FX market outlookPosted on Wednesday, November 15 2017 at 9:46 am GMT+0000
Dollar struggles ahead of inflation figures; aussie takes a knock after wage data
On Wednesday, the dollar performed poorly relative to its major counterparts in Asia, failing to recover on the back of a stronger euro and on continued concerns on the future of the US tax overhaul. Its Australian peer, however, was the worst performer during the session, as wage growth readings out of the country missed expectations.
The dollar index, which gauges the dollar’s strength against six major currencies hovered around a three-week low of 93.56 (-0.25%) after stronger-than-expected GDP growth readings released out of Germany on Tuesday pushed the euro higher. Investors will now turn attention to CPI figures and retail sales due later today which could affect the Fed’s rate decisions in the coming year. Consumer prices in October are anticipated to slow down by 0.2 percentage points to 2.0% y/y, while retail sales are forecasted to weaken by 1.5 percentage points to 0.1% m/m.
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives is said to vote on their tax reform bill as soon as Thursday, while the Senate is also debating its version of the bill this week, with the Chamber desiring to approve the tax code after Thanksgiving. In other news, Senate Republicans decided to accomplish two policy mandates in a single piece of legislation, by embodying a key repealing component of Obamacare into their tax-cut plan.
Elsewhere, Japanese data on GDP growth, showed that the Japanese economy expanded for the seventh consecutive quarter (its longest expansion since 2001), growing by 1.4% y/y in the third quarter, slightly above the 1.3% forecasted but almost half the previous mark of 2.6% (upwardly revised from 2.5%). On a quarterly basis, the Japanese GDP rose in line with expectations by 0.3%, with a recovery in exports and business confidence offsetting the decline in consumption.
Dollar/yen was last trading at 112.97, 0.41% down on the day. However, the pair reacted little in the wake of the Japanese figures. Euro/dollar gained 0.11%, climbing to a fresh three-week high at 1.1816, as markets’ optimism on eurozone’s economy underpinned the currency.
In the UK, the debate of the Brexit bill which aims to determine the UK’s strategy after it leaves the EU and therefore give some relief to business decision-makers is ongoing, with the European leaders, according to sources familiar with Brexit developments, signalling potential summits earlier next year and hence giving a second chance to the UK, as they see Brexit talks before December’s summit failing.
Pound/dollar was mainly flat around 1.3169 ahead of UK labour data due to be released during the European trading hours.
The aussie tumbled by 0.63% during the session to a 4-month low of $0.7575 as Australian wages disappointed hopes for an improving labour market, hinting at downside risk to consumer spending and inflation. The numbers revealed that Australian wages increased steadily by 0.5% q/q, while projections were for a rise from 0.5% to 0.7%. The annual measure, though, inched up by 0.1 percentage points to 2.0% but fell short of expectations of 2.2% growth.
Turning to commodities, gold went up by 0.20% to $1,283.50 per ounce, whereas energy prices followed a downtrend after the API weekly report showed on late Tuesday an unexpected increase of 6.513 million barrels in US crude inventories (week ending November 10). Moreover, the IEA cut its oil demand growth forecast for 2017 and 2018, pressuring oil prices even further. WTI crude lost 0.95%, slipping to $55.17 per barrel and Brent fell by 0.92% to $61.63.