How’dy USA

In US economic data on Friday, the Markit 'flash' manufacturing purchasing managers index fell from 53.0 to 52.5 (forecast 53.6). Existing home sales rose by 11.8% to a 5.51 million annual rate in February (forecast 5.1 million). The Federal Budget was in deficit by US$234 billion in February (forecast US$227bn). Wholesale inventories rose by 1.2% in January (forecast +0.2%).

US share markets fell on Friday on fears of a global slowdown. But President Trump said a trade deal with China "will probably happen". The Dow Jones index lost 460 points (or 1.8%). The S&P500 index fell 1.9%. And the Nasdaq index lost 196 points or 2.5%. Over the week, the Dow fell by 1.3%, the S&P 500 fell by 0.8% and the Nasdaq lost 0.6%.

The US treasuries rose on Friday (yields lower). The yield curve inverted (3-month bill yields above 10-year bond yields) for the first time in 12 years, in response to weak European data. US 2-year yields fell by 9 points to 2.32% and US 10-year yields fell by 10 points to 2.44%. Over the week, US 2-year yields fell by 12 points and US 10- year yields were down by 15 points.

In the US the Chicago Federal Reserve national activity index is released with the Dallas Fed manufacturing index.

Bonjour, Europe

European share markets fell on Friday in response to weak manufacturing and services data. The euro-zone composite purchasing managers index fell from 51.9 to 51.3 in March. The German composite PMI was at a 6-year low of 51.5. Banks and autos lost 2.2%. The pan-European STOXX600 index fell by 1.2%. The German Dax lost 1.6% and the UK FTSE was lower by 2.0%. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto fell by 1.2% while BHP fell by 2.0%.

Hello, world!

The Euro and commodity currencies were weaker against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro fell from near US$1.1390 to around US$1.1270 and was near US$1.1310 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar fell from US71.15 cents to US70.75 cents and was near US70.85 cents in late US trade. But the Japanese yen rose from 110.83 yen per US dollar to JPY109.75 and was near JPY109.90 in late US trade.

Global oil prices fell on Friday with traders worried about the outlook for global crude demand. Traders reacted to weak manufacturing data in Germany and France. But supporting prices was data showing that the number of oil rigs in operation in the US fell to 12-month lows in the latest week. Brent crude fell by US83 cents or 1.2% to US$67.03 a barrel and the US Nymex price fell by US94 cents or 1.6% to US$59.04 a barrel. Over the week Brent fell by 0.2% but Nymex was up by 0.9%.

Base metal prices were generally lower on Friday. Copper lost 1.8% and zinc fell 0.8%. But aluminium and tin rose by around 0.25%. Over the week metals were mixed with copper down 2% and lead down 1.7% but other metals were higher with tin up 1.7%.

The gold futures price rose by US$5.00 an ounce or 0.4% to $1,312.30 an ounce on Friday. The spot gold price was near US$1,313 an ounce in late US trade. Over the week, gold rose by US$9.40 or 0.7%. Iron ore rose by US$2.70 or 3.2% on Friday to US$86.20 a tonne. Over the week, iron ore rose by US60 cents or 0.7%.

G’day, Australia

In Australia no major data is expected.