U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Increase in February, Spurring a Rise in USD/JPY
The breakdown of the report showed demands for electronic goods expanded 3.7% after widening 2.2% in January, with discretionary spending on clothing increasing 0.6%, while sales for motor vehicles slumped 2.0% following the 1.5% contraction in the previous month.
Indeed, the data encourage an improved outlook for the U.S. as the private spending remains one of the leading drivers of growth, and conditions are likely to improve going forward as the expansion in monetary and fiscal policy continues to feed through the real economy. However, the ongoing deterioration in the labor market paired with tightening credit conditions could lead households to keep a lid on consumption over the coming months, and the Fed may maintain its pledge to keep borrowing costs at the record-low of an “extended” period of time as policy makers aim to encourage a sustainable recovery.
Following the release, the USD/JPY showed an immediate reaction to the better-than-expected data, with the exchange rate crossing back above the 50-Day SMA (90.45) to a high of 90.96. However, as the 30-minute RSI crosses into overbought territory, the sharp rally appears to be tapering off ahead of the U. of Michigan confidence survey due out at 14:55 GMT.
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