Morning Report

British house prices unexpectedly fell in December compared with November, their first decline in six months, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday, adding to signs of weakness in the country’s housing market since the 2016 Brexit vote.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she would announce changes to her ministerial team soon, with media reports saying her foreign, finance, interior, and Brexit ministers would keep their jobs in a reshuffle starting on today.

The dollar moved higher against a basket of the other major currencies this morning after data showing that U.S. job growth cooled in December did little to alter expectations for further Federal Reserve rate hikes this year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.25, up from its January 2 trough of 91.47, which was the lowest level since September 20.

The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department reported Friday, well below the 190,000 forecasts by economists.

The jobs data was seen as unlikely to alter investor expectations for a rate hike by the U.S. central bank at its March meeting.

Fed officials have penciled in three rate increases this year and two in 2019.
Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

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