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16.09.2015 18:20

American focus: the US dollar weakened

The US dollar fell to a minimum of three weeks against most major currencies. Weaker-than-expected US economic data, speak in favor of the fact that the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates at the September meeting, which will end on Thursday.

The US Labor Department said that consumer prices declined slightly at the end of August recorded the first decline since January, which was largely caused by the collapse of the oil market.

According to the report, the consumer price index fell in August by 0.1%, following a similar increase in the previous month. It is worth emphasizing the growth of prices was observed in each of the previous six months. With the exception of volatile prices for food and energy, core index prices rose by 0.1%. Economists had expected the overall price index to remain unchanged in August, while the benchmark increased by 0.1%.

The wider picture shows that inflation remains historically low. Compared to August of last year, consumer prices rose 0.2%, while the core index rose by 1.8%. Experts forecast an increase of 0.2% and 1.9%, respectively.

A significant drop in oil prices caused by the glut in the market and weak demand, has had the greatest impact on overall inflation. Meanwhile, the slowdown in economic growth in Asia and weakness in Europe also contributed to the price of some goods.

The report also showed that energy prices fell by 2% last month, led by a decline in the cost of gasoline by 4.1%. Over the past year the price of energy fell by 15%, while the cost of gasoline has fallen by more than 23%.

Housing costs (rent and mortgage payments) rose by 0.2% in July and 3.1% per annum. Food prices rose 0.2% on the month and 1.6% per annum, while the cost of health care products increased by 0.3% compared with the previous month and by 3.4% per annum.

Investors took a wait on a background of heightened uncertainty over whether the Fed will start raising interest rates this Thursday for the first time in nearly ten years.

The increase in interest rates would boost the dollar, making it more attractive for investors looking for high-yield assets.

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen said that the rise in interest rates depends on the statistical data, but also noted that the bank plans to start lifting interest rates before the end of the year.

Previously, pressure on the euro has had a publication of weak data on inflation in the euro area. The statistical agency Eurostat reported that annual inflation in the eurozone was 0.1% in August against 0.2% in July and expectations at + 0.2%. Recall that in August 2014 the figure was 0.4%. The maximum rise in prices in the euro area (in annual terms) was seen in cafes and restaurants (+ 0.10%). Vegetables and tobacco went up by 0.09% and 0.08%, respectively, while the prices for transport fuels and heating oil fell by 0.55% and 0.25%, respectively. Meanwhile, the value of milk, cheese and eggs decreased to 0.07%. Among EU annual inflation was 0.0% compared with 0.2% in the previous month. In August 2015, negative growth was observed in eleven states. The largest decrease was recorded in Cyprus (-1.9%), Romania (-1.7%) and Lithuania (-1.0%). The highest growth rates were recorded in Malta (1.4%), Austria (0.9%) and Belgium (0.8%). Probably, the data reinforce talk that the ECB will be forced to extend the bond purchase program, which should be completed in September 2016.

The pound has appreciated significantly against the US dollar, offsetting with all the lost positions yesterday. Support for the currency was stronger than the data on the labor market in Britain. As it became known, the average earnings of British workers (excluding bonuses) increased significantly in the three months (to July), registering with the highest rates of more than six years. According to the data, the average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) rose by 2.9 percent in the period from May to July, which followed an increase of 2.8 percent in the previous three months (to June). The latter increase was the largest since the beginning of 2009 and coincided with the expectations of experts. Taking into account bonuses, average earnings growth also accelerated to 2.9 percent against 2.6 percent in the three months to June (revised from +2.4 per cent). It was predicted that earnings will grow by 2.5 percent. The report also stated that the unemployment rate in the UK fell to 5.5 percent in the period from May to July, compared with 5.6 percent in the previous three months. It was predicted that the unemployment rate will remain unchanged. The number of people in employment rose by 42,000 in the three months to July, reaching 31.095 million. People, but the number of unemployed also increased - by 10,000 to 1.823 mln. People. Meanwhile, the number of applications for unemployment benefits rose 1,200 after falling in July 6800 (revised from -4.9 thousand.). It was expected that the number of appeals will fall by 5 thousand.

The yen depreciated significantly against the US dollar, reaching a minimum at the same time yesterday, which was caused by the news that the agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Japan's credit rating to A + from AA-. Commenting on the decision, analysts of the agency said that the support of the economy continued to weaken Japan's creditworthiness over the last three or four years. The Standard & Poor's also noted that the policy of Abe "was promising at first, but ultimately failed to revive economic growth and end deflation, and is now unlikely to be able to overcome the economic slowdown over the next 2-3 years

Pressure on the yen also had news that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has revised downward the forecast of world economic growth over the next 2 years. Now it is expected that at the end of 2015 global GDP will rise 3% against the June assessment at the level of 3.1%, and in 2016 - 3.6% against the earlier forecast of + 3.8%. Meanwhile, the OECD revised its growth forecast for Japan's GDP in 2015 to 0.6% from 0.7%.

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