Markets higher as earnings season gets underway

Earnings season eyed as trade war fears remain

We’re seeing some risk appetite return on Friday even as concerns about trade remain front and centre and shows no signs of improving.

European equity markets are trading in the green on Friday, taking the lead from the US session on Thursday where tech stocks drove a rally that saw the NASDAQ hit a record high. With earnings season getting underway, investors will be looking for reasons to be more optimistic having spent months reading about the risks that a trade war poses to the economy.

JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will kick things off today and over the coming weeks, investors will be paying close attention not just to the results but also references to trade tariffs and the impact they are expected to have on future results, particularly those that have already been targeted in counter-measures taken or proposed against the US.

DAX steady as investors search for cues

Sterling slips as Trump warns of risks to US/UK trade deal

Trump has very much been in the spotlight this week, attending the NATO summit in Brussels before heading over to the UK to meet Prime Minister Theresa May. As ever, Trump was not afraid to express his views on the UK and Brexit ahead of the visit, warning that a trade deal with the US would not be possible under the model that May is seeking with the European Union, while also expressing his belief that Boris Johnson would make a good PM. This appears to have weighed on the pound in trade on Friday given the complications it could cause May and her team.

None of this will go down well with May – who has previously pushed strongly for this visit despite much protest – and comes at a terrible time for her but as Trump well knows, she is in a very weak position right now and is unlikely to fight back and, more importantly, he wants a Brexit that best suits the US. Whether Trump’s comments give more voice to dissenters among Brexiteers is yet to be seen but it certainly doesn’t help the PM as a trade deal with the US has long been touted as one of the benefits of leaving the EU.

First signs of tariffs impact in China’s June trade numbers

Chinese trade surplus increases as Trump plans more tariffs

Chinese trade data released overnight may be used as a source for Trump’s next attack on the world’s second largest economy, with exports having soared once again – rising 11.3% – increasing the surplus the country has with the US to $41.61 billion in June. While the main reason for such a spike is likely to be exporters front loading sales ahead of the tariffs being implemented, it’s likely that a stronger US economy and weaker yuan is also playing a role.

I expect this will be used as another example of the bad trade policies that Trump has repeatedly references but been unable to so far influence. Trump is attempting to force them back to the table with threats of another $200 billion in tariffs, something that has so far only been met with retaliation from China and others.

Economic Calendar

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

US Inflation Eyed as Markets Pare Losses

Markets higher after tariff-related losses

It’s been a more positive start to trade on Thursday, with equity markets in the green and paring Wednesday’s losses as investors continue to weigh up what impact the latest trade tariffs will have on the global economy.

While markets have typically reacted negatively to any escalation on trade, the overall impact has been relatively modest under the circumstances which suggests investors are far from panic mode right now. Many agree that tariffs will ultimately be bad for the global economy and therefore markets but there still seems to be some hope that common sense will prevail and a full blown trade war will be averted.

With Donald Trump now pursuing another $200 billion in tariffs against China though, we may have to wait a while as he is not easing up and China – and others – is determined to prove it will not be bullied into submission. Perhaps if the economy starts to suffer or the Republicans do badly in the midterms in November Trump will be forced to consider an alternative approach.

Equities shrug off trade tariff tensions

US inflation seen rising further

As it stands though, the economy is doing very well – aided by last year’s tax reforms – and the Federal Reserve is on course to raise interest rates twice more this year, having increased them on two occasions already. The central bank is clearly more concerned about the economy overheating right now than the prospect of a trade war – although this is also on their radar – and the inflation data we’ve seen very much justifies their view.

While CPI is not the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, it does provide valuable insight and is typically released a couple of weeks before the core PCE price index. Today’s release is expected to show prices rising by 2.9% in June compared to a year earlier, with core inflation having risen by 2.3%, above the Fed’s 2% target. The core PCE price index may be a little behind this at 2% but this is at target and on the rise. Any unexpected increase today may suggest a similar rise is on the cards for the PCE numbers as well.

(Update 1) A tenuous and unstable state of affairs

ECB minutes eyed after dovish tightening last month

The minutes from the most recent European Central Bank meeting will also be released today. The ECB confirmed at the last meeting that it will end its quantitative easing program at the end of the year and won’t raise interest rates until at least the middle of 2019, which was largely in line with expectations. The dovish spin that was put on it though weighed on the euro at the time and it will be interesting to see whether the minutes have a similar impact.

Economic Calendar

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

Bank of Canada Expected to Hike on Wednesday

The US dollar is mixed against majors on Tuesday. The JPY has lost as risk appetite is back in vogue with investors and the GBP has risen after the market digested the resignations of pro-Brexit members of Theresa May’s government. The Bank of Canada (BoC) will publish its rate statement on Wednesday, July 11 at 10:00 am EDT. The market has priced in a 96 percent chance of an interest rate hike. BoC Governor Stephen Poloz will host a press conference where he could offer further insight into the decision or hedge if market reaction is too extreme in his view.

  • Bank of Canada (BoC) expected to hike rate by 25 basis points
  • US Weekly crude inventories forecasted to drop after API drawdown of 6.8M barrels
  • Bank of England (BoE) Governor Carney to speak in Boston

Loonie Awaiting Bank of Canada Decision
The USD/CAD gained 0.05 percent on Tuesday. The currency pair is trading at 1.3114 ahead of the central bank meeting. Monthly Canadian GDP data at the end of June surprised to the upside and with a positive business outlook added to a strong jobs report the Canadian central bank will be looking to close the gap with the U.S. Federal Reserve funds rate. Fed members have signalled that more rate lifts are coming and two have already been priced in. The BoC is in no hurry to hike, but there is pressure to act later in the second half of the year if it decides to hold in July.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, July 10, 2018

While the lift in interest rates will not be a surprise, there is more anticipation for what BoC Governor Stephen Poloz has to say. Hawkish comments from BoC Governor Stephen Poloz earlier in the month taken into consideration for the meeting, although the market is forecasts more dovish remarks given the uncertain global trade scenario. If Poloz maintains a neutral to hawkish there could be a sharp movement in the currency.

Commitment of Trades (CoT) data out of the CFTC shows large investors are bearish on the currency, which could create a short squeeze scenario all depending on what Poloz ends up communicating to the market.

The Canadian economy had a solid start to 2017, but the pace kept slowing down as the Trump administration attacks on trade were gaining steam. The uncertainty about trade made the start of 2018 a difficult one for the loonie and until recently the worst performer against the USD from major currencies.

Elections in Mexico and the upcoming midterms in the US make a NAFTA renegotiation less likely this year, which minimizes but does not take out of the equation an end of the trade deal. Fundamental indicators in Canada have improved giving the central bank some room to close the gap between the US and Canadian interest rates.

Yen on the Back Foot as Risk Appetite Returns

The USD/JPY lost 0.38 percent in the last 24 hours. The currency pair is trading at 111.27 a six month high for the USD against the JPY. The yen is a preferred safe haven during times of uncertainty, but as investors seek returns they quickly sell the Asian currency. Trade war fears have waned this week and emerging markets have been the biggest winners at the expense of the JPY.



Pound Rises as PM May Survives Leadership Challenge

The GBP/USD gained 0.18 percent on Tuesday. Cable is trading at 1.3279 on the midst of Theresa May fighting for a soft Brexit and her job. On Friday it all seemed to have worked out with little opposition for her plans of an orderly divorce with the EU that allowed the UK to have access to the single market. Hard Brexit backing members of the cabinet started resigning over the weekend. The pound started to drop as Boris Johnson resigned and concerns rose of a confidence vote against PM May. The fact that May has survived a leadership challenge and some encouraging comments out of Brussels have boosted the currency.



The Conservative party remains divided, but the Eurosceptics do not have enough fire power to topple May so for now a soft Brexit is the only viable strategy. May has the support from Michael Gove, but if that were to change it could mean her ouster, with Gove a likely replacement.

Market events to watch this week:

Wednesday, July 11
10:00am CAD BOC Monetary Policy Report
10:00am CAD BOC Rate Statement
10:00am CAD Overnight Rate
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
11:15am CAD BOC Press Conference
11:35am GBP BOE Gov Carney Speaks
Thursday, July 12
7:30am EUR ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts
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