Major U.S. stock indexes ended the trading session slightly higher on positive reports of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO). The consumer price index in March increased by 0.2% vs. the forecast of increase by 0.1%. The greatest increase was due to higher food prices because of drought in Brazil and the USA. At the same time, prices for gasoline have dropped by 1.7%. The index of business activity in the housing market has increased to 47, but still remains below the 50 mark, which indicates the development of the sector. At the moment, there is a high possibility of renewed downward dynamics. We maintain a long-term negative outlook for the U.S. stock market.
Euro continues to move within the side channel above 1.3810. Controversial statistics from the Eurozone does not allow determining the direction of prices in the next few days. Thus, the index of business confidence fell to 61.2, against the previous value of 61.5, but the trade surplus of Eurozone increased by 15 billion in February, against 13.9 billion in January. Today the course of trading will be affected by data on consumer price inflation in the Eurozone (09:00 GMT), the housing market and industrial production in the U.S. (13:15 GMT). Also, at 18:00 GMT will be published the Beige Book, which reveals condition of the U.S. economy. We maintain a long-term positive outlook and expect increased volatility during today's session.
The price of the British pound continues to consolidate above the strong level of 1.6700. Quotes of currency rose slightly on the background of data on inflation in the country. Thus, the producer price index in March increased by 0.2% against the forecast of growth by 0.1%. Annual consumer price inflation fell by 0.1% to 1.6% as it was expected, and retail prices increased by 2.5% compared with the previous year. Today, we expect increased volatility after the release of data on unemployment in the UK (8:30 GMT). We maintain a long-term positive outlook for the British pound.
The price of USD/JPY continued its gradual growth on comments of the head of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda regarding the continuation of monetary policy easing measures in the country. In addition, Kuroda confirmed inflation target of 2.0% against the latter figure 1.3%. On this background, as well as due to the reduction of quantitative easing and growth of the U.S. economy, we keep medium-and long-term positive outlook for the pair and recommend holding long positions.
The price of the Australian dollar stopped falling on the background of data from China, where GDP growth has met expectations of analysts and made 7,4%. Industrial production in March showed an increase of 8.8% yoy compared to 8.6% yoy in February. We expect reduction of price in the medium term, while in the near future might be a slight correction. The index of leading economic indicators in February showed no growth, compared with a decline by 0.1% in January. Tomorrow we should pay attention to the index of business confidence in Australia. It is worth noting that tomorrow in Australia is a bank holiday.
The price of the New Zealand dollar dropped sharply after the release of data on consumer price inflation in the country. Thus, the consumer price index rose by 0,3% against the forecast 0.5% and the previous figure of 0.1%. Tomorrow in New Zealand is a bank holiday. We expect a further decline in the short term. Falling of prices can stop on the next week.
Prices for U.S. benchmark Light Sweet crude oil continue to be at high levels on the background of the tense situation in Ukraine. Downward effect on the quotes have restoring supplies from Libya, as well as progress in the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Today the course of trading will be affected by data on oil and petroleum products in the U.S. (14:30 GMT). We expect a decline in oil prices in the long term due to increased of supply from Iran and Libya, and the United States, where production is at record levels.
Gold prices has dropped after the release of data on inflation in the UK and the U.S. In addition, one of the reasons of the drawdown may be called technical overbought of gold and triggering of stop-losses on the background of fixations positions before the long weekend. Demand for the metal in Asia remains weak. We maintain a long-term positive outlook for gold due to the increasing probability of fall on stock markets after the corporate reporting season.