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Trend Condition Remains Bearish

--Core PPI +0.1% Vs +0.2% Expected; Also Ex. Trade Services +0.4%
--Initial Jobless Claims -2k To 228k in May 4 Week
--March International Trade Gap Widened To -$50.0b vs -$51.1b Expected
By Kevin Kastner and Harrison Clarke
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The April PPI data were just below expectations, 
maintaining the year/year headline rate. Overall PPI rose by 0.2%, 
compared with a 0.3% gain expected in both the MNI and Bloomberg 
surveys, while core prices rose 0.1%, below the 0.2% gain expected. 
                                                   
     Also released on Thursday, the level of initial jobless claims fell 
by 2,000 to 228,000 in the May 4 week, well above the 215,000 level 
expected and lifting the four-week average again. 
     Also, the international trade gap widened to $50.0 billion in March 
from a $49.3 billion gap in February. The Bloomberg survey expected a 
$50.2 billion gap, while the MNI survey expected a $51.1 billion 
deficit. 
     Here are some of the key takeaways from the data released 
Thursday: 
     - April PPI was up 0.2% (+0.170% unrounded) month/month overall on 
a gain in energy prices, offsetting a drop in food prices, and a softer 
than expected core reading. Trade services prices also fell in the month 
on trade of finished goods. 
     - The year/year rate for overall PPI remained at +2.2%, while the 
year/year rate for core prices were also unchanged at +2.4%. The measure 
also excluding trade prices was up 0.4% month/month and up 2.2% 
year/year, higher than the 2.0% year/year gain in March. 
     - Core PPI was +0.085% unrounded, on the low side of +0.1%, with 
the major components generally mixed. 
     - Energy prices rose by 1.8% in April after a 5.6% gain in 
March, with gasoline prices up 5.9%. PPI excluding only energy posted 
a 0.1% gain, while food prices were down 0.2%.
     - The four-week moving average for claims rose by 7,750 to 220,250 
in the May 4 week and could rise in the following week. Continuing 
claims rose by 13,000 to 1.684 million in the April 27 week. 
     - The unadjusted gap with China narrowed to $20.7 billion in March 
from $24.8 billion in February, the smallest gap since March 2014. There 
was a smaller gap after seasonal adjustment as well. For the other major 
trading partners, there were larger gaps with Canada, Japan, the EU, and 
Mexico. 
     - The Census goods gap was revised slightly lower to -$71.3b from 
the advance reading of -$71.4b that was incorporated into the first 
estimate of first quarter GDP report. 
     - Imports increased on gains in foods, feeds and beverages, 
industrial supplies and materials (especially higher-priced crude oil), 
and autos, partially offset by a drop in consumer goods imports. At the 
same time, exports rose on gains in foods, feeds and beverages, 
industrial supplies and materials, and consumer goods, partially offset 
by declines in capital goods and autos. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,MT$$$$,M$U$$$,MAUDR$]