Underlying inflation pressures in the UK appear to be easing with official data released yesterday showing that the annual consumer price index for June remained unchanged at 2%. The data comes a day after wage growth hit an 11-year high, suggesting that household living standards are improving with income rising faster than prices. With inflation running bang on the Bank of England’s target of 2%, pressure on the MPC to shift interest rates from the current level of 0.75% has reduced, with only a rate cut likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Yesterday the House of Lords passed an amendment that limits the next Prime Minister from dissolving Parliament until Brexit day on 31 October. The amendment now goes to the Commons for a vote to become law that will increase hopes of a soft Brexit, although Boris Johnson continues to repeat his pledge to leave the EU on time.
The pound slipped early yesterday only to recover slightly as US dollar weakness crept into the market on concerns of no progress being made on the ongoing trade dispute between China and the US. Sterling remains buffeted by Brexit uncertainty and market reaction to the ever-increasing likelihood of a rate cut from the Federal Reserve at the end of the month. We look for further clues on the strength of the UK economy later this morning as we await the release of Retail Sales data for June.
The euro remains weak against the US dollar but is attempting to drag itself higher as the greenback softened overnight as trade tensions hit risk sentiment. EURUSD rallied above the 55-day MA around 1.1241, receiving a boost as US treasury yields fell, with the 10-year benchmark hovering just above 2.0%. It’s a quiet day for data with no releases from the Eurozone, and just the weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook to focus on from the US this afternoon.
The pound remains weak against both the euro and US dollar, shrugging off positive employment data as the two Conservative Party leadership contenders hardened their stances on Brexit. Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt insisted that they would refuse to sign any deal that included the Irish backstop. Sterling traded at a two-year low, falling below 1.24 against the greenback as the chances of the UK leaving the EU with a deal continue to fall with markets facing the potential option of either no-deal or no Brexit. GBPEUR fell 0.4% yesterday, trading within a whisker of 1.1050 to its lowest level since January.
The fall in the pound came despite the release of official data which showed that wage growth in the UK has accelerated to a level not seen since 2008, with earnings in the three months to May rising by 3.6% compared with the previous year. The unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 3.8%, the lowest since January 1975, as the number of people out of work fell by 51,000. Wages in the UK have been stagnating since the 2008 financial crisis and the tightening labour market is putting pressure on wage growth which has been outpacing inflation since last March. This has created a dilemma for rate setters at the Bank of England who continue to juggle with hiking rates to stem inflation and cutting rates to help boost growth. Brexit uncertainty continues to put a spanner in the works, and this morning we look for more clues on what the MPC may do as we await the release of June inflation which is due to be released at 9.30 this morning.
The US dollar remains firm against most of its G10 peers, buoyed by better than expected retail sales and factory orders which both showed signs of steady economic growth in the world’s largest economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continues to lay the groundwork for a rate cut this month saying that the Fed is “carefully monitoring” downside risks to US growth adding it “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”
The US dollar continued to slip on Friday after Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said that the Central Bank should consider a couple of interest rate cuts to boost inflation above the 2% target. “Inflation is probably going to require a little more monetary accommodation in order to get up to 2, and above 2%” he said. Markets continue to price in a 0.25% rate cut at the end of this month when the FOMC meet on 30-31 July in Washington. This comes despite Producer Price Inflation coming in slightly higher than forecasted on Friday afternoon.
The ongoing trade dispute continues to hurt the Chinese economy, which slowed in the second quarter, with sluggish domestic output and trade tensions pulling growth down to the weakest pace since the early 1990’s. In a series of mixed data releases GDP rose 6.2% in the April to June period from a year earlier, which was weaker than expected. June’s factory output rose 6.3%, retail sales rose 9.8% and investment gained 5.8% - all beating estimates.
The pound has gained slightly overnight (possibly related to England’s World Cup success) as we await a series of key data releases from the UK throughout the week. Tomorrow sees the release of the UK employment report where the market expects employment to remain robust despite the uncertainty over Brexit. CPI inflation is released on Wednesday and economists predict that inflation will have probably slowed to 1.9% in June, down from 2% in May, partly due to a small drop in fuel prices. The UK retail sector remains under pressure, and markets will be paying close attention to the Retail Sales report on Thursday to see if poor weather hindered the sale of summer clothing in June.
EURUSD continues to consolidate below 1.13 at the start of the week. With very little European data to focus on this week, it is likely that Fed speak will dominate price action in the pair in the coming days as we look for further clues on the size and timing of potential rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
Have a great week.
The dollar index weakened slightly again yesterday after inflation in the US came in higher than expected, reducing the chance of a 0.50% rate cut from the Federal Reserve at the end of the month. US June core CPI rose 0.3% m/m, the largest increase since January 2018 and above the consensus expectation of 0.2%. Whilst the print was slightly above forecast, markets continue to believe that inflation will undershoot the Fed’s 2% target in the second half of the year and support the central bank’s dovish stance. Continuing his two-day congressional speech yesterday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stuck with his theme of supporting monetary easing, saying that the US economy is “in a very good place” adding that the central bank wants “to use our tools to keep it there.” He remained dovish saying that “the neutral interest rate is lower than we had thought.” The market continues to believe that the FOMC will cut their key interest rate by 0.25% when they next meet on July 30-31.
The euro and the pound were both able to move a touch higher against the US dollar, but both currencies remain range bound below key resistance areas. GBPUSD is struggling to break significantly above 1.25 as uncertainty over Brexit and the ongoing conservative party leadership contest continue to cap any rallies. EURUSD is struggling to break above 1.13 and the markets will look to this morning’s release of Eurozone Industrial Production data for further clues on the direction of the pair.
This afternoon the focus shifts to the US as we await the release of PPI inflation for the month of June and a speech from Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans.
Have a great weekend!
The dollar index fell overnight as Federal Reserve Chairman reinforced the case for policy easing during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee yesterday. He stated that “since [the June meeting], based on incoming data and other developments, it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the US economic outlook. Inflation pressures remain muted.” Central bank policy makers opened the door to lowering interest rates at the June meeting and the market remains poised for the first rate cut in a decade at the FOMC meeting at the end of this month. The Fed’s base rate is currently at a range of 2.25% to 2.5% and there is likely to be considerable speculation over the coming weeks as markets look to see if the FOMC will cut by 0.25% or an aggressive 0.50%.
The pound was able to drag itself above the key 1.25 level against the beleaguered greenback after official data showed a bounce back in the UK economy in May. GDP figures released yesterday showed that the economy grew by 0.3% in May and in the rolling three months to May, beating market forecasts of an increase of 0.1%. Much of the improvement was caused by a bounce back in car manufacturing after carmakers reduced output earlier in the year over Brexit uncertainty during the initial March deadline. As a result, car manufacturing surged by a record 24.2% between April and May helping the GDP to record a positive number after several economists predicted the first quarterly decline since 2012.
The euro was also able to gain against the US dollar, rising close to the psychological 1.13 level. The focus today will be on the release of the minutes of the last ECB meeting, and the single currency may come under pressure if the minutes lay the groundwork for a rate cut in September. However, if the minutes are less dovish than expected, we could see EURUSD breaking 1.13 and targeting its recent high around 1.14.
The pound continued its slide yesterday following weak UK retail sales, as markets await industrial production and GDP data today to better understand the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the UK economy. GBPUSD fell as low as 1.2439 overnight as the British Retail Consortium published their June retail sales monitor which showed that retail sales fell 1.3% year on year leading to calls for the Bank of England to signal a cut in interest rates before the end of the year. The odds of a 0.25% reduction in rates have increased with markets now almost fully pricing in a cut for early next year with most economists not seeing a hike in rates until the middle of 2021. The pound is now at its lowest level in around 2 years, falling against a resurgent US dollar as markets await the Congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later today. GBPUSD is now vulnerable to a drop below 1.24 if todays UK data disappoints and Powell pares back expectation for large cuts in interest rates from the FOMC.
The euro continues to fall against the greenback as the market tests support around 1.12, with a test of the years low of 1.1181 likely as the chance of a 0.50% cut from the Fed has pretty much disappeared. Powell is scheduled to start speaking at 3pm this afternoon, so markets will be monitoring his speech for further clues on the timing of interest moves from policymakers. Investors are currently expecting the central bank to cut rates by 0.25% at their meeting at the end of the month but where we go from there remains uncertain as we look for further signals from Powell and the FOMC minutes which are also released later today.
There was a phone call between China and the US overnight, which was the first confirmed contact since the G20 summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The talks are due to continue as the trade truce holds with White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow saying that the call was “constructive.”
The US dollar continues to grind higher as the attention in the market shifts from last Friday’s jobs report to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony tomorrow and Thursday. Powell speaks before congress at his semi-annual testimony, and the market will be looking for clues on the size and timing of any rate cuts from the FOMC following the employment report last week. The dollar index is trading around a three-week high and traders have reduced bets that the Central Bank will cut by 0.50% at its meeting later this month. However, the market continues to price a rate reduction at the July 31 meeting with the odds of a cut of 0.25% currently sitting around 98%.
EURUSD continues to trend lower but is trapped in a narrow trading range managing to find some support just above 1.12. The single currency softened after Industrial Production in Germany recovered slightly in May after a sharp downturn in April, but output was still lower than the market was expecting. Germany’s manufacturing sector remains fragile, suffering from the slump in the global economy as well as the ongoing trade dispute and Brexit uncertainty. The Eurozone’s largest economy contracted in the third quarter of last year, then achieved zero growth in Q4, narrowly avoiding a technical recession with fears of tariffs on the auto sector continuing to weigh on the economy.
The pound remains weak against the resurgent US dollar, with cable struggling to hold above 1.25 as UK politics and Brexit uncertainty continue to drag sterling lower. With little UK economic data except for tomorrow’s GDP data to focus on, traders will continue to keep an eye on Brexit headlines and the Conservative leadership challenge for clues on the direction of the pound. A break below 1.25 in cable would signal a fresh attack on the year’s low of 1.2440.
Friday’s Non-farm Payroll report from the US came in higher than expected at 224,000 for the month of June, the most since January and followed a disappointing report the previous month. The jobless rate ticked up slightly to 3.7% and average hourly earnings increased a less than projected 3.1% from a year earlier. In a surprise to markets, May’s weak print was actually revised further down from 75,000 to 72,000. The mixed data led traders to trim bets on interest rate reductions although many expect the FOMC to cut rates by 0.25% at the policy meeting at the end of this month. The US dollar rallied against both the pound and euro after the data release with GBPUSD trading as low as 1.2480 before finding some support. Cable has managed to gain some ground to sit just above the key 1.25 level this morning, but the pair came dangerously close to the “flash crash” low of the 3rd January around 1.2440.
EURUSD also fell on Friday after the payrolls and remains under pressure after data showed that German industrial orders fell far more than expected and the Economy Ministry warned that the German economy was likely to remain weak in the coming months. EURUSD fell as low as 1.1205 on Friday, perilously close to the mid-June low around 1.1180 as the attention this week shifts to a testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Markets will also look forward to the release of US inflation data throughout this week as well as the minutes of June’s FOMC meeting for further clues on the timing of rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
Elsewhere, the Turkish lira slumped over 3% after President Erdogan shocked the market by dismissing the central bank governor. The move potentially undermines the regulators independence, just weeks before it is scheduled to decide on policy fueling concerns that they will lower borrowing costs by more than expected.
Yesterday was a quiet day for Foreign Exchange markets with most currencies trading in tight ranges due to the Independence Day holiday in the US. The main event for markets today will be the release of June’s Non-farm Payroll jobs report which is due to be announced at 13.30 UK time. Traders and investors will pay even closer attention to the data for further clues on whether policy makers will cut interest rates when they next meet at the end of the month. May’s report was significantly weaker than expected with a gain of just 75,000 and economists are looking for a rebound in June’s report, forecasting a print of around 160,000. Markets are slightly nervous of another weak number following disappointing ADP data earlier this week where hiring rebounded less than forecast in June after a nine year low the previous month. If NFP’s come in significantly weaker than expected for a second month in a row, policy makers on the FOMC are likely to cut when they make their next decision on 31 July rather than wait for the September meeting.
The euro continues to trade below 1.13 against the US dollar as the yield on German bonds fell below the ECB’s deposit rate for the first time as investors bet on policy easing from the Central Bank to tackle sliding inflation and a slowdown in growth. 10-year bunds have fallen by over 65 basis points this year and dropped below the minus 0.40% that the ECB pays on money invested with it. This morning EURUSD has so far shrugged off weaker German May factory orders which fell 2.2% m/m against estimates of a fall of 0.2%. The next level of support in the pair is around the 100-day MA at 1.1259 ahead of June’s low of 1.1181. On the flip side, the euro needs to break the psychological 1.13 level to signal a test of the recent high of 1.1412.
Have a good weekend.
*The arrows indicate how the base currency performed against the counter currency overnight. This document is for information purposes only and does not constitute any recommendation or solicitation to any person to enter into any transaction or adopt any trading strategy, nor does it constitute any prediction of likely future movements in exchange rates or prices or any representation that any such future movements will not exceed those shown on any illustration. All exchange rates and figures appearing are for illustrative purposes only. You are advised to make your own independent judgment with respect to any matter contained herein.