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US Dollar Slips on Mixed Data, Coronavirus Uncertainty

February 14, 2020 at 17:56 by Andrew Moran

A heap of USD notes and a heap of US centsThe US dollar is falling against multiple currency competitors to finish the trading week. The greenback could not find a concrete direction on Friday as the key economic reports were mixed. There is still a great deal of uncertainty in global financial markets surrounding the coronavirus, which was recently named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite the hiccup at the end of the trading week, the US dollar is still having an incredible start to 2020.

According to the US Census Bureau, retail sales in January climbed 0.3%, up from 0.2% in December. This matches market expectations. The gains were seen in motor vehicle and part dealers, furniture stores, and miscellaneous retailers, but the losses were felt in clothing stores, service stations, electronics businesses, and appliance outlets.

Industrial and manufacturing production slumped 0.3% and 0.8%, respectively, last month. Capacity utilization also slipped from 77.1% in December to 76.8% in January. Business inventories edged up 0.1% in December, up from the 0.2% drop in November.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment reading jumped from 99.8 in January to 100.9 in February. Its preliminary consumer expectations also rose to 92.6% this month, from 90.5% in January. Inflation estimates were flat at 2.5%.

In global financial markets, there is still a lot of uncertainty on the coronavirus. While the number of new cases has stabilized, the death toll is nearing 1,400 and total confirmed cases have topped 65,000 worldwide. The private sector has reacted with precaution and the Chinese government has instituted both fiscal and monetary stimulus to prevent a substantial economic fallout from the outbreak.

This week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress during his semi-annual testimony that the central bank is continuing to monitor the situation. While the repo market bailouts are expected to linger into April, the Eccles Building is unlikely to implement any further easing to limit potential damage from the coronavirus.

The US Dollar Index picked up 0.07% to 99.14, from an opening of 99.07, at 16:47 GMT on Friday. The greenback is poised for a weekly boost of 0.5%, lifting its year-to-date gain to 2.85%.

The USD/CAD currency pair tumbled 0.1% to 1.3253, from an opening of 1.3268. The EUR/USD dipped 0.03% to 1.0840, from an opening of 1.0844.

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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