Philip Hammond’s UK Autumn Statement and Fed November Minutes
Today is a pretty eventful day across the globe. The day emerges as a bright spark in a shortened Thanksgiving week. To get us all warmed up this morning, a string of manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) just crossed the wires. It showed that the Eurozone registered its fastest business growth this year in November. Next up, the focus will turn towards the other side of the English Channel, with Britain’s Autumn Statement up for release in a few hours. It is the UK finance Minister Philip Hammond’s time to shine today as he presents his first Autumn statement. Today’s statement will have to accommodate the UK’s debt burden and also make room for the Brexit factor.
Later in the US, economic data is front-loaded in advance of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) will release its November meeting minutes today.
Pound Sterling – UK Markets
The Pound is trading lower against its major peers this morning, ahead of the highly-anticipated Autumn budget statement, due later today. The Autumn Statement represents a mini-budget of sorts, before the main tax-and-spend announcements given usually in March. Today’s Autumn Statement throws up two new peculiarities: 1) It is the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement and 2) It will detail the government’s forecast for the economy and future spending priorities ahead of the Brexit negotiations. Another question that looms large is whether Mr. Hammond will take his foot off the austerity pedal and introduce new measures to stimulate the British economy. After all, when he became Chancellor in July, he had claimed that Britain needs a “fiscal reset”, thus raising the prospect of a big shift in economic policy towards more public spending and large tax cuts.
Yesterday, on the release front, both British public sector net borrowing and the Confederation of British Industry’s industrial orders data handily beat their estimates.
US Dollar – US Markets
The greenback is trading higher against the Euro and Pound this morning. Today, investors shift focus towards the most important event of the week: the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) November monetary policy meeting minutes. The minutes will solidify expectations that Fed policymakers are leaning closer towards raising interest rate for the first time this year. The central bank had left the federal funds rate target unchanged in a range of 0.25%-0.50% at its November policy meeting. The minutes will be accompanied by several economic releases, namely, initial jobless claims, Markit manufacturing PMI, new home sales and durable goods orders. The orders for long lasting US goods are expected to rebound sharply in October.
The US Dollar advanced against most of its major peers yesterday. Data indicated that existing home sales in the US unexpectedly advanced in October; its fastest pace in nearly 10 years. Moreover, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index strongly rebounded in November.
Euro – European Markets
The shared currency is trading mixed against the US Dollar and the Pound this morning. Data released earlier in the session showed that the Eurozone witnessed its fastest business growth this year in November. Activity in the Euro region’s manufacturing as well as the dominant services industry advanced during the month. Meanwhile, Germany's private sector growth eased marginally in November after accelerating to a 10-month high in the previous month. Although the PMI for the German services sector rose to a 6-month high, the composite figure was dragged down by slower growth in Germany’s mammoth manufacturing sector. Further, French business activity rose more than expected in November, driven by faster growth in the services sector that helped offset a slight slowdown in manufacturing.
Yesterday, data from the European Commission indicated that the Eurozone’s consumer confidence sharply improved in November.
Other Currencies – Highlights
The Canadian Dollar is trading on a weaker footing against the greenback this morning, falling for the second straight session. During the previous session, data showed that Canada’s retail sales picked up in September, in an early sign that the Liberal government’s fiscal stimulus plan is beginning to lift domestic demand. The Canadian government has pledged a significant amount over a multi-year period to help kick start growth and offset the hit sustained by the nation’s energy sector due to lower commodity prices. A strong demand for new cars was the biggest contributor to the growth in retail sales. In fact, auto purchases climbed for the first time in three months and also reached an 8-month high level.
On the other hand, Canada’s wholesale sales unexpectedly declined in September, on weak demand for machinery & equipment, and registered its first drop since March this year. Looking ahead, next week seems crucial for Canada as the market participants are geared up to witness the release of RBC manufacturing PMI, unemployment rate and September GDP data.