The Swiss currency declined against its major counterparts on Wednesday morning in New York. The franc thus halted its early New York session's rally against most of them.
The franc showed weakness in the early morning deals after a report from Credit Suisse showed that the Swiss SVME PMI stagnated at a record low of 32.6 in March. Economists had expected the reading to rise to 33 in March. The index has not posted a further fall for the first time in 15 months.
The franc reached as low as 1.1486 against the buck by 11:35 am ET, pulling back from a previous high of 1.1385 hit immediately after the opening bell in the Wall Street. The franc thus moved away from yesterday's multi-day high. The pair was worth near 1.14 at Tuesday's North American close.
In economic news from the U.S., private sector employment fell by much more than expected in March, according to a report released by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) today. The report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 742,000 jobs in March following a revised decrease of 706,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected a decrease of 663,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 697,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the money spent on construction dropped again in February, according to new government figures released today. The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending fell by 0.9 percent in February. This represented the fifth consecutive month of declines. February's decline followed a revised drop of 3.5 percent in January and a fall of 3.1 percent in December. Economists had expected a decline of about 2 percent.
Meanwhile, the activity in the manufacturing sector contracted for the fourteenth consecutive month in March, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management today. The ISM said its purchasing managers index edged up to 36.3 in March from 35.8 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting the index to come in at 36.0.
Reversing yesterday's new multi-week high, the franc eased to 1.518 against the euro by 11:40 am ET. The euro-franc pair that closed yesterday's deals at 1.5101 is currently quoted at 1.516.
Traders reacted to some key reports released in the Euro-zone today.
Jobless rate stood at 8.5% in February, the highest since May 2006, compared with January's revised 8.3%, the euro-stat said today. The jobless rate stood above the expected 8.3% and the 7.2% recorded in February 2008. The statistical office upwardly revised the unemployment rate for January from 8.2%.
The pace of decline in Euro-zone manufacturing activity slowed in March compared to the fall seen in February, reports said citing survey data from Markit Economics.
At the same time, the purchasing managers' index, or PMI, for the Euro-zone manufacturing sector rose to 33.9 in March from a record low of 33.5 in February, but down from a preliminary estimate of 34. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while below 50 suggests contraction.
According to provisional data released by the Federal Statistical Office, Germany's retail turnover in real terms decreased 0.2% month-on-month in February after falling 0.9% in January. The decline was in contrast to a 0.3% increase forecast by economists.
Against the UK's sterling, the franc reached a weekly low of 1.6543 before drifting slightly higher at 11:35 am ET. The pound-franc pair that closed yesterday's trading at 1.6327 is currently quoted at 1.6506. On the downside, the franc may test support near the 1.667 level.
UK's housing equity withdrawal was estimated at minus GBP 8 billion in the fourth quarter, a quarterly report from the Bank of England revealed. The negative number implies that individuals injected a net total of GBP 8 billion into housing equity in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a negative balance of GBP 6.8 billion.
The Swiss franc fell to 86.13 against the Japanese yen by 11:15 am ET, from a 5-day high of 87.37 hit early in the Asian session. The franc-yen pair, which closed yesterday's deals at 86.9, is currently trading at 86.25.
On the economic front in Japan, business confidence tumbled at its fastest pace ever in the first quarter to the worst on record. The Bank of Japan's Tankan Survey revealed today said that Japanese sentiment among large manufacturers plummeted at a record rate in the first quarter of 2009, posting a diffusion index score of -58,. That was worse than analyst expectations for -55 following a score of -24 in the previous quarter.
It was the sixth straight quarter of decline, and the fall of 34 points from the previous survey in December marked the largest fall on record. It was also worse than the previous record low of -57 in June 1975. However, the large manufacturers' outlook for the June quarter posted a mild recovery, coming in at -51.
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