• USD builds on recent gains as ISM surpasses forecasts
  • PCE core comes in inline whilst initial jobless drops to lowest since ’69
  • Technical overview of Gold
  • UK manufacturing slips GBP drifts lower
  • Bitcoin gains despite SEC probe talk
  • Italian elections come into focus

The ISM manufacturing PMI rose in the month of February to come in at 60.8 – the same level as September last year and the joint highest reading since 2004. Against a consensus forecast for 58.7 today’s number is a positive beat and suggests that the sector is in rude health. Unsurprisingly the buck has reacted positively to the release, with the USDIDX hitting a 7-week high and closing in on the 91 handle.

Inflation has been a hot topic of late for the markets and today’s release of the Fed’s preferred measure was keenly anticipated. The PCE core price index for January in Y/Y terms came in at 1.5%, inline with forecasts. In M/M terms it rose slightly to 0.3%, as expected, meaning that overall there were no great shocks here.

Gold is typically sensitive to US data points and the precious metal fell to back close to its lowest level of the year this afternoon before finding some support around 1300. A technical overview of Gold can be found here

 UK manufacturing PMI slipped to 55.2 in February from 55.3 beating market expectations suggesting a slightly deeper drop to 55 points. The details illustrate that vendors faced some difficulties in passing mounting input costs on their customers suggesting that domestic price growth could ease over the course of the next months. The pound accelerated its slide following the release being additionally fuelled by the firming US dollar.

It’s been a steady day of gains in the crypto space with Bitcoin higher by around 3% on the European close. Meanwhile, according to information obtained by the Wall Street Journal the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly looking into the cryptocurrency market especially into the structuring of initial coin offerings, which are much less regulated compared to public offerings.

On the 4th of March Italians will go to the poll stations to take part in the general elections. As Euroscepticism is on the rise in the Europe’s third biggest economy, the possible victory of an anti-establishment and populist parties may pose a threat to the unity of the EU bloc. We take a look at election predictions and what could that mean for the markets: ITA40 and EURUSD. An in-depth preview can be found here