The US dollar weakened against its major currency counterparts yesterday after another round of data releases yesterday pointed towards a slowing US economy, with GBP/USD interbank exchange rates rising to one week highs of 1.325.
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Yesterday Housing data failed to impress, with the number of new building permits and new houses being built falling in February compared to the previous month. Housing Starts data, which measures the number of new single family properties being built, fell by 8.7% which is the largest fall in 8 months, and has been attributed to bad weather causing a slowdown in the construction sector.
Consumer Confidence figures were also released and showed a decline in confidence from 131.4 in February to 124.1 in March. This comes at the same time as a separate study from the Pew Research Center, which suggested that the majority of US citizens are predicting the US economy to weaken, and levels of national debt to continue to rise, by 2050. It is worth noting that the national debt to GDP ratio has been steadily rising since 2000, and was one of the pledges from US President Donald Trump in his election campaign to eliminate the nation’s debt, however so far he has failed to do so.
Many of the recent data releases have pointed towards a slowing economy, which was also bolstered by the Federal Reserve downgrading its growth predictions for 2019 last week, from 2.3% to just 2.1%. Concerns are mounting that the US economy is headed for a recession, signalled by warnings from a falling bond market, which has spooked investors into expecting the next move from the Federal Reserve could be one or two cuts to current Interest Rates in order to stop the economy from falling. Historically, a cut to interest rates has caused the currency in question to weaken as investors move their funds into higher yielding currencies.
Further US data releases which could impact US dollar exchange rates for the remainder of this week include Trade Balance figures at 12.30pm today, showing the difference between the countries imports and exports. Tomorrow afternoon will see the release of Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims data, followed by Growth figures for the final quarter of 2018. Please feel free to get in touch if you wish to discuss the outcomes of these releases.
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