Daily Afternoon Report 22/10/2015
The dollar extended gains against the other major currencies today, following comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and as data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose less than expected last week. The single currency was hit after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the central bank will “reexamine” its monetary policy in December, hinting at the possibility for further easing measures. Mr. Draghi added that the ECB’s quantitative easing program is set to run until 2016 or beyond if necessary. Mr. Draghi also said that downside risks have emerged for growth and the inflation outlook in the euro area. The comments came shortly after the ECB said it was maintaining its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.05%, in line with market expectations.
Elsewhere, in the U.S., the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending October 17 increased by 3,000 to 259,000 from the previous week’s total of 256,000.
Also, in the U.K. Office for National Statistics reported on Thursday that retail sales surged by 1.9% last month, blowing past forecasts for a gain of 0.3%. Year-on-year, retail sales increased by 6.5% in September, above expectations for a 4.8% gain.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, jumped 1.7% last month, easily surpassing forecasts for a 0.3% increase.
The data came a day after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned of the potential pitfalls of being a member of the European Union, as the country prepares to vote on membership of the single market. The comments came amid mounting concerns that the referendum promised by David Cameron by the end of 2017 may actually lead to the U.K.’s leaving the EU.
Meanwhile, USDCAD was little changed after Statistics Canada reported that retail sales rose 0.5% in August, beating expectations for a 0.1% uptick after a revised 0.6% increase the previous month. Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, were flat last month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise and after a 0.1% gain in August.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.86% at 95.97, the highest level since October 6.