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US Dollar Mixed on Construction Data, Trade Deal Optimism

March 4, 2019 at 20:56 by Andrew Moran

Benjamon Franklin looks from a 100 dollar notesThe US dollar is trading mixed against a basket of currencies to kick off the new trading week. The greenback is finding direction on new construction numbers and US-China trade deal optimism. The buck has been impacted by a myriad of disappointing economic data as of late.

According to the US Census Bureau, the construction industry recorded its slowest growth in seven years. In 2018, rising mortgage rates, shortages of landed, a skilled worker shortage, and ballooning home prices took a toll on this crucial sector of the economy as housing prices continued to increase faster than worker’s pay.

Last year, the value of single-family homes, manufacturing plants, and apartments rose 4.1%. Construction spending dipped 0.6% in December, following a 0.8% rise in November. The last time it was this weak was in 2011, when it declined 2.6%. A 30-year fixed mortgage rate topped 4.94% in November, which is 1% higher compared to the same time in 2017. Permits to build new houses climbed to an annual rate of 1.33 million, a post-recession high.

US homeownership increased in the final three months of 2018 to a four-year high, driven by the creation of new households, which surged at a 1.5 million pace. This trend of rising new families could boost housing demand in the coming years.

In other data, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported on Friday that the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter grew at a 2.6% annual pace.

Investors have been pleased by reports that the US and China could reach a new trade agreement by the end of March, a development that would eliminate tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping might meet at a formal trade pact signing ceremony on March 27, finally ending a year-long trade battle that has affected both economies.

The USD/CAD currency pair rose 0.11% to 1.3311, from an opening of 1.3296, at 19:35 GMT on Monday. The EUR/USD tumbled 0.28% to 1.1336, from an opening of 1.1368.

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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