Last week, the dollar put in its worst performance this year after the Federal Reserve meeting was perceived as less hawkish than analysts predicted. In actual fact, the Fed did say that “progress” was being made towards normalisation, but in a relatively quiet market, traders ignored the subtleties of language and decided to sell dollars. The change in the market’s mood coincided with month-end, and the move down was exaggerated by institutions reversing their dollar positions to book their profits. Along with most of the G10 currencies, the pound had its best week for some time and managed to gain nearly two cents to finish the month near the top of its trading range. The reluctance of the Fed to start tightening policy became more understandable after the release of second-quarter Gross Domestic Product showed that the economy was not bouncing back quite as strongly as was previously thought. Indeed, the annualised Core Personal Consumption expenditure, one of the Fed’s chosen indicators, was lower than the consensus had forecast, justifying the opinion that inflation is a product of disrupted supply chains and is transitory.
There are two significant events on the currency market’s horizon dominating traders’ thoughts and actions this week the monthly meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and a complete set of US employment reports, including the all-encompassing Non-Farm Payroll this coming Friday. With the Federal Reserve taking a patient stance over monetary policy, neither dovish nor hawkish, it will be a major surprise if the BoE chooses a different path. The chances are that sterling will ignore the BoE meeting unless there is a marked change in tone and tread water until the release of the Non-Farm payroll data on Friday, which is expected to show strong growth. Away from the macroeconomic data releases, we will be monitoring the Brexit-related problems in Northern Ireland and the spread of Covid in the UK and, as importantly, across Europe and the US.
With the direction of Covid figures still unclear in the UK, it is unlikely that the Bank of England will dramatically change tack on its policies after Thursday’s MPC meeting. Although there are at least two hawks on the committee, judging by recent speeches, it still appears too early in the UK’s economic recovery for a majority of members to push for any substantial change of policy. However, according to press reports over the weekend, they may alter the sequencing of any future tightening. Unless the Bank is openly more dovish than after its last meeting, it is unlikely that sterling will react too dramatically. The Bank of England is also scheduled to unveil its updated quarterly forecasts on Thursday, which are expected to continue cautiously optimistic, but they may contain a sharp upward revision to their inflation forecasts. Ahead of the meeting, Markit will release their Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for Manufacturing this morning and on Wednesday final composite and Services (PMIs) for July.
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A very quiet week and possibly month looks in prospect for the euro, with many traders choosing a sunbed over a dealing desk as August arrives. With the main events occurring away from the continent and little economic data to be published, the euro’s direction will be led by primarily the dollar. Despite a solid performance that saw the single currency gain a cent against the dollar last week, it slipped against sterling after mixed European data with concerns over the effect of the Delta variant remaining to concern investors. As in the rest of the world, the Eurozone will see the release of Markit’s PMI’s starting this morning with Manufacturing followed by the Services and Composite sectors on Wednesday, which also has June’s Retail Sales scheduled for release. There is then a lull till Friday when Germany’s Industrial Output for June is reported
After a series of mixed data reports in the US, traders will be studying this week’s employment details, particularly Friday’s non-farm payroll intently. With the Fed willing to turn a blind eye to inflation and reluctant to pull the trigger on tightening until further progress towards full employment is made, this monthly report has assumed more importance than usual. There are still six million fewer Americans in work than before the pandemic; however, the US has an enviable record in creating jobs. If the actual number comes close to the one million new jobs created figure that some are forecasting, the dollar will appreciate sharply as expectations of an early round of tightening will resurface. The US labor department will also release its weekly jobless total on Thursday, and ADP will publish its predominantly white-collar employment report on Wednesday. As elsewhere, we start the week with Markit and ISM’s Manufacturing PMI’s this afternoon. This data is followed by June’s Factory Orders tomorrow and further PMI’s, including July’s final Composite index the day after. There are several speakers from the Federal Reserve this week, including Richard Clarida on Wednesday and Christopher Waller the following day.
The Swedish krona finished the month unchanged against most G10 currencies. August is historically speaking a krona positive month, and seasonality (with people coming back from their holiday and schools reopening) plays a part too. This week kicks off with the PMI Manufacturing data, Wednesday with the PMI Services data, and on Friday, the Budget Balance is reported.
In Norway, people are preparing for the General Election in September, and politics may start to influence the krone. August has a mixed track record for the krone, whose value very much depends on the consumption of oil and people traveling. This week sees no major data releases but for the PMI Manufacturing data out today.
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