Risk appetite holds USD under pressure, amid March increase in retail sales

Risk appetite holds USD under pressure, amid March increase in retail sales

The dollar remained under selling pressure, with most of its major competitors making modest weekly gains against the US dollar. The Australian dollar did the best and the Canadian dollar the worst, with the latter closing the day in the red against the US dollar.

The upbeat US data made Wall Street lose even more weight, but more importantly, US Treasury yields plummeted. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell to 1.52%, the lowest in nearly two months, and later settled at 1.55%.

US retail sales rebounded sharply in March, printing 9.8%, much better than the 6.3% expected. Initial jobless claims fell to 683,000 in the week ending April 9, which also exceeded expectations, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s manufacturing survey totaled 50.2 in April. Finally, Industrial Production was 1.4% in March, while capacity utilization for the same month was 74.4%.
Increase in US Retail Sales
Supported by revenue support and accelerated vaccine release, retail sales in March rose 9.8% month-on-month, beating market expectations for a 5.9% growth. Combined with the February upward revision (from -3.0% to -2.7%), this translates into the first-quarter average of + 7.7%, which is the second record since the third quarter of 2020.

Retail sales were 27.7% higher than last March when the pandemic and restrictions first began. Even compared to retail sales before the pandemic, this level is extremely high, with sales 17.1% higher than in January 2020.

What a strong finish in the first quarter! While the American bailout plan urged consumers to loosen up their wallets, quick vaccinations and the lifting of restrictions have opened the floodgates wide for spending. Today’s report shows how much American consumers are willing to spend, given the means and options.

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Author : Azeez Mustapha

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Azeez Mustapha is an experienced author, trader, markets analyst, signals strategist, and funds-manager.