U.S. stock markets ended the trading session lower, due to weak data on the housing market and the minutes of the previous meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Thus, the number of building permits dropped to 0.94 million, the number of housing starts in January has fallen to 0.88 million against the forecast 0.95 million. We should recall that the construction sector in the United States is key one in the U.S. economy. Investors also negatively perceived the lack of consensus between the members of the Federal Open Market Committee regarding future vision of monetary policy. But still it was decided to continue the reduction of the quantitative easing program.
On this background euro slipped slightly, but now resumed its upward movement. We look forward to continuing of the upward movement to 1.3810. The course of trading today will be affected by data on the service PMI of the Eurozone (09:00 GMT), manufacturing PMI of the Eurozone (09:00 GMT) and the USA (1400 GMT), the number of unemployment claims, as well as consumer inflation in the U.S. (13:30 GMT).
Statistics on the labor market in the UK had almost no impact on the price movements of the British pound, which continues to move in a sideways range. Thus, the unemployment rate in December increased to 7.2%, which is 0.1% worse than was expected, but the number of unemployed in the UK in January decreased by 27.6 thousand, against the forecast 18.3 thousand.
The trade deficit in Japan increased in January to 1.82 trillion against the forecast 1.56 trillion. Traders took this news negatively but the yen is still strengthening due to weakening of the U.S. dollar. We expect further price consolidation, after which, we expect growth of volatility.
The Australian dollar broke through a strong support level of 0.90 against the negative statistics from China, where the manufacturing PMI in February fell to 48.3 against the forecast 49.4. It should be noted that the deterioration of this month is likely related to the celebration of the New Year and the real situation in manufacturing can be estimated in March.
Extremely cold winter in the U.S. continues to keep demand for fuel at a high level on the background of which the quotes of Light Sweet crude oil continue to grow. Inventories of distillates are at a level that is 22% below the average for this time of year. Today the course of trading will be affected by data on oil and petroleum products inventories in the U.S. (16:00 GMT). With the coming spring and warming, we expect a decline of oil prices.
The price of gold has fallen against the publication of minutes of Federal Open Market Committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve in which were stated the intentions of further reducing of the quantitative easing program. The quotes of gold have reached the level of 1310 dollars per troy ounce. Reduction may stop at this point or at 1300. The bulls are still supported by uncertainty about the future prospects of growth on the stock markets.