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US Dollar Mixed on Flood of Economic Data

February 21, 2019 at 17:57 by Andrew Moran

One dollar note with a pyramidThe US dollar is mixed against a basket of major currencies on Thursday. With a flood of economic data, traders are sifting through the numbers and finding a play in the greenback. The US-China trade negotiations are also lingering in the background, something that could soon play a factor in the dollar in the coming weeks because reports suggest a new trade agreement is on the brink of happening.

According to the US Census Bureau, durable goods orders – products produced to last at least three years – climbed 1.2% in December, which is below the median estimate of 1.4%. The data was supported by strong demand for automobiles (2.1%) and commercial airplanes (28%), but the figure was weakened by a 0.7% slide in core orders and an overall dip in manufacturing.

Last month, existing home sales fell 1.2% to their lowest level in three years compared to December, reports the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In January, total housing inventory rose to 1.59 million, up from 1.53 million homes in the previous month. Home prices are still 2.8% higher than they were a year ago as the median price of an existing home sold last month was $247,500, which does represent the smallest annual gain in seven years.

In other housing data, weekly mortgage applications edged up 3.6% and applications to purchase a home jumped 2% for the week, a signal that the spring homebuying season could be a strong one. However, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally-adjusted index is still 2.3% lower than it was the same time a year ago.

With mortgage rates experiencing a downward trend, the real estate industry expected better numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Thursday that the number of people who applied for jobless benefits in the week ending February dropped to post-recession lows. According to the BLS, jobless claims decreased by 23,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 216,000. This suggests that the labor market is still roaring, helping the US economy stay on even ground.

The USD/CAD currency pair rose 0.18% to 1.3200, from an opening of 1.3178, at 16:32 GMT on Thursday. The EUR/CAD tumbled 0.09% to 1.1330, from an opening of 1.1337.

If you have any questions, comments, or opinions regarding the US Dollar, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

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