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US Jobless Claims Rise Unexpectedly, EUR/USD Rallies

February 18, 2021 by

EUR/USD rose today but has been unable to erase yesterday’s losses at the time of writing. Market analysts pointed at unexpectedly poor US unemployment data as the reason for the rally but the currency pair has started its rally before the release and paused it afterward, though retained its gains. Outside of the unexpected increase of jobless claims and worse-than-expected housing starts, all other US macroeconomic indicators released on Thursday beat expectations.

Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell from 26.5 in January to 23.1 in February but was still above the median forecast of 20.3. (Event A on the chart.)

Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.58 million in January, down from 1.68 million in December and slightly below the forecast level of 1.66 million. Building permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.88 million — an increase from the previous month’s rate of 1.70 million. That was a surprise to experts who were expecting a drop to 1.67 million. (Event A on the chart.)

Both import and export prices rose in January. Import prices were up by 1.4%, whereas market participants were expecting the same 1.0% rate of increase as in December. Export prices climbed by 2.5% after rising by 1.3% in the preceding month. (Event A on the chart.)

Initial jobless claims were at 861k last week, seasonally adjusted, up from 848k last week (revised up from 793k). That is instead of falling to 775k as analysts had predicted. (Event A on the chart.)

US crude oil inventories fell sharply by 7.3 million barrels last week, far more than experts had predicted — a 2.1 million barrel drop. The inventories were at the five-year average for this time of year. The stockpiles fell by 6.6 million barrels the week before. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels and were 1% above the five-year average. (Event B on the chart.)

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