Daily Brief

Daily Brief

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Summer slowdown

Rand bounces

It is not yet the end of May, so a little early in the year for the summer market slowdown. Yet price action this week - or the lack of it - has been at best uninspirational. The rand did fairly well yesterday but only 1% separated it from the last-placed yen.

After a dismal performance on Tuesday the South African rand redeemed itself yesterday by correcting half the loss with a 0.8% bounce. President Ramaphosa's reappointment of Pravin Gordhan as minister of public enterprises and Tito Mboweni as finance minister mollified those who had worried about David Mabuza's confirmation as deputy president. Investors were also pleased to see a more compact cabinet, with fewer "jobs for the boys".

Sweden's krona easily took second place, rising 0.6% - eventually - after data that showed gross domestic product expanding by more than expected in the first quarter.  Quarterly and annual growth of 0.6% and 2.1% were well ahead of the forecast 0.2% and 1.7%. At the back of the field the Japanese yen had swapped ends with the rand. In the absence of obvious macroeconomic factors it looked as though investors were playing the technical game, taking USD/JPY back to the top of its week-long horizontal channel. The yen is down by 0.2% against sterling.

BoC sticks

There was little surprise that the Bank of Canada left its benchmark "target for the overnight rate" at 1.75% for an eighth month. The statement offered no hint at future direction. After a brief dip at the time of the announcement the Loonie is unchanged on the day.

The BoC announcement was the only real chance of excitement on Wednesday. It failed to deliver, as did the fairly short list of relatively humdrum ecostats. German unemployment ticked up to 5.0%. Business confidence improved in Italy while in Switzerland ZEW's measure deteriorated from -7.7 to -14.3. The Richmond Fed's manufacturing index was two points higher at 5.

In Britain the phoney Brexit war - and indeed government in general - has ground to a halt while the Conservative party entertains itself with a leadership election. Investors are still wary of an über-Brexiteer in Downing Street forcing Britain into a no-deal departure from the EU but a chunk of that risk is already priced into the pound. Sterling was steady against the euro and lost a quarter of a US cent.

North American GDP

By this point in any month the juiciest economic data have normally been and gone. So it is as the end of May approaches, but at least there are first quarter gross domestic product figures from the States today and Canada tomorrow. Not a lot beyond that though.

Today' ecostat list also includes Spanish inflation and retail sales as well as US jobless claims, wholesale inventories, pending home sales, personal consumption and the trade deficit. UK consumer confidence comes out at midnight.

Friday starts with Japanese figures for inflation, industrial production and retail sales. Chinese PMIs follow, then Japanese housing starts and consumer confidence. Italy reports on first quarter growth and inflation. The Bank of England reveals the lending and money supply data for April.

GBP: Patiently awaits new prime minister

GBP: Patiently awaits new prime minister

ZAR: Slimmed-down cabinet impresses

ZAR: Slimmed-down cabinet impresses

SEK: Q1 growth bets forecast

SEK: Q1 growth bets forecast

JPY: Technical setback

JPY: Technical setback

CAD: BoC benchmark unchanged

CAD: BoC benchmark unchanged

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