Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Retail sales okay, import prices mixed

We're getting some more U.S. economic data and the tone overall is okay. Retail sales dropped 1.5% in September as the Cash for Clunkers program expired (Auto sales plunged 10.4% on the month). But that was actually better than the -2.1% reading that was expected. If you take out autos and gas, sales were actually up 0.4%, double the 0.2% economists were looking for.

Import prices rose 0.1% in September, slightly below the 0.2% rise that was expected. If you strip out all oil, you get a 0.4% rise in import prices. That's the biggest increase since July 2008.

Interesting to watch how the dollar behaves here. The Dollar Index is plumbing new depths, after another clubbing in the Asian session. But the yen is trying to reverse to the downside here. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out the Japanese are intervening. But they're fighting a losing battle in my view. Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn reiterated the "Free money now and forever" view in a speech yesterday, giving traders carte blanche to dump the dollar.


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