Brexit, UK consumer and trade in focus (video)

Nick Batsford, CEO of Core London is joined down the line by Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst at OANDA, to discuss why the pound has rallied on Thursday and the latest developments in the US-China trade spat.

 

All Brexit outcomes will come at an economic cost

All “likely” Brexit outcomes will entail a financial hit for the U.K. economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Monday.

But, it said, a disorderly “no-deal” scenario — where Britain leaves the European Union without any kind of trading relationship in place — would be much worse.

“While all likely Brexit outcomes will entail costs for the U.K. economy by departing from the frictionless single market that now prevails, an agreement that minimizes the introduction of new tariff and non-tariff barriers would best protect growth and incomes in the U.K. and EU,” the IMF said in its latest report on the outlook and risks to the world economy, published Monday.

CNBC

UK to publish more no deal Brexit preparation papers

Britain will publish a second batch of papers on Thursday giving the public and businesses advice on coping with disruption in case the country leaves the European Union next year with no deal on future relations with the bloc.

Mobile phone roaming charges, environmental and vehicle standards will be among the topics covered by the technical notices, the government’s Brexit department said in a statement.

Recent signals from Brussels have pointed to renewed confidence that Britain and the EU can agree a deal to govern trading relations after Brexit, sending the pound up sharply against other currencies over the last couple of weeks.

Reuters

Sterling Pauses on Reports of Leadership Challenge

China using Russia to get at the US as trade tensions rise

US futures are trading relatively unchanged ahead of the open on Wednesday, taking the lead from Europe where markets have been quite calm early in the day.

It’s been an uneventful day in financial markets so far, with only low level data being released and no major political stories causing a stir. This is likely to just be a temporary lull as tempers continue to flare between the US and China, with the latter using its relationship with Russia to send a message that there’s more than one way to win a trade war.

With China involving the WTO in the dispute and the US preparing more tariffs – and threatening an eventual tariff on all imports – it doesn’t appear this threat is going away any time soon and is something we should just get used to. This could work to the advantage of the EU with Trump engaging in negotiations in an attempt to forge closer trade ties, remove barriers and eliminate the apparent need for new tariffs.

Asia risk continues to wobble (OANDA Trading Podcast 938Now)

Threat of leadership challenge weighing on sterling

The constant flow of Brexit speculation and reports are continuing to find their way into the media, something that is unlikely to change as we get ever closer to the deadline with a deal. Over the last couple of weeks that’s resulted in a lot of volatility for the pound with traders getting very excited at the release of anything that indicates a move away from the no deal scenario.

GBPUSD Daily Chart

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While I’m sure the pound would have plenty further to fall in the event of a no deal Brexit, a large amount of pessimism has been priced in now which may explain why we see such significant surges in response to relatively insignificant reports. Still, that is the current reality and it’s likely to see the pound remain in its volatile state for some time.

Working against these more optimistic stories has been reports of a leadership challenge with some of the more vocal Brexiteers in Theresa May’s own apparently plodding against her, dissatisfied with the direction negotiations are headed in. The threat of this has prevented the pound making further gains in recent days as its seen as increasing the chances of no deal Brexit or at least a harder one.

EUR/USD – Euro slightly lower as eurozone industrial production misses mark

BoE tomorrow likely to be uneventful

With the Bank of England decision to come tomorrow, the pound is not likely to be steady for long. The central bank isn’t expected to announce any changes tomorrow and will probably prefer to drift into the background as much as possible for the remainder of the year until a deal is reached but that won’t stop traders picking apart the minutes and looking for clues on the timing of the next rate hike.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

GBP struggling for momentum despite strong data

Sterling plunges after initial post-data gains

The start of the European session has been dominated by data releases from the UK and euro area, with investors also keeping a close eye on trade developments involving the US, not to mention Brexit.

It’s been another volatile day for the British pound, which rose in the immediate aftermath of a decent jobs report for the UK before plunging despite there not being a clear trigger to warrant such a move. The jobs report itself paints a much better picture of the UK economy than many people generally have, with unemployment standing at 4% – the lowest since March 1975 – and wage growth nearing its highest levels since the financial crisis.

While these levels are still well below what we were seeing prior to a decade ago, they’re certainly supportive of the Bank of England’s policy of gradually raising interest rates when taken in isolation and the jump in earnings further aids this which is why we saw a bump in sterling. The flip side of this is the one-off factors that are likely contributing to the gains, rather than them being entirely organic and a result of a tight and competitive labour market, not the mention the uncertainty and risk with regards to the outlook.

Commodities Weekly: Gold short bets at highest in 17 years

The plunge in the pound shortly after has got people more interested though as there doesn’t appear to have been much of a trigger, despite the currency slipping from close to 1.31 against the dollar to briefly below 1.30. It has since stabilised somewhere in the middle which suggests there may be something to the move even if the initial drop may have been overdone. If no news surfaces, it will be interesting to see whether the pound regains the lost ground over the course of the rest of the session.

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EUR edges lower despite better sentiment surveys

The euro has also been in gradual decline over the course of the morning in Europe. An improved and better than expected ZEW economic sentiment survey for the eurozone and Germany appears to have done little to halt the decline, which is potentially due to the fact that it continues to languish around multi-year lows despite this minor reprieve. The US engaging in a trade spat with the region and using its auto industry as the pressure point is not doing much to help confidence at a time when it already appears to be experiencing a slight slowdown.

EURUSD Daily Chart

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Another Brexit bounce

Brexit, US/China tariffs and US/EU negotiations remain in focus

Trade continues to be at the forefront of people’s minds at the minute, be that the risk of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, potential deals between the US and EU as negotiations get underway or the future relationship of two allies after Brexit. The EU has stolen much of the focus this week, with Michel Barnier yesterday talking up the prospect of a deal on the UK’s exit from the EU in the next six to eight weeks which would avoid a damaging no deal Brexit scenario.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

GBP/USD – Breaks 1.30 on bullish Barnier comments

Has cable bottomed or more volatility to come?

The pound is rallying on Monday and for the second time in a couple of weeks, it’s the EU chief Brexit negotiator – Michel Barnier – that’s responsible.

Sterling has become very sensitive to positive Brexit news over the last couple of weeks, having spiked on a couple of occasions on reports that the UK will get a bespoke deal and that Angela Merkel is willing to accept less detail on future ties. Clearly there is a feeling that a lot of Brexit pessimism and no deal risk has been priced in which is why we’re in a state of such sensitivity to any reports that indicate a breakthrough will come.

The reported comments do certainly support the previous reports and provide some hope that both sides are fully committed avoiding a no deal scenario, something that at times hasn’t always appeared the case. Assuming these comments aren’t denied and this is the case, it’s possible that things could be really looking up for the pound after what has been quite an awful summer for the currency, having fallen more than 10% against the dollar at one stage.

The pound is also vulnerable to these comments being clarified or a caveat being attached that a no deal is also still very possible, as we’ve seen when previously – apparently – positive reports appeared.

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Will ECB offer any surprises on Thursday?

Euro climbs ahead of ECB meeting

While we may not look back at the ECB meeting on Thursday as one of the defining moments in the eurozone’s long recovery from the global financial and debt crises, or even remember it much at all for that matter, that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to take away from it, or that markets won’t react.

  • ECB left little to the imagination in June
  • Never a good idea to assume an uneventful meeting
  • Will Draghi succeed in talking down the euro again?

At its meeting last month, the ECB laid out plans for its bond buying program (quantitative easing) beyond the current expiry date of September, opting to extend it until the end of the year at half the pace – €15 billion – and warned that interest rates will remain at present levels “at least through the summer of 2019”.

In providing such a clear path for asset purchases and interest rates for the next year, the central bank effectively covered all bases and barring a significant shift in the data or a change in the global landscape, left few questions if any to be answered, making this meeting a potential non-event.

Juncker/Trump Meeting Eyed as Tariffs Hit Outlook

Should we ever anticipate a “non-event”?

One thing we’ve learned in the past though is not to become complacent when the central banks are involved and in the current environment of trade conflicts and Brexit, things can change very quickly. We have to remember that while the recovery is gathering momentum and making encouraging progress, it is still fragile and could be derailed by a number of events which would require the ECB to step back in and offer its support.

Only this week it has been reported that US President Donald Trump intends to slap 25% tariffs on European auto imports and significantly escalate the trade conflict between the US and EU. Jean-Claude Juncker is currently in Washington looking to calm the growing tensions between the two but it seems that unless he is offering concessions, he may not get very far.

What’s more, the UK and EU don’t appear to be getting much closer to agreeing on the divorce and with eight months to go until exit day, this is a notable downside risk for both economies, with the IMF recently warning that a no-deal Brexit that sees the two revert to WTO rules could wipe 1.5% and 4% off EU and UK output, respectively, by 2030.

In terms of the data, the ECB will likely be relatively content, with unemployment continuing to drop – now at 8.4%, the lowest since December 2008 – the economy growing well despite the dip in the first quarter and inflation gradually increasing, albeit less so on from a core perspective. Nothing has really changed on this front since the last meeting that will concern policy makers.

EURUSD Daily Chart

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While the euro has been climbing over the course of the last month, after falling following the ECB announcement and very dovish accompanying statements, it’s now only trading back where it was before the meeting which will be a relief to policy makers. It will be interesting to see if anything they say changes this or if Draghi focuses on talking it lower once again.

What does Davis resigning mean?

The resignation of a key driver of the U.K.’s Brexit process is a blow for British Prime Minister Theresa May, but analysts believe she can survive the departure.

Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned Sunday evening, objecting to May’s withdrawal plan that seeks to maintain close economic ties with the European Union (EU), rather than a harder separation favored by Davis and other so-called “Brexiteers.” Former Housing Minister Dominic Raab was named as Davis’ successor on Monday morning.

Analysts are seeing the latest move as a “crunch point” for May, but that the vagaries of British politics and need for leadership just nine months before the official Brexit date could mean that she can soldier on.

CNBC

May Faces Difficulties Keeping Cabinet United Over Brexit

Theresa May is braced for her Cabinet to split when the European Union rejects her demands for a sweeping free trade deal, after her senior team agreed to put off the hardest Brexit decisions until later.Despite the Cabinet truce after months of internal division, three senior government officials said May will face her most challenging task keeping her ministers united when — as they expect — EU leaders formally reject the British approach.The U.K. prime minister won the backing of her ministers to ask the EU for the most ambitious and wide-ranging trade agreement the bloc has ever signed, after a marathon eight-hour meeting at her country house on Thursday.

Source: May Knows Danger of Cabinet Split on Brexit Still Lies Ahead – Bloomberg

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

50 50 Chance of Halting Brexit

Opponents of Britain’s exit from the European Union are preparing a major campaign they say now has close to a 50:50 chance of stopping Brexit by blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal, a leading pro-EU campaigner said.With Britain scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019, opponents of Brexit are exploring various ways to stop what they say is Britain’s biggest mistake since World War Two.‘Best for Britain’, a campaign group which received a 400,000 pound donation from billionaire financier George Soros last year, hopes to convince lawmakers in the 650-seat parliament to block the withdrawal deal May aims to bring back from Brussels in October.

Source: Chance of halting Brexit now close to 50:50, says leading campaigner – Reuters

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation