UK manufacturing sector exceeds market expectations
What’s been happening?
GBP: UK Manufacturing PMI came in at 55.1 for the March figure. The market had expected a reading of around 54.7 and the figure, although a slight improvement, continues to show expansion in the manufacturing sector. Investors have shifted their focus away from Brexit slightly and towards the state of the economy ahead of an expected rate hike next month. UK Construction PMI came out this morning missing expectation posting a figure of 47 for March from a previous reading of 51.4. This reading points to the fastest overall decline in construction since July 2016 mainly down to bad weather conditions and snow having an impact on certain engineering projects.
EUR: More slides in terms of data, but this time out of Germany. Retail sales fell 0.7% and caused the euro to retreat. Eurozone CPI came out this morning in line with the 1% expectation. For those that like a stat, core inflation in the region has averaged a rate of 1.41% since 1997 until 2018. The all time high was 2.60% back in March 2002 with the low of 0.60% being recorded in January 2015. Currently in France railway strikes are underway and set to cause major disruption for the next three months in light of an attempt to halt President Macron’s plans to change the face of France.
USD: Trade war concerns are back on the agenda between the world’s two largest economies. US business groups are urging both the US and China to discuss the issues at hand and find a resolve amidst concerns that threatening tariffs could lead to a dispute that would hurt the US economy. Last year saw goods imported from China worth $506 billion dollars. Levels are still attractive for buying US dollars with the pound up roughly 3.9% against the dollar this quarter. This is sterling’s best performance since mid 2015.
What’s coming up?
GBP: Out of the UK, tomorrow the market will watch the release of the Services PMI figure. On Friday BoE Governor Carney speaks which has the potential to move the pound.
EUR: Tomorrow sees the release of both Service PMI and Retail Sales MOM figures from the eurozone. With the issues in France and figures from Germany falling of late, the euro could be put on the back foot if Thursday’s figures fall short of expectation.
USD: Today at 13:15 will see the release of the ADP figure from the US. This figure is the precursor to Non-farm payroll figures due out this week. We also have ISM Manufacturing PMI figures due in at 15:00 today. We also have Powell speaking on Friday and the market will pay close attention to the tone and language used in relation to interest rate movement.
AUD retail sales moved higher to 0.6% MoM and beat the expected figure of 0.3%. This has helped the Aussie push higher and build on yesterday’s gains versus a basket of currencies. Being heavily liked to metal prices, AUD will always feel the pinch when copper and iron ore moves lower and has been affected recently due to trade ward concerns.