Overall: The currency market had a serious lack of momentum in the European session, and things didn't improve all that much in N.Y. The majors tried initially to break higher during the late Asian session, but this proved to be unattainable since almost every major is near an important swing point. Stocks traded moderately higher on the day after the report on housing came out better than expected, which allowed the pound and euro to trade upwards at a fairly steady pace. Markets could remain range bound until after Wednesday's FOMC statement, where traders will be looking for any new information regarding the Fed's assessment of credit markets and a plan to purchase Treasury notes and bonds.
In U.S. economic news, producer prices increased by 0.1% in February, the Department of Labor said today. That was less than the 0.3% increase economists had expected to see and far below the 0.8% increase seen in January. Core prices, ex-food and energy, increased 0.2% last month after the 0.4% increase seen in January. For the year, prices decreased 1.3%, more than the 1.0% decline seen in the year to January and the 0.9% decrease seen in December.
Also, housing starts increased 22.2% in February after plunging 14.5% in January, the Commerce Department said today. The increase was mainly due to a surge in multi-family projects. Starts were at a 583,000 annual pace last month, more than the 450,000 rate economists had expected to see. January was revised slightly higher to a 480,000 annual rate after the originally estimated 470,000 pace. Building permits rose less than starts, an indication that future construction could slow. Permits increased 3% to a 547,000 annual rate after being forecast to drop to a 500,000 pace. January was revised higher to 477,000 from the previously estimated 466,000.
The Euro (Eur/Usd) struggled to hold above the neutral pivot point (1.2965) in the overnight session. The pair had some feeble breakout attempts during the Asian session, but the 100-day simple moving average proved to be too much for the market at that time of the day. During the European session, the euro traded mostly flat, but the trend began to improve heading into N.Y. and the euro looked to finish with a small gain for the day although it was off its best level. The high in N.Y. was on 1.3016.
The Pound (Gbp/Usd) tried to move higher during the Asian session, but gave up to all of its gains during the European trading hours. The pair found a support base at around 08:00 EDT, and the pound moved steadily upwards as N.Y. traded. The high of the session was on 1.4047.
The Aussie (Aud/Usd) has had no clear direction since the new trading day started, caught between the 50 and the 100 day simple moving averages. The pair traded much more range-bound than either the euro or pound, although it seemed to have found a base of support in the .6580 area.
The Cad (Usd/Cad) traded mostly sideways in the Asian and European trading hours. The pair swung around the 20-day simple moving average after in the last two days the cad struggled and failed to break and hold below this support level. The pair traded lower throughout most of the N.Y. session as crude for March delivery gained nearly $1.50 on the day.
In Canadian economic news, manufacturing sales decreased 5.4% to $41.7 billion in January, falling to the lowest level in almost 10 years. Constant dollar manufacturing sales, which are measured in 2002 prices, fell 6.4% to $38.1 billion in January, the sharpest decrease in constant dollar sales since the current series started in 1997.
Also, the labor productivity of Canadian businesses fell 0.5% in the fourth quarter, extending the period of weakness in the business sector that began in the second quarter of 2007.
The Swissy (Usd/Chf) traded in an 80-pip range during the overnight session, but still the swissy was unable to develop any decent, sustainable trends. The pair rose 60 pips during the late Asian session, but started to lose ground as the market was heading towards the London open. The pair declined at the N.Y. open but seems to have found a support base at the 1.1810 handle.
Industrial production in Switzerland rose by 0.1%, beating market expectations. The previous reports showed the released number can be volatile, and very often deviates from the expected number. However, from one year earlier, industrial production in Switzerland fell 5.9%.
The Yen (Usd/Yen) had a very strong overnight session, unlike the last day of trading. The pair tried initially to break higher during the Asian session, but the lack of liquidity stopped the pair from moving higher. However, during the late Asian trading hours, the yen surged higher, breaking above the high of the last three days of trading. However, the pair was lower in N.Y. even as stocks declined, adding further fuel to speculation that the yen has disconnected from movements in the S&P 500.
Japans Tertiary Industry Activity Index increased 0.4 percent month over month in January. This was against analysts expectations for a 0.5 percent drop. Sectors that contributed to the increase in the index were postal services, information and communications, learning support, health care and welfare, and real estate. Meanwhile, these sectors declined for the month, transportation and the finance and insurance services.