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.
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.
The sentiment was already positive before the release of the US jobs report as Italian bond yields were lower for the third day due to diminished political concerns following the formation of a coalition government there. When the U.S. jobs report was published, this triggered a fresh rally in risk-sensitive assets as investors were relieved to learn the jobs market remained healthy after two months of poor showing.
While the focus of the wider market will undoubtedly remain largely on Italy and the ongoing volatility in the bond and stock markets, some forex traders’ focus will momentarily turn away from politics and back to economic fundamentals today. That’s because we have key data coming from the United States later on today while the Bank of Canada is also scheduled to make a rate announcement.
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.
Most policymakers were optimistic over the economic outlook, and felt it would “soon be appropriate” to raise interest rates if the U.S. outlook remains intact. However, the lack of clarity offered on rate hike timings beyond June simply left most investors empty-handed.
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.
As any Economics 101 student learns, the Federal Reserve is responsible for U.S. monetary policy, including setting the level of interest rates, and more recently, managing the central bank’s vast assets acquired through repeated iterations of Quantitative Easing.
Matters just continue to go from bad to worse for the Turkish Lira. The currency is in complete freefall and the outlook is still that there is an increased risk of further losses ahead. This is despite the Lira being crippled by meeting new historic lows on a near-daily basis as of late, a consequence of investors having an extreme lack of confidence in Turkish assets.
The pound has started the new week how it ended the last one: lower. It fell below the $1.34 handle for the first time since December earlier this morning before bouncing back slightly ahead of Brexit talks and publication of UK inflation data later in the week.