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Foreign Exchange Market Update

Foreign Exchange Market Update

Please call the FX Department at 626-279-3235 for the most current rate.

February 25, 2021

Overnight changes in major currencies (9 a.m. PST)


United States (US): GDP Grows Slightly More Than Initially Estimated In Q4

Revised data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed GDP jumped by slightly more than originally estimated in Q4. The Commerce Department said GDP surged up by 4.1% in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 4.0% spike. The upward revision matched economist estimates. The slightly stronger than previously estimated GDP growth reflected upward revisions to residential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and state and local government. However, the upward revisions were partly offset by a modest downward revision to consumer spending, which surged up by 2.4% compared to the previously reported 2.5% jump. A worsening health situation, slower employment gains and dwindling fiscal aid limited the consumer spending advance. Strong housing activity and resilient business investment helped offset the consumer spending softness at the end of last year. Despite the slight upward revision, the increase in GDP in Q4 still reflected a significant slowdown from the 33.4% spike seen in Q3 of 2020. Looking at the current quarter, the combination of fiscal stimulus and improving health conditions at the start of 2021 have led to a string of positive economic surprises which, in turn, have led us to revise our GDP tracker to 7.2% in Q1. Analysts anticipate a summer mini boom in activity juiced-up by reduced virus transmission, increased vaccine diffusion, and generous fiscal stimulus. 02/25/2021 - 06:53AM (RTTNews)


New Zealand: Business Confidence Weakens In February

New Zealand dollar traded at 0.7428 U.S. cents at 9:00 am PST.

New Zealand business sentiment weakened in February, survey results from ANZ showed on Thursday. The business confidence index fell to 7.0 in February from 9.4 in December. The score was revised down sharply from 11.8. The firms' own activity outlook dropped to 21.3% from 21.7 in the prior survey. ANZ said most indicators were slightly lower than their preliminary readings, likely influenced by the snap lockdown. Nonetheless, the levels remained solid and consistent with the view that the economy will go through a flatter period this year as the real costs of pandemic and the closed border start to be more broadly felt. 02/25/2021 - 01:06AM (RTTNews)


European Union (EU)

Euro traded at 1.2231 against USD at 9:00 am PST. 


France: Consumer Sentiment Weakens In February

French CCI weakened slightly in February, survey results from the statistical office Insee showed on Thursday. CCI fell to 91 in February, while the score was forecast to remain unchanged at 92. Assessment of past as well as future financial situation remained broadly unchanged. The index for past financial situation rose to -16 from -17. Meanwhile, the outlook held steady at -9. The indicator measuring current saving capacity remained unchanged at 26, while that for future saving capacity rose to 11 from 8. Both balances were at their highest level ever. The survey showed that the share of households considering that the standard of living in France would improve in the next twelve months declined in February. The corresponding balance came in at -54 versus -51 a month ago. Consumers considering that prices will be on the rise during the next twelve months have been a bit less numerous than in January. The balance dropped one point to -30. 02/25/2021 - 04:09AM (RTTNews)


Italy: Consumer Confidence Improves In February

Italy's consumer confidence improved in February, survey results from the statistical office Istat showed on Thursday. CCI rose to 101.4 in February from 100.7 in January. Economists had expected a score of 101.0. The manufacturing confidence index increased to 99.0 in February from 95.6 in the previous month. Economists had forecast a score of 96.0. The economic sentiment index grew to 91.5 in February from 83.4 in the prior month. The business confidence rose to 93.2 in February from 88.3 in the preceding month. In construction, the sentiment index rose to 141.9 from 138.0 in the prior month. The indicator for services sector grew to 85.7 from 82.2 in January and that for retail increased to 93.8 from 88.3. 02/25/2021 - 05:17AM (RTTNews)


United Kingdom (UK): GBP Steadies As Risk Currencies Gain

British Pound traded at 1.4104 against USD at 9:00 am PST. 

A rally in risk currencies on Thursday helped GBP steady near $1.41, a day after it hit its highest levels in nearly three years. Bets that UK’s vaccine rollout will enable a quicker reopening of its economy and relief over a Brexit trade deal have pushed the pound up 3.5% against USD. GBP is correlated with risk and growth and tends to gain along with risk-on plays in markets. Issues over Brexit still simmer, although analysts maintain they won’t hurt GBP in the short to medium-term. 02/25/2021 - 04:38AM (RTTNews)


Japan: Leading Index Falls Less Than Estimated

Japanese Yen traded at 106.23 per USD at 9:00 am PST. 

Japan's leading index declined less than initially estimated in December, final data from the Cabinet Office showed on Thursday. The leading index, which measures the future economic activity, fell to 95.3 in December from 96.1 in November. In the initial estimate, the reading was 94.9. The coincident index decreased to 88.3 in December from 89.0 in the previous month. The initial estimate was 87.8. The lagging index remained unchanged at 90.8 in December. According to the initial estimate, the reading was 91.7. 02/25/2021 - 05:30AM (RTTNews)

This market update is prepared by Cathay Bank for informational purposes only and does not constitute any form of legal, tax or investment advice, nor should it be considered an assurance or guarantee of future exchange rate movements or trends. This information is provided without regard to the specific objectives, financial situations or needs of any recipient. Cathay Bank does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of this market update.

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