The dollar traded on weaker footing against the majors, slipping by nearly 0.6% versus the British pound to just shy of the 1.53-level and slipping by around 0.3% against the euro to 1.2776. The US equity indexes were largely flat on the session, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 nearly unchanged while the Nasdaq crept higher by just over 0.5%. Crude oil extended its gains from the overnight session, edging up by 0.6% to hover near the $77.60-per barrel mark while spot gold drifted by about 0.4% to $1,207.30 per ounce.
The economic reports released earlier today saw a larger than forecast decline in import prices, with the monthly figure declining by 1.3% in June compared with a 0.5% decline in the previous month and firming by 4.5% from 8.7% a year earlier. Retail sales continued to struggle in June as the headline reading missed consensus estimates, printing at -0.5% versus -1.1% previously and the excluding automobiles retail sales figure at -0.1$ compared with -1.2%. Rounding out today's data was the May business inventories report, which increased by 0.1%, falling short of calls for 0.2% from the April reading of 0.4%.
The FOMC minutes for the June meeting revealed that several members expressed the need to consider whether further easing is necessary, should the economic outlook worsen considerably. Due to the financial strains, most participants downwardly revised the growth outlook, with nearly half of the members saying the balance of risks to growth have moved to the downside. Further, most members thought it was appropriate to defer the asset sales for some time, attributed to the weakening in outlook. The Fed downwardly revised its growth forecasts, with 2010 GDP lowered to 3.0-3.5% from the previous forecast for 3.2-3.7% and the 2011 growth rate shifted to 3.5-4.2%. The unemployment rate for 2010 was lifted to 9.2-9.5% and 2011 unemployment levels raised to 8.3-8.7%