Britain’s Trade Deficit Narrows in April
The just released trade balance numbers showed that Britain’s goods trade deficit narrowed more than expected in April. Markets now await key prints scheduled for tomorrow, which include industrial and manufacturing production numbers for April.
In Europe, the Euro zone’s economic growth is in the spotlight again with the revised estimate of the region’s first quarter GDP scheduled shortly. Across the Atlantic, macro releases, including small business sentiment and the labour department’s job openings report, will shed light on the prospects of a pickup in second quarter economic growth.
Pound Sterling – UK Markets
Sterling slumped against the shared currency in yesterday’s trading session, pushing the Euro-Pound currency pair above the 0.73 mark. The demand for sterling eased after the Confederation of British Industry slashed its growth forecast for the UK economy for both 2015 and 2016, citing risks associated with the outcome of the EU referendum, economic instability in Greece and exchange rate volatility that could spill over into the economy. Separately, BRC’s survey data, which led the start of this week economic data releases in the UK, showed that retail sales in the nation picked up in May. The data revealed that there was a marked increase in furniture sales last month, encouraged by a recovery in Britain’s housing market.
The just out UK trade data print showed that trade deficit narrowed more than market expectations for April, suggesting that the deficit might be a lesser drag on growth in the current quarter. Moving ahead, the UK’s inflation report is scheduled to be presented to Parliament today.
US Dollar – US Markets
The greenback traded on a weaker footing against its major currency counterparts yesterday, following a media report which indicated that the US President, Barack Obama, had expressed concern over strength in the greenback at the G7 summit in Germany. However, the White House later denied that he had made the remarks and stated that the President was misquoted. In economic news, the Fed’s labour market conditions index reinforced signs that the US jobs market was improving, with the measure rising in May following two months of decline.
On tap in the US today is the small business optimism index by the NFIB and job openings & labour turnover survey (JOLTS) by the Labour Department. Following last week’s upbeat labour market data, markets anticipate a big gain in job openings for April. Meanwhile, the US Dollar has recovered some of its losses against the shared currency, while it is trading higher against the Pound this morning.
Euro – European Markets
The revised estimate of first quarter Euro zone GDP will be in focus during the European session today. Markets anticipate that the modest improvement seen in the initial estimate for the first three months of this year will remain unchanged in today’s update. The single currency’s reaction to the GDP data is expected to remain limited, unless there is a sharp deviation from the earlier estimate. Developments from Greece will continue to attract market attention today, with currency traders closely monitoring comments from both Athens and its international creditors for any signs of progress on a debt deal. This morning, the single currency is trading on a stronger footing against the Pound.
Erasing its previous session losses, the Euro traded on a stronger footing against the major currencies yesterday. Gains were underpinned by positive German economic releases which indicated that industrial production surged in April, while trade surplus widened for the same month. Meanwhile, investor confidence in the Euro zone for June declined to the lowest level in four months, dampening optimism to some extent.
Other Currencies – Highlights
Data released earlier in the day revealed that Switzerland’s unemployment rate remained steady at a seasonally adjusted 3.3% in May, as widely expected. On an unadjusted basis, the jobless rate ticked lower in line with market expectation. Additionally, consumer prices for May rose higher than market estimates, from the previous month, easing fears over strengthening deflationary trends in the nation, bringing in much needed relief to the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The consumer price data was consistent with SNB’s assessment that inflation will turn positive again this year following a rise in oil prices which would limit pressure. The Swiss Franc has extended its gains against the US Dollar, following the release of the upbeat inflation data.
With no additional domestic releases scheduled in the nation today, market participants will keep an eye on economic releases in the US, including NFIB’s small business sentiment index and the job openings & labour turnover survey (JOLTS) report.