Stronger US dollar against major peers - NBK report

Kuwait (Jan 19)  The US Dollar strengthened against most major counterparts as the SP 500 Index demonstrated a solid rebound from a sharp fall on Monday, said a report.
Retail sales in the US rose in December as freezing temperatures urged Americans to buy discounted winter apparel, ending the strongest quarter for consumer spending in 3-years, according to the National Bank of Kuwait report.
The 0.7% gain followed a 0.1% revised increase in November, and exceeding the forecasted 0.4% rise.
Excluding a drop in auto demand that carmakers partly attributed to bad weather, sales jumped the most in almost a year.
The retail sales figures helped economists crank up estimates for household spending in the fourth quarter, as consumer buy more with higher confidence from lower unemployment and higher home values.
Eurozone Industrial production grew faster than expected in November. The industrial production index rose by 1.8% from the previous month, adding to a series of positive data on the European economy.
The rise in production was the biggest since May 2010. The forecasted figures were set at a 1.4% increase. A better than expected figure along with solid retail sales, gives a sign that the Eurozone recovery is gaining momentum. On the other hand, investors are still wary of the European economy, as unemployment is still at record highs.
On the United Kingdom, the report added that UK Retail Sales surged in December, exceeding economists' forecasts, as department stores and smaller shops managed to outperform in the Christmas season.
The annual gain in sales is the biggest in 9 years, as it rose 5.3%, the fastest growth since October 2004. These figures are very likely to aid Britain's economy record a strong end to 2013 when fourth-quarter gross domestic product data are released on January 28.