First Quarter UK GDP Revised Upwards
The just out revised reading of UK GDP showed that the economy expanded at a faster pace than previously estimated for the first quarter, alongside expansion in business output and higher consumption levels. The upward revision is likely to bring forward expectations of an interest rate rise should fundamentals continue to improve in the coming months.
Going forward, the flash estimate of consumer price inflation in the Euro zone and the Conference Board’s update on US consumer confidence will be in focus today. However, most market attention remains focused on Greece as the cash-strapped nation looks set to default on its debt payment to the IMF.
Pound Sterling – UK Markets
The estimate for UK GDP has shown an upward revision to the growth rate for the first three months of the year, raising hopes that the BoE will normalise monetary policy sooner rather than later. The data was consistent with market consensus, as recent revisions to construction output and a pick-up in private consumption indicated stronger activity in the first three months of 2015. However, Sterling has shown little reaction against the majors. Though the latest growth figures still marks a slowdown from the previous quarter, overall it paints a brighter picture of the economy. Moreover, data released earlier today indicated that consumer morale in the UK for June soared to the highest level in over 15 years, suggesting a robust economic recovery in the current quarter. Meanwhile, Britain’s current account deficit widened unexpectedly for the first quarter.
Yesterday, data revealed that Britain’s mortgage approvals declined unexpectedly for May, after a particularly strong improvement in April, thereby hinting that housing market activity was held back in early May amid heightened uncertainty surrounding the general election.
US Dollar – US Markets
The US Dollar is trading on a stronger footing against the Euro this morning. However, the Dollar has pared most of its gains against the majors that were triggered by Greek developments over the weekend. In economic news today, investors will focus on the Conference Board’s consumer confidence report for June, with markets anticipating the index to remain at elevated levels on the back of robust labour market and lower inflationary pressures in the US. Last week, the University of Michigan’s survey showed that households have finally started spending their gasoline savings, indicating consumer confidence in the sustainability of the recovery. Markets anticipate today’s update on consumer confidence to follow suit. Additionally, investors will keep a tab on the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and a measure of regional business activity in the US for further direction.
Yesterday, a housing market report showed that the number of contracts signed to purchase previously owned homes surged in May and reached its highest level in more than nine years, adding to signs of growing demand in the US residential market.
Euro – European Markets
The Euro is hovering close to the 0.71 mark against the Pound this morning. Today, Greece looks set to default on a bundled loan repayment to the IMF. To make matters worse the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, urged people to vote against creditors’ austerity measures ahead of the weekend referendum, that could pave the way for Greece to exit the Euro bloc. The European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, made an offer to Athens last night in a bid to reach a bailout agreement before today’s deadline. However, there were little signs that the Greek Prime Minister will drop his stance on the bailout offer. Data released earlier today showed that German retail sales rose higher than market consensus for May, adding to evidence that private consumption will play an important role in the economic recovery of the Euro zone’s largest economy. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Germany remained unchanged at 6.4% for June.
The Euro recovered sharply against the majors yesterday, despite investors treading cautiously amid heightened prospects of a Greek debt default.
Other Currencies – Highlights
The New Zealand Dollar is trading close to multi-year lows against the US Dollar this morning following the release of downbeat domestic macro releases and as the greenback remained broadly supported amid concerns surrounding Greece. The Kiwi Dollar lost momentum after a closely monitored business sentiment survey showed a negative reading for the first time in four years. The June business sentiment reading slipped for the third consecutive month, painting a weaker growth picture of the economy for the remainder of 2015. The survey indicated that uncertainty in the dairy industry has dented confidence among businesses in the nation. Additionally, ANZ’s own activity expectations index eased to a multi-year low, putting further pressure on the New Zealand Dollar against the majors.
With no further domestic macro releases to influence trading, investors will keenly eye developments in Greece and also keep a tab on US economic releases for further direction.