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US Consumer Confidence At 6 Year High

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US Consumer Confidence data for March has just been published by the Conference Board. Sentiment not only remains high but is continuing to improve, this months figure is 82.3 rising from last months 78.1, consensus expectations were for a reading of just 78.6.

The US Census Bureau has also published the New Home Sales data for the month of February. The Bureau claim 0.44M homes were sold last month compared with 0.468M the previous month, markets had been expecting a slight fall off to 0.445M. In percentage terms this months fall is 3.3% month on month compared with the January to February rise of 9.6%, the consensus was for a fall off of 4.9%.

Finally the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond took the opportunity to publish it’s March Manufacturing Index. Today’s reading of -7 will not provide any relief on the back of a sharp downturn in the February number which entered negative territory at -6.

US monetary authorities are unlikely to be too perturbed by the mixed data we have seen over the past few hours. The overall picture has a decidedly neutral tone with little in the way of surprises. The key US figures are still to come later this week in the form of Durable Goods tomorrow and the all important GDP update on Thursday.

A series of Federal Reserve chiefs are due to give public speeches over the next 24 hours that may offer some further insight into the recent deliberations of the FOMC. The Presidents of the Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Philadelphia and St. Louis who are all due to speak were all in attendance at last weeks monetary policy meeting, of these however only Charles Plosser from Philadelphia is currently a voting member, he used that vote to favor a breaking of the link between interest rate decisions and underlying economic metrics, it will be interesting to hear his reasoning for doing so.

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