Greenback, euro parity looms. Who would have thought it? The euro is now down 12.8% against the US dollar and edging closer to parity. The euro fell as low as US$1.05 overnight, down from US$1.07 at the close on Tuesday night in New York. The eurozone currency lost 1.4% on Tuesday and another 1.4% yesterday as the soaring US dollar meets a rapidly sliding euro, with the common factor the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program that has boosted sharemarkets in the region and driven bond yields to record lows. US analysts say that if the euro dips below a rate of US$1.50, it will be the lowest since January 2003. Gold fell overnight, Wall Street eased (but European shares have a bad case of "pass the sugar bowl" as they continue to soar on the spending program by the European Central Bank). German bond yields fell to new lows -- 0.16% for the 10-year bond, which is absurd. Overnight, the Aussie dollar fell to a low of US75.86 cents. It is down from around US$1.10 at its peak, a drop of around 30%. It is down 20% on a trade-weighted index, which is not as much because of the plunging euro and yen, which have partially offset the weakening Aussie. -- Glenn Dyer

Strains grow in China as growth slows. Economic growth is getting a bit white-knuckled in China. Output, prices and demand are all weak, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the country’s property sector, which is in the midst of a gathering a housing slump. Data out yesterday showed a 16.7% drop in housing sales in China throughout January and February, more than double the 7.8% fall across all of 2014. Growth in property investment slowed to a 10.4% in the first two months this year, compared with a 19.3% growth rate recorded in the same period of 2014, and 10.5% for all of last year. New construction starts across residential and commercial property in the first two months fell 17.7% to 137.4 million square meters. Construction starts measured by area fell 10.7% to 1.80 billion square meters in 2014. Industrial production grew. Other economic data confirmed the slow down in activity in China is accelerating. Industrial output slowed to an annual rate of just 6.8% in January and February, well under market forecasts for growth of 7.8% and the 8.3% (all annual rates) reported for December. Power generation, a key indicator, rose 1.9% in January and February from a year earlier, well below the 3.2% rate of last year, which was the slowest growth rate in 16 years.  -- Glenn Dyer