What is a trend? There are countless ways to answer that question, but I’ve always been partial to perhaps the simplest definition: an uptrend is when an asset moves from the lower left to the upper right corner of the chart, and a downtrend is when it moves from the upper left to the lower right corner.
Asian stocks were under renewed selling pressure this morning as global trade concerns and chaos across emerging markets weighed on risk appetite. Global trade developments have certainly placed investors on an emotional roller-coaster ride this week with the initial optimism over NAFTA talks outweighed by U.S.-China concerns. Market sentiment is likely to remain cautious, especially after President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organisation.
The U.S. dollar is lower against most major pairs on Friday. The greenback was waiting for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Powell’s speech at the central bank summit in Jackson Hole but in the end no new information was provided. Chair Powell reiterated the data dependency of the central bank and shared his optimism regarding inflation. The market is already pricing in two US rate hikes in 2018 and the somewhat dovish remarks from Powell did not add support to the U.S. dollar.
With price pressures still running at a subdued level throughout the developed world, hotter-than-expected inflation readings have been hard to come by of late. Perhaps today’s Canadian inflation data marks a turning point for that trend.
The price action so far today is emblematic of a textbook “risk off” day: stocks are falling across the globe, oil is trading off by nearly 3%, bond yields are generally retreating, and the yen is the strongest performing major currency (though we would note that gold bugs still can’t seem to catch a break!).
Technically speaking, the dollar index formed a clear “ascending triangle” pattern through May, June and July. The bullish breakout from that pattern, in-line with the recent uptrend, suggests that rates may have further to rally in the days and weeks to come.
Pound bulls hoping to see a big beat on the July inflation numbers were left disappointed, as the data merely met expectations. Although off its lows, sterling remained under pressure after breaking the $1.27 handle overnight following yesterday’s news of weaker-than-expected growth in wages, and amid ongoing concerns over a no-deal Brexit outcome.