senate banking committee for what he called the “devastating” collapse of the bank.

Fast fashion business reported a £91m loss yesterday as its annual sales fell dramatically amid shoppers returning more items after lockdown. The retailer saw an 11% fall in sales to £1.8bn in the year to February’s end, including a 9% drop in the UK.

For data, today is relatively quiet. This morning there are speeches scheduled for members of the Bank of England and European Central Bank, however it’s this afternoon’s preliminary building permits data for the US that economists will be looking out for.

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GBP: Labour market struggles

Provisional data from the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of workers on UK employers’ payrolls dropped for the first time in two years last month. Figures showed a fall of 136,000 employees between March and April.

GBP/USD: the past year

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EUR: Final inflation reading

Later today, markets will receive the final April inflation rate for the euro area, which has the potential to move markets. However, the rate is only expected to fall to 6.9% from 7.0% last month.

USD: Homebuilder sentiment at 10-month high

Yesterday the NAHB/Fargo housing market index in the US rose to 50 points in May, from 45 in April. This marks the fifth consecutive month of growth despite continued challenges faced by builders due to a shortage of building materials.

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