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The euro exchange rate significantly higher against the U.S. dollar, despite the fact that the key indicators of the service sector and manufacturing continues to indicate a contraction in activity. Note that the activity in the private sector in the euro area fell again in May, which is likely to add to the arguments in favor of more action by the European Central Bank and the government, aimed at stimulating economic growth.
According to Markit Economics published data, preliminary composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) euro zone, the indicator of activity in services and manufacturing rose in May to 47.7 from 46.9. The total value exceeded economists' expectations, but the index is still below 50, indicating a contraction in activity. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in activity. We add that there were no signs that the prolonged decline in activity is close to completion. Purchasing managers reported a decrease in the volume of new orders for 22 months in a row, with the rate of decline accelerating the third consecutive month. Note that to change the dynamics of trade could not even better than expected U.S. data.
According to a report from the Ministry of Commerce, at the end of last month sales of new homes increased significantly, thus surpassing estimates of experts, which is a bullish sign for the housing market in the United States. According to the report, the seasonally adjusted sales of new homes rose in April by 2.3 percent, reaching at the same annual rate of 454,000, compared to the upwardly revised figure for the previous month at 444,000 units. Note that according to the average estimate of economists, new home sales should grow to reach 425,000 units, compared with 417,000, which was originally reported in the previous month, reflecting an increase of 1.9 percent. We also add that the monthly growth reflected the 10.8 percent increase in sales of new homes in the West, as well as a 3.0-percent increase in sales in the South. On the other hand, new home sales in the Northeast fell 16.7 percent, while sales in the West declined 4.8 percent. The Ministry of Commerce also noted that the pace of new home sales increased by 29.0% compared to 352,000 in April 2012.
The British pound rose against the dollar, while the published data reflected that the costs of UK households in the 1st quarter grew at the slowest pace in 18 months, despite a slight increase in earnings in the period. This indicates that the British did not hurry to part with cash in an uncertain economic environment. In its second estimate of GDP for the 1st quarter of the UK National Bureau of Statistics (ONS) on Thursday confirmed that GDP grew by 0.3% compared with the previous quarter and by 0.6% compared to the 1st quarter of 2012. According to the ONS, household spending on goods and services in the 1st quarter were up 0.1%. This is the weakest level since the third quarter of 2011, when spending fell by 0.1%.
The Canadian dollar was higher against the U.S. dollar, which helped the presented data that showed that the number of U.S. workers applying for new unemployment benefits fell last week, suggesting that the slow improvement in the labor market. The number of applications - a preliminary indicator of layoffs, fell by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 in the week ended May 18, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had forecast 347,000 new claims last week. The indicator of layoffs back to at least five years. Four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell by 500 to 339,500. Claims for the week ending before May 11 were revised up to 363,000 from a previously reported 360,000. In a report earlier this month, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 7.5% in April, its lowest level since 2008.
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