As we noted yesterday ahead of today’s NFP release, “[There have been] no signs that a pickup in price pressures is imminent, [and therefore] the Federal Reserve is content to stick with its gradual, every-other-meeting rate hike schedule…”. Today’s U.S. jobs report will do little to blow the Fed off course.
Trade concerns between the world’s largest two economies returned to haunt markets on Thursday after President Trump ordered his administration to consider more than doubling previously proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The new proposed tariffs of 25% dragged Asian equities heavily during morning trade, sending the Hang Seng Index to its lowest level since September 2017.
As anyone who was paying a modicum of attention could easily tell you, the Federal Reserve was never going to make any changes to monetary policy at today’s meeting. Instead, traders were tuning in to see any changes to the central bank’s statement and extrapolate what that may mean for interest rates moving forward.
The dollar’s choppiness has been a dominant theme for several weeks now, but as we come to the business end of this week, it could finally make a more decisive move in one or the other direction. The indecisiveness is a reflection of a tired bullish trend: market participants have been piling in on the greenback for several months amid an improving macro picture in the United States and speculation over further rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
Contradicting reports surrounding the state of the U.S.-China trade relations are likely to create a sense of confusion across all markets, while also possibly desensitizing investors towards global trade developments.
A busy week gets underway and amidst trade tensions, earnings, geopolitics and the July jobs report, the Federal Reserve is still the biggest voice in the room; U.S. and China trade heats up again this week with the White House expected to impose the second wave, $16 billion on Chinese goods, on Wednesday.
In reaction to today’s U.S. GDP release, the U.S. dollar eased back slightly after it had staged a bounce the day before. As my colleague Matt Weller reported earlier, the first estimate of second-quarter growth for the world’s largest economy came in at 4.1% annualized, the highest rate since 2014.
The U.S. dollar fell against major pairs on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that China and the European Union manipulate their currencies. Trade war escalation has reached the second phase at a time when American politics are having an identity crisis with the ongoing Russian interference during the 2016 elections. Steven Mnuchin will head to Buenos Aires to take part in the finance ministers G20 meeting with trade and monetary policies sure to be a topic of discussion.
It’s looking like being a quiet end to the trading week, with the only notable economic releases coming from Canada and it being one of the less eventful days of earnings season. The Canadian inflation figures will be one interesting takeaway today, after a year in which the central bank has been actively raising interest rates, most recently this month taking the number of hikes to four.
Asian equities followed Wall Street higher on Thursday, as investors cheered strong quarterly results from corporate America that have taken away the focus from trade jitters, for now at least. Out of the 55 companies that announced results, 87% managed to beat earnings estimates while only 7% missed the mark. With EPS growth exceeding 22% we are obviously heading towards the best earning season in eight years.