Credit figures continue slow, steady improvement

Share Markets:

US economic data, confidence and housing, missed expectations.  However, US equities were inspired by positive earnings surprises from Merck and Sprint. 

The S&P 500 closed up 0.5% and the Dow Jones also finished 0.5% higher.

Bonds: US 2-year Treasury bond yields lifted by 1bp to 0.45%.  US 10-year yields initially rose from 2.70% to 2.73%, but reversed to 2.69% following the US economic data. 

Australian 3-year government bond yields (implied by futures) traded in a slightly higher 2.93%-2.96% range.  Meanwhile, the 10-year yield mimicked US yields and rose from 3.93% to 3.98%, before reversing to 3.94%.

Foreign Exchange: 

The US dollar index recovered from the previous day's sell-off. 

EUR/USD fell from 1.3879 to 1.3806, mostly around noon following a weaker-than-expected German inflation result. 

USD/JPY rose from 102.50 to a three-week high of 102.78 before retracing. AUD/USD bounced from 0.9234 to 0.9282. 

NZD bounced from 0.8517 to 0.8557. 

AUD/NZD traded between 1.0830 and 1.0865 for little net change.

Commodities: 

Oil prices rose overnight as sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis were hardened and gunmen opened fire in Libya's parliament. 

Gold, on the other hand, fell for a second straight day as equities pushed ahead.  The widely-watched basket of commodity prices, the CRB index, rose overnight by just over 2 points.

Australia:

There was no key economic data in Australia yesterday. 

Private-sector credit is released later this morning.  Credit has been on an improving trend in the past six months, although only very gradually.

China: 

The leading index rose from 99.31 in February to 99.93 in March.

Eurozone: 

The M3 measure of money supply for the Eurozone slipped 0.2 ppts to 1.1% in the year to March, just above the recent low touched in December. 

Loans to corporate and households continued to contact at an annual rate of 2.2%.

The Eurozone business climate indicator (BCI) slipped from 0.40 in March to 0.27 in April.  This outcome contrasts with other surveys of businesses this month that showed further improvement, such as the Ifo survey in Germany.

The BCI is a survey of 92,000 manufacturing firms across the Eurozone. The economic sentiment index fell 0.5 points to 102.0, the first fall in a year.

German inflation rose from 1.0% to 1.3% in the year to April, according to the preliminary report.  In EU harmonised terms (HICP), the gauge rose from 0.9% to 1.1% in the same time period.

New Zealand:

New Zealand's export boom continues with exports up 15% in the year to March to a new record high.  Within that result, dairy exports rose by 45% to NZ$1.53bn, a record March outcome. 

Imports were also strong, rising by 13% in the year to March mainly due to one large capital item (a drilling rig).  New Zealand's trade surplus rose to NZ$920 in the month.

United Kingdom:

GDP grew 0.8% in Q1 for a 3.1% annual growth pace, the fastest since the end of 2007. 

The detail showed services accelerating further to 0.9% and manufacturing more than doubling its growth rate from 0.6% to 1.3%. 

Construction barely reversed its small fall in Q4 (with a 0.3% gain in Q1), impacted by flooding during the quarter.  Pockets of weakness were apparent in utilities, mining and forestry & fishing. 

Overall, the UK economic recovery is broadening.

Bank of England's Carney reiterated his stance overnight that "MCP is comfortable with policy stance" and that "interest rate rises will be gradual and limited".

United States: 

Consumer confidence slipped 1.6 points to 82.3 in April.  However, March's result was revised up by 1.6 points to 83.9 and was the highest reading since January 2008. 

The slippage in confidence in April was due entirely to the present-conditions component, which dropped to a three-month low.  Expectations for the next six months edged up a tick. 

In other data, house prices decelerated a little from 13.2% in the year to January to 12.9% in the year to February, according to the S&P-CS 20 city index. 

It is the smallest annual increase since August last year.  Growth in housing values has eased as mortgage rates have risen and severe winter weather restrained housing demand.


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