FX market outlook

FX market outlook

Posted on Monday, August 14 2017 at 8:20 am GMT+0000
Forex markets’ reaction muted on economic data, dollar on rise

Forex markets have had a muted reaction to the released economic data during the Asian session. The yen weakened against the greenback despite an upbeat string of figures out of Japan and still ongoing tensions between the US and North Korea. The aussie softened only modestly against its US counterpart even though Chinese data were disappointing.

Japan’s economy annually grew 4% in the second quarter, preliminary data released today showed. This is the fastest pace of expansion since the first quarter of 2015 and it was much better than the expected rate of 2.5% and a pick up from the upwardly revised figure for the quarter to March-end of 1.5%. The economy expanded 1%, q/q as private consumption picked up. This was also better than the expected 0.5% and above the upwardly revised figure for the prior quarter of 0.4%. Despite such an upbeat set of data out of Japan, the yen weakened against the dollar for the pair to last trade at 109.56.

Yen’s appeal as a safe haven asset in times of uncertainty such as the tensions between the US and North Korea pushed the currency up against the dollar during last week. As there are no signs of the tensions going away any time soon, yen’s weakness seems muted to these events. In addition, the greenback recovered during today’s session after it tumbled to 108.72 yen hit on Friday, its lowest since April 19, due to the disappointing inflation figures.

The aussie, which is considered a good proxy for the outlook on China’s economy, pulled back after the latest industrial production figures out of China today, though only modestly. At 6.4% annual expansion, the production tempered in July, coming in below the 7.2% expected level and 7.6% recorded in the prior month. Retail sales in China in July also rose less than expected. Aussie/dollar fell to 0.7885 ahead of the European session, though the pair held above Friday’s low of 0.7839, which was its lowest since July 18.

The euro gained against the dollar to trade at $1.1834 ahead of European trading. Other than industrial production figures for the eurozone for July, no other significant economic data is expected today. Sterling also gained against the dollar with pound/dollar last trading at 1.3016.

Gold weakened during the Asian session, erasing Friday’s gains. The precious metal was trading at $1,268.60 an ounce ahead of the European session.

Oil prices fell linked to cooling refining activity in China and concerns that US shale output is on the rise. WTI was last trading at $48.68 a barrel while Brent was at $51.90.