U.S unemployment insurance weekly claims

In the week ending August 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 213,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 218,000 to 219,000. The 4-week moving average was 214,250, a decrease of 500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 214,500 to 214,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending July 28, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 28 was 1,755,000, an increase of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 2,000 from 1,724,000 to 1,726,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,745,250, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 1,741,750 to 1,742,250.

Read more Department of Labor

Turkish lira loses another 3%

Thursday August 9: Five things the markets are talking about

The geopolitical tension theme continues to dominate capital markets, now that China has responded to the U.S’s tariff onslaught with additional tariffs of its own.

In currencies, the market is again focused on sterling (£1.2852) as it encroaches on its new 12-month low as politics continues to provide the overriding direction for the currency.

And then there is the Turkish lira ($5.4210) as it makes it way towards record lows on market worries about President Erodgan’s grip on monetary policy and on a deepening dispute with the Trump administration.

Down-under, the kiwi (NZ$0.6645) has plummeted to a two-year low after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) pushed out its forecast for a rate increase.

Elsewhere, oil has extended its drop as trade tensions again overshadow a decline in U.S crude stockpiles. Most industrial metals gained, while gold prices ease.

1. Stocks mixed reaction on low volumes

In Japan, the Nikkei edged lower overnight as a stronger yen (¥111.00) impeded investor risk appetite. Not helping was the auto sector, which saw a sell-off on news that certain automakers improperly conducted vehicle inspections in the domestic market. The Nikkei share average dropped -0.2%, while the broader Topix lost -0.3%.

Down-under, Aussie shares rallied overnight on a stronger earnings season. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose +0.5%. In S. Korea, the Kospi stock index produced a small gain, rallying +0.10%.

In Hong Kong and China, shares ended higher as tech firms rally on hopes of China policy boost. The Hang Seng index was up +0.88%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose +1.09%. In China, the Shanghai Composite index ended +1.9% higher, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index closed up +2.5%.

In Europe, regional bourses are trading mostly lower in quite trading. U.S stocks are set to open little changed.

Indices: Stoxx600 -0.2% at 388.8, FTSE -0.6% at 7729, DAX 0.0% at 12633, CAC-40 -0.2% at 5492, IBEX-35 0.0% at 9755, FTSE MIB +0.0% at 21801, SMI -0.3% at 9149 S&P 500 Futures 0.1%

2. Oil finds some support after a -3% drop Wednesday, gold steady

Oil prices are a tad higher after yesterdays steep slide, when the first round of U.S sanctions against Iran came into effect. Not providing much support is investor worries that crude demand will and has been hit by the escalating Sino-U.S trade dispute.

Brent crude futures are up +14c at +$72.42 barrel, after having dropped by more than -3% yesterday. U.S crude futures (WTI) have rallied +8c to +$67.02 a barrel, having closed down -3.2% Wednesday.

With U.S sanctions against Iran, which shipped out +3M bpd of crude in July, officially came into effect on Tuesday and the market is anticipating that supply losses could range from +600K to +1.5M bpd.

Stateside yesterday, the weekly EIA report showed that crude inventories fell -1.4M barrels last week, less than half the -3.3M barrel draw the market had expected and that gas stocks rose by +2.9M barrels, compared with expectations for a drop of -1.7M barrel drop.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are mostly steady in a range-bound overnight session, as a stronger dollar continues to weigh on upside momentum. Spot gold is up +0.1% at +$1,214.23 an ounce, having gained +0.2% Wednesday.

3. RBNZ Extra Cautious

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Governor Orr left interest unchanged at +1.75% as expected, while moving the timing of any future increase to Q4 in 2020 from Q1 in the same year.

Assistant Governor McDermott indicated that the chance of a rate cut had increased and wanted the market to understand that they needed to see core-inflation above +2% for any rate hike. The direction of the next move could be “up or down,” he says. The cautious comments saw the NZD ($0.6650) weaken by -0.45% outright.

Elsewhere, the yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased -1 bps to +2.95%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield dipped -2 bps to +0.39%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield also declined -2 bps to +1.299%.

4. Turkish lira loses another 3% outright

The Turkish lira has hit a new record low this morning as it weakens as much as -3% outright on souring relations with the U.S over the detention of an American pastor. USD/TRY is last up +2.3% at $5.3994, after it hit a record high of $5.4488 earlier.

EUR/USD (€1.1596) is holding below the €1.16 level as the techies continue to watch their significant support level at €1.15. A break opens the door for a possible test to €1.10 handle.

GBP (£1.2890) remains on the softer side on a ‘no-deal’ Brexit worries. The pair tested its 11-month low atop of £1.2850 earlier this morning.

USD/JPY (¥111.14) is a tad higher, but stable ahead of the U.S-Japan trade talks that begin in Washington later today.

RUB ($65.88) is weaker by -1%, testing its two-year low outright following the U.S State Department announcement on Russian sanctions related to a chemical agent being used in a U.K spy attack last March.

5. ECB economic bulletin highlight

According to the ECB in its regular economic bulletin released earlier this morning, the risks to global growth are growing.

“Downside risks to the global economy have intensified amid actions and threats regarding trade tariff increases by the United States and possible retaliation by the affected countries,” the ECB said in an assessment.

The ECB added that if all the threatened measures were to be implemented, the average U.S tariff rate would rise to levels not seen in the last 50-years.

Note: A fortnight ago, the ECB kept policy unchanged, staying on course to end its QE program by the close of the year and to raise rates for the first time since the euro zone debt crisis in the autumn of 2019.

Forex heatmap

Saudi Arabia sells off Canadian assets, loonie falls

It’s being reported by FT that the Saudi’s are selling off Canadian assets in response to Ottawa’s criticism of the arrest of a female activist last week.

Apparently, the Saudi central bank and state pension funds have been instructed to dispose of their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings.

There is no Canadian dollar amount being proposed, but its believed that Saudi funds have in excess of +$100B invested in overseas markets. Canada’s proportion should be a small percentage.

The loonie has been offered since yesterday, currently trading a tad shy of C$1.3100, down -0.3% at C$1.3082.

Currently, markets have been looking at Canada’s recent economic strength and wondering if Bank of Canada (BoC) is on target to hike rates at next months policy meeting.

Last weeks Canada’s GDP and Trade balance reports beat markets expectations and give CAD/USD a lift to C$1.2967 on Aug 3. Given Governor Poloz’s commitment to moving gradually and his concern over the economy’s sensitivity to rate rises, a September move is becoming more remote, especially without a signed Nafta deal.

Canadian employment

Friday’s Canadian employment numbers should have an impact, especially if we get another strong headline print – +18Ke vs. +31.5K for June. Many are also expecting the unemployment rate to improve a tad to +5.9% vs. +6%.

Politics takes down the pound

Wednesday August 8: Five things the markets are talking about

Trade concerns continue to hover over capital markets. Yesterday, the U.S indicated that it will begin imposing another +25% duties on an additional +$16B in Chinese imports beginning in a fortnight. On the first go around, China swore to retaliate, they have yet to give specifics, but at the very least, it will be an in-kind retaliation.

Data overnight showed that China’s exports grew faster than expected last month and imports surged, which suggest that the “ongoing” trade war has yet to have a material impact on the worlds second largest economy’s bottom line.

Nevertheless, the prospects for a full blown trade war has the U.S dollar remaining better bid on pullbacks in a relative tight summer range.

Sovereign yields, further out the curve, trade a tad higher as dealers make room to take down today’s record amount of 10-year Treasury debt worth +$26B, and an all-time high of +$18B in 30-year bonds tomorrow.

In currencies, the market is focused on sterling (£1.2904) as it encroaches on its 11-month low as politics continues to provide the overriding direction for the currency. And then there is the Turkish lira ($5.2923) as it makes it way towards record lows on market worries about President Erodgan’s grip on monetary policy.

On tap: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) official cash rate decision and monetary policy statement is due this afternoon (05:00 pm EDT). No change in rates or accompanying statement is expected.

1. Stocks mixed overnight session

In Japan, the Nikkei edged lower overnight as the market waits for the start of U.S-Japan trade talks. Will the U.S be taking a hard stance, similar to that of China and Europe? Both the Nikkei and broader Topix ended -0.1% lower.

Down-under, Aussie shares rallied overnight, with financials higher after reporting a smaller fall in profit than expected, and while miners gained on strong import data from China. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose +0.2%, erasing most of Tuesday’s losses. In S. Korea, the Kospi index rose modestly, closing out 0.06% higher.

In Hong Kong, shares rise on tech and energy boost, but fears of a deeper trade war is capping gains. At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up + 0.39%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose +0.32%. In China, the Shanghai Composite index closed down -1.23% while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended down -1.59% mostly on profit taking after Tuesday stellar session.

In Europe, regional bourses trade mostly lower, pressured generally by weaker earnings out of Europe.

U.S stocks are set to open little changed (+0.0%).

Indices: Stoxx600 -0.2% at 389.8, FTSE +0.3% at 7742, DAX -0.2% at 12627, CAC-40 -0.1% at 5517, IBEX-35 -0.10% at 9762, FTSE MIB +0.0% at 21863, SMI -0.4% at 9167 S&P 500 Futures 0.0%

2. Oil dips on weak China imports, but sanctions and weak U.S stocks support

Oil prices have dipped a tad overnight, pressured by Chinese weaker import data, although the market remains well supported on pull backs by falling U.S crude inventories and the introduction of sanctions against Iran.

Brent crude oil futures are at +$74.50 per barrel, down -15c, or -0.2% from Tuesday’s close. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are at +$69.15 per barrel, down -2c.

Data shows that China’s July crude oil imports recovered slightly last month after falling for the previous two-months, but are still amongst the lowest due to a drop-off in demand from the independent Chinese refineries.

With U.S sanctions against Iran, which shipped out +3M bpd of crude in July, officially came into effect yesterday midnight and the market is anticipating that supply losses could range from +600K to +1.5M bpd.

Dealers are also focusing on the U.S market, where yesterday’s API data showed that crude inventories fell by -6M barrels in the week to Aug. 3 to +407.2M.

The market will take its cues from today’s EIA inventory report (10:30 am EDT).

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are better bid, supported by a mixed U.S dollar. Spot gold is up +0.2% to +$1,213.02 an ounce, after rising +0.4% in Tuesday’s session.

3. Sovereign yields could back up further

Yesterday, the U.S Treasury Department sold +$34B three-year notes and it was the largest three-year auction in eight-years. Later today, the Treasury will sell a record amount of 10-year debt worth +$26B (1:01 pm EDT) and tomorrow an all-time high of +$18B in 30-year bonds. With so many products on offer, dealers are expected to again cheapen up the curve to make room ahead of the deadline.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries has rallied +1 bps to +2.97%, while Germany’s 10-year bund yield is holding steady at +0.403%. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has rallied +1 bps to +1.314%.

4. Sterling’s Wild West

Trading GBP/USD (£1.2903) is proving to be a bit like the Wild West – unpredictable – the pound is again threatening to penetrate yesterday’s record 12-month low now that its failed to benefit from last week’s Bank of England rate rise. Markets are now turning their attention to the Brexit process, which will likely dominate trends in GBP for the remainder of this year.

The Turkish lira ($5.2920) has recovered some lost ground after plummeting to new record lows Monday ($5.42), helped by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announcing a cut in the foreign exchange reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for commercial banks, a measure which should boost dollar liquidity. However, this week’s necessary course of action reaffirms the central banks reluctance to hike rates. Nevertheless, the plunge in the currency over the past few weeks is now on a scale, which has, in the past, prompted the CBRT to hike interest rates aggressively.

Will the CBRT hike the repo rate this week? They need to, but will they dare defy President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

Note: A Turkish delegation is visiting Washington this week to discuss the friction between both countries. But the U.S has stated that they remain at odds on its core demand that Turkey free American an evangelical pastor.

5. China’s trade balance tightens

Data overnight showed that China’s trade surplus narrowed sharply in July, with imports surging as trade tensions with the U.S escalated.

China reported a trade surplus of +$28.05B in July, compared with a surplus of +$41.61B in June. The market was expecting a surplus of +$39.10B.

Digging deeper, exports rose +12.2% y/y, following June’s +11.3% increase. The market was looking for a +10% growth number.

Imports were up +27.3% in July y/y, accelerating from a +14.1% increase the previous month.

China’s trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed to +$28.09B in July from a record monthly high of +$28.90B in June.

Forex heatmap

Cannot keep the ‘big’ dollar down

The European and Asian sessions were happy to book ‘long’ dollar profits, but North America has decided to renew their acquaintance with the dollar bulls.

A lack of major economic data releases and a stabilizing Chinese yuan overnight provided a temporary reprieve for risk assets and EM currencies.

Another strong JOLTS jobs opening report (+6.66M) has provided the dollar some early support, enabling it to retrace some of its overnight losses.

Sterling’s Wild West

Trading GBP/USD (£1.2943) is proving to be a bit like the Wild West – unpredictable – the pound is again threatening to penetrate yesterday’s record 12-month low now that its failed to benefit from last week’s Bank of England rate rise. Markets are now turning their attention to the Brexit process, which will likely dominate trends in GBP for the remainder of this year.

Loonie failing to fly

USD/CAD (C$1.3020) is another early looser against the dollar, despite crude oil prices remaining better bid now that the U.S has re-introduced sanctions against oil exporter Iran that is expected to tighten global supply.

The loonie has lost some appeal with the Can Ivey July PMI producing a disappointing headline (61.8 vs. 64.2). Dollar bulls want to see C$1.3040 break before adding to their ‘short’ CAD positions again.

Turkish lira takes a bath

The Turkish lira ($5.2492) has recovered some lost ground after plummeting to new record lows yesterday ($5.42), helped by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announcing a cut in the foreign exchange reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for commercial banks, a measure which should boost dollar liquidity. Turkish 10-year bond yields have backed up +25 bps to +20%.

Yesterday’s necessary course of action reaffirms the central banks reluctance to hike rates.

However, the plunge in the currency over the past few weeks is now on a scale, which has, in the past, prompted the CBRT to hike interest rates aggressively. Will the CBRT hike the repo rate this week? They need to, but will they dare defy President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

With little economic data to hang your hat on, low volumes and market participation, most investors prefer to wait for a significant breakout in any of the G7 pairs before participating with any gusto.

Dollar rally takes a time out

Tuesday August 7: Five things the markets are talking about

Most global equities found traction overnight as earnings season continues, helping support investor sentiment against a backdrop of trade worries and geopolitical concerns.

The trend for a rising U.S dollar is taking a pause, with the dollar edging lower against G10 currency pairs. A lack of major economic data releases and a stabilizing Chinese yuan suggest a reprieve for risk assets and EM currencies today.

This week brings relatively little economic data, but investors will tune in Friday when July’s U.S CPI is reported – a pickup in inflation could temper the dollar’s rally?

Overnight, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held rates steady for the 21st time, a move that had been unanimously expected. Tomorrow, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is expected to maintain its current interest rate of +1.75%.

Elsewhere, crude prices have climbed after Saudi Arabian production cuts added to market concern about tightening supplies. Gold has advanced with industrial metals.

In fixed income, euro bonds are mixed, while U.S 10’s remains range bound.

1. Stocks see the light

In Japan, the Nikkei share average gained overnight after index-heavyweight SoftBank jumped on the back of strong Q1 results, while a rebound in Chinese shares also helped market sentiment. The Nikkei ended up +0.7%, while the broader Topix rallied +0.8%.

Down-under, Aussie stocks were one of the worst performers overnight as the market was held back by a deep pullback in the materials sector. The S&P/ASX 200 fell -0.3% as BHP Billiton retreated -1.4%. In S. Korea, stocks overcame some opening-hour softness to rise solidly, capped by a rally into the close. The Kospi finished up +0.6% as index giant Samsung climbed +2%.

In Hong Kong, shares ended higher as property stocks gained. Both the Hang Seng index and China Enterprises index rallied +1.5%.

In China, stocks rebounded overnight following a heavy four-day selloff, with infrastructure names leading the charge. The Shanghai Composite index jumped +2.7%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up +2.92%, its biggest percentage jump in two-years.

In Europe, regional bourses trade higher across the board following on from strong Asian Indices and positive U.S futures.

U.S stocks are set to open higher (+0.3%).

Indices: Stoxx600 +0.6% at 391.0, FTSE +0.7% at 7719, DAX +1.0% at 12725, CAC-40 +0.9% at 5526, IBEX-35 +0.5% at 9797, FTSE MIB +1.0% at 21803, SMI +0.5% at 9193 S&P 500 Futures +0.3%

2. Oil rallies as renewed U.S sanctions on Iran seen tightening supply

Oil prices are better bid now that the U.S has re-introduced sanctions against oil exporter Iran that is expected to tighten global supply.

Spot Brent crude oil futures are at +$74.17 per barrel, up +42c, or +0.6%, from yesterday’s close. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are up +30c, or +0.4%, at +$69.31 barrel.

Note: U.S sanctions against Iran, which shipped out +3M bpd of crude in July, officially came into effect at 12:01 am EDT this morning.

The market is anticipating that supply losses could range from +600K to +1.5M bpd.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are better bid, supported by a weaker U.S dollar. Spot gold is up +0.4% at +$1,210.99 an ounce, while U.S gold futures are flat at +$1,217.6 an ounce.

3. Sovereign yields remain range bound

Overnight, RBA left its cash rate target unchanged at +1.50% as expected. Aussie policy officials see CPI a bit lower this year, but higher in 2019-20 period.

Doing the rumour rounds – the Bank of Japan (BoJ) board is said to have considered raising rates before tweaking policy in July – BoJ said to have deliberated tightening in January, but did not do it amid market turbulence. The moves the BoJ took last week are said to be a compromise between board member Amamiya and Governor Kuroda.

Last week, the Fed turned up the rate-hike heat, upgrading both economic activity and household spending from the “solid” to the “strong” camp. Futures prices are setting up another rate hike at the September FOMC meet. However, beyond that, the Fed’s timing will ultimately be decided by incoming data – last week was perhaps less in the ‘strong’ and more in the ‘solid’ camp.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries have rallied less than +1 bps to +2.94%, while the yield on Germany’s 10-year Bund is stable after sliding below +0.40% yesterday. The current yield trades at +0.39%. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has rallied +1 bps to +1.304%.

4. Turkish lira reprieve

Trade tensions remain the predominate theme, but the USD is seeing some consolidation in its recent strength as Treasury bond yields ease a tad.

The Turkish lira ($5.2406) has recovered some lost ground after plummeting to new record lows yesterday ($5.42), helped by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announcing a cut in the foreign exchange reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for commercial banks, a measure which should boost dollar liquidity. Turkish 10-year bond yields have backed up +25 bps to +20%.

Yesterday’s necessary course of action reaffirms the central banks reluctance to hike rates.

Note: The plunge in the currency over the past few weeks is now on a scale, which has, in the past, prompted the CBRT to hike interest rates aggressively. Will the CBRT hike the repo rate this week?

Sterling is trading atop of its one-year low outright yesterday, falling -0.5% to £1.2935, amid concerns the U.K. might fail to reach an agreement on Britain’s exit from the E.U. Pressure on the pound has come after U.K Trade Secretary Fox estimated there is a +60% chance that “no” Brexit deal would be reached.

EUR/USD (€1.1558) has stayed above the psychological €1.15 handle for the time being and remains confined to its recent trading range.

5. Mounting trade tension starting to bite German data

Data this morning showed that German exports were flat in June compared with May, which may suggest that mounting trade tensions are starting to bite.

Imports, however, rose +1.2% on the month. As a consequence, Germany’s adjusted trade surplus narrowed to +€19.3B in June from +€20.4B in May.

Other data showed that German industrial output declined in June by -0.9% from a month earlier, slightly more than expected, but total production rose +2.5% when taking calendar effects into account.

The fear about a potential trade war will continue to bring uncertainty, and uncertainty will bring a delay in investment decisions.

Forex heatmap

US Dollar Takes NFP Hit But Ends Up Higher on the Week

The US dollar fell on Friday after the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) came in below expectations with only a gain of 157,000 but otherwise the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent and wage growth remained unchanged at 0.3 percent. The greenback is still higher against most majors on a weekly basis. The past five trading days featured central banks and influential economic indicators, but the guiding factor remains the trade tensions between China and the United States. On Friday China announced its preparing new tariffs on $60 billion US goods as retaliation on the ongoing trade spat. The week that kicks off on August 6 will be more subdued from the economic calendar with the central banks of Australia and New Zealand publishing their officials rates. The UK’s gross domestic product, Canadian jobs data and US inflation will wrap up the week on Friday, August 10.

  • RBA and RBNZ expected to keep rates unchanged
  • UK quarterly GDP forecasted to gain 0.4 percent
  • US inflation advancing at 0.2 percent

Dollar Rises Guided by Geopolitics

The EUR/USD lost 0.61 percent in the last five days. The single currency is trading at 1.1582 after the EUR rose 0.10 percent on Friday but is far from recouping the gains of the USD during the week. The euro rose on a tight rangebound session despite overcoming weak retail sales and was helped by the lower than expected jobs report. The currency pair was mostly guided by geopolitics and the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday. Trade tensions have escalated on the US-China front with the US central bank staying put on rates, but giving an optimistic view on the economy.



The US central bank is expected to continue with its plans to lift interest rates two more times in 2018. The jobs report brought less jobs than expected but still managed to add enough jobs to bring the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent. There are concerns that the employment numbers will take a hit as trade war decisions trickle down but for now the outlook for American jobs is solid.

Inflation pressures remains low as despite a lower unemployment and high participation rate wages have not caught up to other costs. Labour shortages have not been widespread enough to trigger an above inflation rise in pay.

The positive employment data and the impressive growth of the economy in the second quarter validate the Fed’s decision to raise rates twice so far in 2018 and to continue on the path for two more rate hikes. The CME FedWatch tool shows a 93.6 percent of a chance of a hike in September 26.

The week of August 6 to August 10 will not bring the same economic calendar fireworks compared to the first week of the month. The highlights will be the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) with rate announcements that will likely end up with no change leaving investors to look for words from central bankers and monetary policy language for guidance.

The consumer price index on Friday will shed more light on inflation in America.

BoE Dovish Hike Sinks Pound

The GBP/USD fell 0.79 percent during the week. Cable is trading at 1.3004 wit the pound rising slightly on Friday. The Bank of England (BoE) hiked its benchmark rate on Super Thursday, but it was the cautionary words of BoE Governor Mark Carney that ultimately took the currency lower. The actions of the central bank were hawkish, by delivering the second rate hikes since the crisis, but Brexit looms over the monetary policy decision as hard Brexit scenarios have increased in probability.



The decision of the Bank of England (BoE) was unanimous, but given the fragile state of Prime Minister May’s leadership as she heads into the final 8 months of Brexit negotiations, it could end up being the only pro-active decision by the central bank in 2018 as it heads into reactive territory.

Loonie Higher on Strong Data and NAFTA Hope

The USD/CAD lost 0.58 percent during the week. The currency pair is trading at 1.2983 after strong Canadian trade data added more arguments for a Bank of Canada (BoC) rate hike. Canada’s deficit shrunk to $626 million in June. The monthly GDP numbers released on Tuesday by beating estimates with a 0.5 percent gain.


Canadian dollar weekly graph July 30, 2018

The Bank of Canada (BoC) lifted interest rates by 25 basis points on July 11 and a strong GDP report and a narrower trade deficit the probability of a follow up in 2018 has risen. Bank of Nova Scotia is forecasting 2 more rate hikes despite the uncertain outcome on NAFTA. The BoC will try to keep the gap between the Fed funds rate and the Canadian rate as much as the economy will allow. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hike in September and again in December to deliver the promised four interest rate hikes in their path to normalization.

Mexican Peso Rose as US Jobs Missed Expectations

The USD/MXN depreciated on a weekly basis and is trading at 18.5574 on Friday afternoon. The currency pair had a volatile week trading in a tight range. The highest point came as trade fears triggered a flight to safety in which investors bought dollars. The talks on Thursday and Friday between US and Mexican negotiators are keeping NAFTA hope alive and with he soft employment numbers in the US the MXN appreciated.



NAFTA negotiations have advanced in recent weeks as the newly elected Mexican president has been optimistic a quick deal can be reached. Mexican Trade teams are in Washington to talk with the US Trade representative, but the US did not extend an invitation to Canada to join the meetings.

The US team is sticking to the sunset cause and the auto content but there is more willingness to negotiate in bilateral terms, although Mexico has made it clear that it won’t negotiate without Canada being present.

Market events to watch this week:

Tuesday, August 7
12:30am AUD RBA Rate Statement
11:00pm NZD Inflation Expectations q/q
11:05pm AUD RBA Gov Lowe Speaks
Wednesday, August 8
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
5:00pm NZD Official Cash Rate
6:00pm NZD RBNZ Press Conference
Thursday, August 9
8:30am USD PPI m/m
9:30pm AUD RBA Monetary Policy Statement
Friday, August 10
4:30am GBP GDP m/m
4:30am GBP Manufacturing Production m/m
4:30am BP Prelim GDP q/q
8:30am CAD Employment Change
8:30am CAD Unemployment Rate
8:30am USD CPI m/m
8:30am USD Core CPI m/m

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

NFP could lift dollar higher

Friday August 3: Five things the markets are talking about

President Trump’s unpredictability on trade is keeping capital markets on the back foot and a theme that is not expected to change anytime soon.

The ‘big’ dollar remains better bid ahead of this morning U.S jobs report (08:30 am EDT), supported mostly by the markets confusion surrounding the escalating Sino-U.S trade conflict.

Nevertheless, this morning’s NFP report is forecasted to show a healthy labor market, with +193K new jobs and an unemployment rate of +3.9%. Many will focus on wage growth, a print of +2.8% could support another dollar leg up as the market prices out four rate increases this year.

The only thing that seems certain is that China will be expected to retaliate if President Trump follows through on a threat to increase tariffs to +25% from +10% on +$200B in Chinese imports.

Worries over protectionism has this week punished global stocks despite a stronger earnings season, supported lower sovereign yields and pushed G10 currency pairs to new weekly lows outright. The Chinese yuan is on track to complete an eighth week decline – its longest losing streak in 25-years.

Elsewhere, Turkish assets and lira remain under pressure after the U.S imposed sanctions on two government ministers over the detention of an evangelical pastor.

In commodities, oil prices have touched a new two-week low on U.S crude inventories supply concerns, while gold prices remains choppy.

1. Stocks close out the week mixed

In Japan overnight, the Nikkei managed to make a small gain partly due to a sharp rise in Suzuki motors (+8.6% on earnings). The Nikkei average ended +0.06% higher, while the broader Topix fell -0.54% to a three-week closing low on Sino-U.S trade tensions.

Down-under, Aussie shares closed out lower, pressured by the latest exchange of trade threats between the U.S and China, a major market for Australia’s resources exports. At close of trade, the S&P/ASX 200 was -0.10% lower. In S. Korea, the Kospi was +0.77% higher.

In Hong Kong and China, stocks edged lower, dragged down by fears of slowing growth on the mainland, a vaccine scandal that weighed on healthcare shares and persistent worries over the Sino-U.S. trade war. The Hang Seng index fell -0.1%, while the China Enterprises Index lost -0.4%. In China at the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down -1%. For the week, the index lost -4.6%, its worst performance in five months, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was down -1.65%. It lost -5.9% for the week.

In Europe, regional bourses trade sideways despite misses in macro-data. Geopolitical concerns continue to be main theme, with concerns on trade and Brexit negotiation. Market focus turns to non-farm payrolls (NFP).

U.S stocks are set to open small down (-0.1%).

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.3% at 3,479, FTSE +0.4% at 7,609, DAX +0.4% at 12,601, CAC-40 +0.2% at 5,473; IBEX-35 +0.2% at 9,713, FTSE MIB +0.3% at 21,476, SMI -0.1% at 9,149, S&P 500 Futures -0.1%

2. Oil prices edge lower on long-term bearish factors, gold at a record low

Oil prices are down in early trading as the market re-focuses on the ‘bearish’ longer term factors following yesterday’s rally on a report that U.S crude stocks in a key facility fell to their lowest in nearly four-years.

Brent crude futures are at +$73.15 per barrel, down -30c from yesterday’s close, while U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are at +$68.70 per barrel, down -26 cents from their close.

EIA data yesterday showed that inventories at the key Cushing storage hub in Oklahoma fell by -1.3M barrels, the lowest level in four-years.

However, overall U.S crude oil inventories actually rose by +3.8M barrels last week to +408.74M barrels.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the U.A.E have increased production to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once planned U.S sanctions come into effect.

Note: Earlier today, China, Iran’s biggest customer, has rejected a U.S request to cut imports from the OPEC member.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have fallen to their lowest print in over a year amid a strong U.S dollar – another loss would be the fourth consecutive weekly. Spot gold is down -0.1% at +$1,206.05 an ounce. For the week, the yellow metal is down about -1.4%. U.S gold futures are -0.5% lower at +$1,214.10 an ounce.

3. Most sovereign yields fall

Turkish data this morning showed that domestic inflation has rallied to a 15-year high of +15.8% year-on-year last month. Numbers like this certainly strengthens the case for further interest rate hikes, however, the central bank faces pressure from the government not to do so.

In Italy, budget concerns have sent the 10-year BTP yields back above the +3.05% to a 10-week high, while lower down the curve, Italian two- and five-year BTP yields have backed up +22 to +25 bps to +1.27% and +2.32% respectively.

BoE’s Governor Carney in an interview this morning stated that interest rates would not hit the +5% pre-crisis level for a long time. He reiterated that “one” rate hike per year could be seen as a rule of thumb and that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit was uncomfortably high.

The yield on U.S 10-year notes fell -1 bps to +2.98%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield fell -3 bps to +0.43%, while in the U.K the 10-year Gilt yield dipped -2 bps to +1.377%.

4. Dollar gets the green light

The ‘big’ dollar is maintaining a firm tone heading into the U.S open.

EUR/USD (€1.1572) has dipped to test new one-month lows as Italian bond yields backed up as Italy Finance Minister Tria holds a top-level budget meeting.

GBP (£1.2997) remains a notable underperformer among G10 currencies despite the fact that BoE officials yesterday ‘unanimously’ voted to hike +25 bps. The market is interpreting the BoE’s decision as a “dovish” hike. Others are arguing that the BoE is heading towards a policy mistake amid heightened Brexit uncertainty.

TRY ($5.0783) managed to hit a fresh record low overnight ($5.1100+). However, slightly better Turkish CPI data helped to push the Lira off its record lows.

China’s Yuan is poised for its longest weekly losing streak on record on continued concerns over a potential trade war. The CNY currency is heading for its eighth weekly decline with USD/CNY approaching the $6.90 area.

Note: CNY is off its worst levels overnight after a large Chinese bank was seen selling USD. It traded as low as ¥6.8965 before paring some of those losses to ¥6.8715.

5. U.K services PMI falls

Data this morning showed the purchasing managers’ survey on U.K. services-sector activity falling to 53.5 in July, missing expectations for 54.7. This morning’s miss reinforces market concerns about weakness in the British economy over Brexit uncertainty.

According to Markit, who compile the survey, “service providers commented that Brexit uncertainty had held back new project wins, reflecting risk aversion and a wait-and-see approach to investment spending among international clients.”

Forex heatmap

Dollar Awaits Jobs Report Amid Trade Uncertainty

The US dollar is higher against major pairs on Thursday in anticipation of a strong U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP). The U.S. Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged on Wednesday and without a press conference there was little guidance for the markets who will have to wait until the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting are published in two weeks. Two more rate hikes are forecasted to the Fed funds rate in 2018, but the economic indicators will have to validate them. The U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) will be published on Friday, August 3 at 8:30 am EDT. Investors will be quick to scan the report for the wage growth and unemployment rate components.

  • US expected to add 190,000 jobs
  • US wages could have gained 0.3 percent
  • Unemployment rate in the US to drop to 3.9 percent

Dollar Rises on Safe Haven Flows

The EUR/USD lost 0.62 percent on Thursday. The single currency is trading at 1.1587 as the US dollar rose as investors sought a safe haven as trade tensions once again flared up between the United States and China.The Trump administration proposed a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion Chinese goods with China expected to retaliate.



Friday’s economic data release will be highly focused on US indicators. The employment report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics will be the main attraction but geopolitics will continue to guide the market if trade war concerns do not subside.

The US stock market closed with gains across the board, with the exception of the DJI. Apple became the first company to break above the $1 trillion capitalization. Not unlike Brexit negotiations it is still too early to say what effect the looming trade war between the US and China will have on markets as there is still the possibility that both sides will reach an agreement.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that the tariffs are thought through but a compromise is being worked on by the US President. NAFTA negotiations have advanced in recent weeks as the newly elected Mexican president has been optimistic a quick deal can be reached. Mexican Trade teams are in Washington to talk with the US Trade representative, but the US did not extend an invitation to Canada to join the meetings.

Pound Lower Despite BoE Rate Hike

The GBP/USD fell 0.84 percent on August 2. The pound is trading at 1.3015 after a Super Thursday that included a unanimous vote from the Monetary Policy Committee to raise the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points. The decision to lift rates to 0.75 percent was heavily anticipated by the market. The currency rebounded temporarily on the announcement but quickly dropped as the press conference by BoE governor Mark Carney presented a gradual path in the future.



Governor Carney told the BBC that a rate hike a year was a good rule of thumb but questions remain on the timing of the decision. The EU divorce concerns continue to hang over the UK as Prime Minister Theresa May has not been able to find the perfect compromise between hard and soft Brexit.

The BoE elected to act now based on hard economic data than wait for the unclear outcome of the Brexit negotiations. The deadline is still 8 months away, but there is a lot of issues where not only are the UK and the EU apart, but there is no clear consensus between members of May’s cabinet.

Loonie Falls Ahead of NFP and Trade Disputes

The USD/CAD gained 0.13 percent in the last 24 hours. The currency pair is trading at 1.3026 after the US dollar rose and the loonie failed to get traction from a rebound in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate is trading at $69.54 ahead of US rig data due on Friday.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, August 2, 2018

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The Bank of Canada (BoC) lifted interest rates by 25 basis points on July 11 and after a stronger than expected monthly GDP report the probability of a follow up in 2018 has risen. Bank of Nova Scotia is forecasting 2 more rate hikes despite the uncertain outcome on NAFTA. The BoC will try to keep the gap between the Fed funds rate and the Canadian rate as much as the economy will allow. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hike in September and again in December to deliver the promised four interest rate hikes in their path to normalization.

Market events to watch this week:

Friday, August3
4:30am GBP Services PMI
8:30am USD Average Hourly Earnings m/m
8:30am USD Non-Farm Employment Change
8:30am USD Unemployment Rate
10:00am USD ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

BoE hike a close call

Thursday August 2: Five things the markets are talking about

The Bank of England is more likely than not to hike interest rates +25 bps to +0.75% this morning (07:00 am EDT), but this has only recently become a closer call.

June’s BoE meeting minutes showed that three out of nine MPC members voted to raise rates, opening the door wide for a hike at today’s meet – futures are pricing a +91% odds.

Note: With those odds, the danger with today’s decision is if the BoE don’t go, then sterling (£1.3080) should plummet, otherwise the priced-in hike should have a limited impact.

However, for the ‘doves’ since then, June inflation has been lower than expected, earnings growth has slipped, and political and Brexit uncertainties are very much more heightened.

For the ‘hawks,’ the U.K economy continues to grow in line with, or slightly above, and employment is on the rise, two good reasons that should provide sufficient justification for a rate rise.

Elsewhere, global equities are a sea of ‘red’ ahead of the U.S open as President’s Trumps latest threats to free trade again has rattled markets – Trump is considering increasing proposed levies on +$200B in Chinese imports to +25% from +10%.

The ‘big’ dollar has found support, while sovereign bonds trade mixed as central banks policy decisions dominate proceedings. In commodities, oil prices touch a new two-week low on U.S crude inventories supply concerns, while gold prices remain choppy.

1. Stocks have little support

Global stocks are on the back foot amid heightened concerns over the escalating trade dispute between the U.S and China.

In Japan, equities again felt the impact from the slide in the broader Asian markets following Trump’s latest proposal on China imports. The Nikkei share average has pulled back from Wednesday’s two-week highs, as Chinese stocks fell sharply. The index ended the day down -1.03%, while the broader Topix fell -1%.

Down-under, Aussie shares slid overnight, pulled down by global miners – BHP and Rio Tinto. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.6%. In S. Korea, the Kospi index also weakened on trade escalation worries. At the close, the index was down -1.6%, pressured mostly by major electronics and steel sector shares.

In China and Hong Kong, stocks extended their previous day’s losses as trade war fears, along with a Chinese vaccine scandal and signs of slowing domestic growth continue to undermine investor confidence.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down -2% and the blue-chip CSI300 index fell -2.3%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index and the China Enterprises Index both ended down -2.2%.

In Europe, most regional bourses see red on geopolitical worries. Germany’s export-heavy DAX has already fallen -1.2% and this despite a declining EUR (€1.1617).

U.S stocks are set to open ‘deep’ down (-0.4%).

Indices: Stoxx50 -1.1% at 3,470, FTSE -0.8% at 7,588, DAX -1.8% at 12,516, CAC-40 -0.7% at 5,461; IBEX-35 -1.0% at 9,700, FTSE MIB -1.30% at 21,507, SMI -0.4% at 9,136, S&P 500 Futures -0.4%

2. Oil steadies to trade higher after losses, gold choppy

Ahead of the U.S open, crude oil prices have steadied after losses over the past two-days from a surprise increase in U.S crude inventories and renewed concerns over Sino-U.S trade friction.

Brent crude futures are up +16c, or +0.2%, at +$72.55 a barrel, after dropping -2.5% yesterday. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures have rallied +6c, or +0.1%, to +$67.72 a barrel. They fell -1.6% yesterday.

Yesterday’s EIA report showed that U.S crude inventories rose +3.8M barrels last week as imports jumped. The market was expecting a drawdown of -2.8M barrels.

However, providing some support on pullbacks is ongoing tensions between the U.S and Iran.

Gold prices are small better bid, recovering from the yesterday’s session fall, supported by a weaker USD/JPY (¥111.44). Spot gold is up +0.2% at +$1,218.23 an ounce, after losing -0.65% Wednesday. U.S gold futures are little changed at +$1,226.70 an ounce.

3. Sovereign yields fall

Fears of an escalating trade dispute between the U.S and China is triggering a fall in some sovereign bonds yields.

In the Eurozone, German and French yields in particular have pulled back from their two-month highs as demand for safe-haven debt grows on trade fears.

In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has eased -1 bps to +0.48%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has backed up +1 bps to +1.37%, the highest in seven-weeks.

Stateside, with the Fed leaving short-term interest rates unchanged yesterday, an upbeat assessment of the U.S economy’s performance would suggest another rate increase is likely at the next meeting in September. The market is pricing in an additional two rate rises by year-end.

4. Turkish lira at a new record low

With global risk appetite dwindling on global trade concerns is benefiting the U.S dollar. Also providing support for the greenback are rate differentials, aided by the Fed emphasizing yesterday, the U.S economy’s strength in a statement following its expected ‘no rate hike’ decision.

Overnight, the Turkish lira (TRY) has slid to a new record low outright of $5.0822 and is looking to go even lower. Year-to-date, brings its loss outright above -24% after the White House announced yesterday it would sanction the country over the detention of a U.S pastor.

Turkish inflation figures for July will be released tomorrow, and the market expects another acceleration. If so, this would be another negative factor for the TRY after the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) recent decision not to hike their key interest rate.

GBP (£1.3071) is softer ahead of today’s anticipated “dovish” rate hike by the BoE.

In Japan, the BoJ demonstrated its flexibility in it policy performing an unplanned purchased in the 5-10-year JGB range during the Asian session that helped to cap rising JGB yields. Officials commented that it acted to meet target of keeping the 10-year JGB curve around 0.00% with the operation. USD/JPY (¥111.57) is a tad softer on ‘risk aversion’ trading.

Finally, the offshore yuan has hit its weakest level outright in more than 14-months ahead of the open after China said it would retaliate against the U.S on trade. The Chinese currency lost -0.6% to ¥6.8654.

5. Euro area industrial producer prices rise

Data this morning from Eurostat show that in June, industrial producer prices rose by +0.4% m/m in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28. Year-over-year, prices rose by +3.6% in the euro area and by +4.4% in the EU28.

Digging deeper, the increase in the euro area is due to rises of +1.1% in the energy sector, of +0.4% for intermediate goods and of +0.1% for durable consumer goods, while prices remained stable for capital goods and for non-durable consumer goods. Prices in total industry ex-energy rose by +0.2%.

In the EU28, the increase is due to rises of +1.2% in the energy sector, of +0.4% for intermediate goods and of +0.1% for capital goods, durable and non-durable consumer goods. Prices in total industry ex-energy rose by +0.2%.

Forex heatmap