After reaching fresh records earlier in the week, US equity benchmarks spent the remainder of the week retreating on the heels of disappointing economic data and the ongoing turmoil in the nation’s capital. The anxiety led to a pronounced selloff in the dollar, sending the currency to a 7-month low which helped spur gains in precious metals while driving the EURUSD pair to the highest point in months. In addition to the political fracas, the housing sector is beginning to show signs of weakness as evidenced by housing starts fall to 5-month low alongside a decline in building permits. In the energy space, the US oil rig count continues to surge, rising to 720 last week according to Baker Hughes.
Crude oil stockpiles continued to drawdown spurring additional gains in WTI futures ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting. Shifting gears, Japanese growth edged higher to 2.20% on an annualized basis according to a preliminary reading on first quarter gross domestic product. Other positive mentions came from Australian joblessness which managed to fall to 5.70% as the comparable UK figure slid to 4.60%, marking the lowest level of unemployment since 1975. To cap off the week, Canadian core inflation surprisingly dipped to 1.30% for the 12-months ended in April as headline consumer prices remained on hold at 1.60%.