Daily Morning Report 06.05.2015

The Australian dollar gained in Asia on Wednesday after an upbeat services PMI in China and slightly lower than expected retail sales at home. In Australia, March retail sales rose 0.3% month-on-month, weaker than the 0.4% gain seen. In China, a top trade partner for Australia, the April HSBC services PMI rose to 52.9. The PMI was at 52.3 in the previous month. AUD/USD traded at 0.7950, up 0.10%, after the data, while USD/JPY changed hands at 119.95, up 0.10%. Earlier, New Zealand said first quarter employment rose 0.7%, just below the 0.8% gain seen, while the labor cost index gained 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, below the 0.4% increase expected, with a participation rate at 69.60%, compared to 69.40% seen and an unemployment rate of 5.8%, above the 5.5% expected. NZD/USD traded at 0.7474, down 1.09%, after the data with investors eyeing a possible easing policy response at the next review by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Japanese markets are closed again today as they mark Constitution Day public holiday, and the final day of the so-called Golden Week period. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.03% to 95.25. Overnight, the dollar weakened after the Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing manager’s index rose to a five-month high of 57.8 last month, above forecasts for a reading of 56.2 and up from 56.5 in March. The data came after the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened to $51.37 billion in March from a deficit of $35.89 billion in February, whose figure was revised from a previously reported deficit of $35.4 billion. Analysts had expected the U.S. trade deficit to widen to $41.2 billion in March. In addition, financial firm Markit said its final reading of the U.S. services purchasing managers index slipped to 57.4 in April, a level that was down from both the preliminary April reading of 57.8 as well as the final March reading of 59.2. The U.S. trade deficit in March soared to its highest level in more than six years, as a prolonged labor dispute at critical West Coast ports and the stronger dollar weighed heavily on foreign trade. In its monthly report, the U.S. Department of Commerce said the nation’s trade deficit surged 43.1% to its highest level since Fall, 2008. The percentage increase was also the highest since December, 1996. Gold reached a session-high of $1,199 a troy ounce after the release. When adjusted for inflation, the deficit rose $16 billion to $67.2 billion in March, up from $51.2 billion a month earlier. March exports rose modestly to $187.8 billion, while imports skyrocketed by more than $17 billion to $239.2 billion for the month.

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