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Dollar Climbing After Data Deluge

The dollar is up against all of its major rivals Tuesday afternoon, following the release of a large number of economic reports. Retail sales came in as expected, while New York manufacturing and homebuilder confidence topped expectations. Meanwhile, economic data out of Europe proved a mixed bag.

Retail sales in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in April after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.8 percent in March.

Economists had expected sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

After reporting a notable slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the previous month, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report on Tuesday showing an unexpected rebound in the pace of growth in May.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index jumped to 20.1 in May from 15.8 in April, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 15.0.

Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly improved in the month of May, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders on Tuesday.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 70 in May from a downwardly revised 68 in April. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the 69 originally reported for the previous month.

With a decrease in retail inventories offsetting increases in manufacturing and wholesale inventories, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing business inventories in the U.S. came in flat in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said business inventories were virtually unchanged in March after climbing by 0.6 percent in February. Economists had expected inventories to inch up by 0.1 percent.

The dollar climbed to nearly a 5-month high of $1.1819 against the Euro Tuesday, but has since eased back to around $1.1850.

The Eurozone economy expanded at a slower pace as previously estimated in the first quarter, flash estimate from Eurostat showed Tuesday. Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent sequentially in the first quarter, slower than the 0.7 percent expansion seen a quarter ago. The rate came in line with the estimate released on May 2.

Germany's economic growth halved in the first quarter on weak trade, data from Destatis showed Tuesday. Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent sequentially, slower than the 0.6 percent expansion seen in the previous quarter and the expected rate of 0.4 percent. This was the weakest growth in more than a year.

Germany's economic sentiment remained unchanged at a five-and-a-half-year low in May, survey data from the Mannheim-based think tank ZEW showed Tuesday. The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment held steady at -8.2 in May, the lowest since November 2012. The score also matched economists' expectations.

France's consumer price inflation remained stable as initially estimated in April, latest figures from the statistical office Insee showed Tuesday. Consumer prices climbed 1.6 percent year-over-year in April, the same rate of increase as in March. That was in line with the flash data published on April 27.

The buck rose to a 4-month high of $1.3450 against the pound sterling Tuesday, but has since retreated to around $1.35.

The UK unemployment rate remained unchanged at the lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. The ILO jobless rate remained at 4.2 percent in the first quarter, but down from 4.6 percent a year ago. This was the joint lowest since 1975.

The greenback has broken out to over a 3-month high of Y110.425 against the Japanese Yen this afternoon, from an early low of Y109.653.

Japan's tertiary activity index decreased at a faster-than-expected pace in March, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Tuesday. The tertiary activity index dropped 0.3 percent month-over-month in March, reversing a 0.1 percent rise in February. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent fall for the month.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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