Daily Afternoon Report 15.04.2015

The dollar remained broadly higher against a basket of other major currencies on Wednesday, even after data showed that manufacturing conditions in the New York area contracted unexpectedly in April, as markets awaited a report on U.S. industrial production later in the day.

In a report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index decreased to -1.2 this month from a reading of 6.9 in March. Analysts had expected the index to inch up to 7.0 in April.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.40% to 99.40.

EUR/USD dropped 0.68% to 1.0584 after the European Central Bank said it was maintaining its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.05%, in line with market expectations. The central bank also held its marginal lending at 0.30% and left its deposit facility rate unchanged at minus 0.20%.

ECB president Mario Draghi was expected to discuss the effects of the bank’s €1.1 trillion quantitative easing program on the region’s economy at the press conference.

The pound was also lower, with GBP/USD slipping 0.13% to 1.4763.

Elsewhere, the dollar was higher against the yen and the Swiss franc, with USD/JPY up 0.18% to 119.61 and with USD/CHF rising 0.33% to 0.9757.

The Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian dollars were broadly weaker, with AUD/USD declining 0.55% to 0.7585 and NZD/USD shedding 0.26% to 0.7502.

The export-related currencies came under pressure after data earlier showed that while China’s economy grew 7.0% in the first quarter, matching forecasts, it was still the slowest rate of growth in six years.

China is Australia’s biggest export partner and New Zealand’s second-biggest export partner.

Also Wednesday, the Westpac Banking Corporation said Australian consumer sentiment fell 3.2% this month, after a 1.2% decline in March.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD climbed 0.51% to trade at 1.2550 after data showed that Canadian manufacturing sales dropped 1.7% in February, compared to expectations for a 0.2% fall. January’s figure was revised to a 3.0% decline from a previously estimated 1.7% slide.