Energy prices are climbing this morning with oil rallying 0.8% while gasoline and natural gas gain 1.0%. Stock markets are mixed. US index futures are up 0.2%. In Europe the FTSE is down 0.1% while the Dax is up 0.1%. In Asian the Hang Seng rose 0.3% while the Nikkei fell 0.3%.
The big story overnight and this morning is the UK inflation report which has seen consumer prices spike 2.3% more than the 2.1% the street had expected and last month's 1.8%. This news has sparked a big figure rally in the pound. At last week's Bank of England meeting, one MPC member voted for an interest rate increase on inflation concerns and this news adds to her case.
In other news, the UK continues to move toward triggering Article 50, planned for Wednesday March 29th. The first French election debate appears to have been won by Macron according to polls. In Germany the latest poll shows the Socialist party taking the lead over Chancellor Merkel.
In North America today, the main event is Canada retail sales. The street is looking for a big bounce of 1.0% or more from a decline last month. CAD is already on the rebound ahead of this news tracking with the rebound in energy prices. In the US, the political focus remains on the health care reform bill with Fed speakers likely to continue talking interest rate increases.
There have been no major corporate announcements this morning.
Significant announcements released overnight include:
UK consumer prices 2.3% vs street 2.1% vs previous 1.8%
UK Core CPI 2.0% vs street 1.7%
UK retail prices 3.2% vs street 2.9% vs previous 2.6%
UK producer input prices 19.1% vs street 20.0%
UK producer output prices 3.7% as expected
UK house prices 6.2% vs previous 6.4%
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EDT Canada retail sales street 1.0% vs previous (0.5%)
8:30 am EDT Canada retail ex auto street 1.2% vs previous (0.3%)
12:00 pm EDT FOMC George speaking
6:00 pm EDT FOMC Mester speaking
9:45 pm EDT FOMC Rosengren speaking
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