100 days of Theresa May
Today the British Prime Minister (PM), Theresa May, marks her 100th day in office. And what better way to define this milestone moment than attend the European Union summit? Today is the second day of the summit and a meeting between Mrs. May and the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, is on schedule. Yesterday at the summit, the British PM voiced concerns about the UK being sidelined even before Brexit actually takes place. Flashback and we know where this concern stems from. It is in reference to an “informal” summit held in Bratislava in September, the first without Britain in 43 years.
Data wise today, the deficit in UK’s public sector net borrowing slightly narrowed in September. In the Eurozone, the flash consumer confidence index is set to cross the wire. Across the Atlantic, a speech from the FOMC member, Daniel Tarullo, will be eyed for fresh momentum.
Pound Sterling – UK Markets
The Pound is trading mixed against the US Dollar and the Euro this morning. The just released data showed that the deficit in Britain’s public sector borrowing slightly narrowed in September. As this week draws to a close, market participants gear up for a data-packed schedule next week, with the UK’s CBI industrial trends survey, BBA mortgage approvals, consumer confidence and the preliminary reading of gross domestic product for the third quarter all due for release.
Yesterday, Sterling ended lower against the greenback for the second consecutive session, after data showed that British retail sales struggled to recover in September. This was mainly due to weak sales of food, footwear and clothing. Higher prices and the unusually warm September weather dented demand for new autumn fashion lines. At the same time, prices of clothing and footwear surged to a 6-year high level, which made consumers hesitant to loosen their purse strings.
US Dollar – US Markets
The greenback traded on a stronger footing against its major peers yesterday, following the release of upbeat regional manufacturing activity data and sales of previously owned homes in the US. The Philadelphia Fed indicated that manufacturing activities in the region climbed more than expected in October, suggesting an improving outlook for the sector. Also, a sharp rebound in the US existing home sales for September reinstated investors’ confidence in the nation’s economy. Moreover, the ECB Chief’s stance over its QE programme pushed the common currency lower against its US counterpart. In contrast, data showed that weekly applications for unemployment benefits in the US posted the largest increase since late July. Hurricane Matthew may have underpinned some of the claims, with several affected states showing a rise in filings.
In other economic news, the CB leading indicator measuring future trends of the overall economic activities in the US rebounded for September, signifying that the world’s largest economy will continue expanding at a moderate pace through early 2017.
Euro – European Markets
This morning, the shared currency continues the European Central Bank (ECB) induced downward slide across the board. Market participants look forward to preliminary reading of the Eurozone’s consumer confidence index, scheduled to release later today. Expectations are for the index to post a slight improvement in October.
Yesterday, as widely expected, the ECB kept the monetary policy unchanged, but central bank President Mario Draghi’s comments sent the Euro plummeting against the US Dollar, touching its lowest level since 24 June. The ECB Chief stated that the Governing Council did not discuss tapering its current asset purchase programme, pouring cold water over some rumours that circulated during the earlier weeks. Moreover, he added that the bank stays committed to ease further, if needed, which thrusted the monetary policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the ECB back into the spotlight, boosting the greenback at the expense of the Euro.
Other Currencies – Highlights
The Canadian Dollar is trading on a weaker footing against the greenback this morning, pulling back for the third straight session. Looking ahead, a couple of crucial economic releases are lined up in Canada today. Canada’s consumer price index (CPI) report will be out later and is expected to witness a rebound for September. Meanwhile, annual inflation is expected to pick up, after slipping towards the lower end of the Bank of Canada’s (BoC) targeted range in August. Also, Canadian retail sales are likely to bounce back in August.
Yesterday, the Canadian dollar weakened against its US counterpart as oil prices fell from a 15-month high and as investors continued to weigh the dovish tone of the BoC. On Wednesday, the BoC held the benchmark interest rate at 0.5% and downgraded Canada’s growth outlook for this year and the next. The central bank blamed exports as the main contributor for its lower forecast, following a weaker than anticipated performance and somewhat gloomier prospects for the future.