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Monday’s Retail Sales Report could Boost US dollar

H.S. Borji
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Monday’s Retail Sales Report could Boost US dollar

The struggling US dollar could be granted reprieve Monday when the Commerce Department reports on March retail sales. Steady job growth and the return of warm weather are expected to see retail sales jump 0.8 percent in March, according to a broad consensus of market analysts. Excluding automobiles, retail revenues are expected to have risen 0.3 percent.

US retail revenues rebounded in February, a sign the economy was regaining momentum after inclement weather weighed on activity this winter. Retail revenues increased 0.3 percent, after a revised 0.6 percent drop the previous month. The core measure, which excludes volatile elements such as automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, also rose 0.3 percent in February following a revised 0.6 percent drop the previous month.

The US dollar had a disappointing week, as a dearth of economic data kept the forex markets fixated on developments outside the United States. The minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee policy meetings revealed central bank officials hadn’t reached a decision about monetary policy.

As of Friday’s morning session, the US dollar index was up 0.1 percent to 79.47.

Retail sales, which are used to gauge consumer confidence, could have a significant impact on US dollar pairs. As the US economy reasserts itself after a harsh winter, the markets will closely monitor consumer sentiment for clues about future spending.

US consumer sentiment rose faster than expected this month, according to the University of Michigan’s monthly confidence indicator. The consumer sentiment index rose 2.6 points to 82.6, topping forecasts.

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