Ulster Bank Markets Daily Top Three
Sterling and dollar higher as market looks ahead to Janet Yellen speech on Friday
Following on from the strong retail sales number last week, sterling continued to gain yesterday following the latest set of data from UK business organisation CBI, which showed that their industrial trends survey for August beat economists’ forecasts. Of note was that the survey of 505 firms found that export order books reached a two-year high, suggesting that the weakness of sterling may be supporting stronger demand for UK products from abroad. The dollar was also broadly higher versus other major currencies as markets wait to see if Janet Yellen will restate the hawkish view of the US economy expressed by Fed officials in recent weeks when she speaks on Friday.
US existing Home Sales decline in July
Sales of previously owned homes fell in July, down 1.6 percent from a year earlier. This follows four straight months of strong gains. The National Association of Realtors reported that the pace of existing home sales decreased 3.2 percent last month from June. Severely restrained inventory and the subsequent impact on affordability was considered the primary cause of the decline. Conversely, the US Commerce Department had reported on Tuesday that the sale of new homes rose to a nine-year high in July.
Oil down more than 1 percent on US inventory build up concerns
Oil prices extended losses yesterday on an unexpected increase in US crude stocks. US crude stockpiles increased by 2.5 million barrels to a total of 523.6 million barrels in the week ending August 19th. Analysts had expected a fall of 455,000 barrels. Brent crude was down about 1.5 percent on the day. Brent had briefly risen above USD 50 during the previous session after it was reported that Iran was sending positive signals that it may support OPEC action to prop up oil prices.