US trade volumes grow unexpectedly; US retail sales slip and consumer prices drop; UST 10yr 2.23%; oil and gold stable; NZ$1 = 70 USc, TWI = 75

Here's a special holiday update of some key events and data you may want to know about today.

First up, in the US ports there are reporting a strong rise in trade. The California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, each said they imported a combined a +26% increase over the same month last year and a +13% rise from February. Together, these are the largest seaport system in the country and focus on the China trade.

However, American retail sales fell for a second straight month in March and consumer prices dropped for the first time in just over a year. You have to wonder if the Americans are picking up the effect of the online shift in their retail sales - or whether the stall is more to do with evaporating margins from traditional retailers, rather than a volume fall. But with their labour market near full employment, these weak reports failed to change views that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in June. Economists expect a rebound in both retail sales and monthly inflation.

In New York, the UST 10yr yield is sharply lower today, now at 2.23%. 

The US benchmark oil price is just marginally higher today and now just over US$53 a barrel, while the Brent benchmark is just under US$56. Most oil producers support an extension of output cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries, and Iran would also back such a move, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying.

The gold price is unchanged at US$1,286/oz.

The New Zealand dollar is little changed and now at 70 USc. On the cross rates it holding at 92.3 AU¢, and 65.9 euro cents. The TWI-5 is now at 75.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk over the holiday period is by following our Economic Calendar here »

Daily exchange rates

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We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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3 Comments

Update > Gold now jumped up @ US$1,295 today

... But with their labour market near full employment, these weak reports failed to change views that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in June.

Exactly.

Any central bank views itself as an agent under monetary neutrality, which simply means the central bank sets monetary policy and the market, so-called, does whatever it does from there. Using inflation, unemployment, and other economic factors as a guide, monetary policy shifts when those economic arrangements fall out of whatever bounds it sets for itself.

From this perspective, the housing bubble was a market event not a monetary one. If that sounds surprisingly irrational that is because we have been conditioned since Paul Volcker’s Fed to believe that monetary officials are the wisest of stewards. By its own rules, there was nothing particularly disturbing about the middle 2000’s. The Fed knew that the housing market was well outside of historical bounds, but, again, that was from their view a market choice; consumer inflation as well as unemployment all remained within their boundaries for good conduct. Read more

Gold won't be stopping there either !
People thinking housing was a great hedge will discover it's not so good when people can't afford to pay their mortgages and must sell
The US data has been manufactured and shouldn't be trusted anymore than China's data