Friday’s “risk-on” rally, triggered in part by those strong US employment figures, followed through on Monday as Asian shares and U.S. index futures rose. Although Europe was also higher at the open, some of the major indices such as the German DAX gave up their earlier gains as investors considered the impact of U.S. import tariffs on metals and how this may impact European companies and their profits.
After imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on its closest allies, the U.S. will be facing enormous criticism at the G7 summit on Friday in Quebec or, as the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire likes to call it, “G6 plus one.”
The U.S. dollar is higher against major pairs on Friday after a strong US jobs report was published. The U.S. nonfarm payrolls (NFP) report showed the economy added 223k jobs last month driving the unemployment rate to a 18-year low of 3.8 percent. Wage growth surprised to the upside with a 0.3% gain that validates the comments from U.S. Federal Reserve members about the need for more rate hikes this year.
This has certainly been a rollercoaster trading week for financial markets thanks to geopolitical uncertainty and renewed trade war fears. Easing political tensions in Italy have rekindled risk appetite, ultimately resulting in global equity markets venturing higher.
Gold has managed to hold onto a significant chunk of its gains made yesterday despite the U.S. trading conciliatory messages with North Korea again, something which has boosted the global stock markets and the U.S. dollar. This comes after Donald Trump yesterday canceled the June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un, which triggered a risk-off response in the markets.
Yesterday’s FOMC Minutes brought exactly the lightbulb moment we not only expected but discussed at length since their meeting earlier this month. The only problem, how poor Eurozone growth and sentiment data has been. Even though the Federal Reserve has telegraphed that they are willing to let inflation run past their 2% target without forcing a faster pace of rate hikes, the dollar remains elevated.
When you pair two weak currencies against each other, what do you get? A sideways chop. That’s exactly what has happened to the Euro/British pound (EUR/GBP) currency pair for the past several months as data from both the Eurozone and the UK have been far from impressive. So far in the first half of 2018, macroeconomic pointers from the Eurozone have been poor with German data being particularly disappointing.
Data from Europe this morning fell short of expectations, but the real catalyst was the Dollar’s mission. First, German GDP, ZEW Sentiment and Eurozone Industrial Production all missed. U.S. Retail Sales missed expectations as well, although last month’s read was revised better.