USD regains steam

3 minute read


The July 4 holiday meant no action in New York and Europe seemed to have no strong opinion on the USD. It was flattish through the day and overnight. Only as London got going this morning did the USD begin to move, and it headed higher.

Of Wednesday's US ecostats the one that attracted most interest was the ADP Employment Change number. The low print a month ago had proved to be a harbinger of a weak nonfarm payrolls figure. This time, at 102k, the change was not a million miles from the forecast 140k, though it was on the soft side. Today's employment report is forecast to show 160k additions to nonfarm payrolls. A major deviation from that figure - on either side - would be seen to have implications for Fed policy.


Investors seeking justification to sell the EUR this morning needed to look no further than German factory orders for May. A seasonally-adjusted 2.2% monthly decline was wildly adrift from the expected 0.1% fall, and the 8.6% annual drop was much bigger than the -5.7% forecast by analysts. The euro zone data were more benign: France's trade deficit was smaller than expected and the 1.4% annual rise in Spanish industrial output was well ahead of economists' predictions.

The EUR is 0.2% lower on the day after being unchanged on July 4. It is up by 0.2% from a month ago.


The Loonie is doing its best to renew its link with oil prices, which rather fell apart following the OPEC agreement earlier this week. On Thursday WTI crude edged 0.7% lower while the CAD was unchanged against the USD.

Perhaps in solidarity with the States, Canada issued no economic statistics on Thursday. Today it reports on employment. The forecast is for 10k people to have been added to payrolls in June, a mere shadow of the 27.7k new jobs in May. Unemployment is expected to tick up from 5.4% to 5.5%.


Today's sole UK ecostat was the Halifax house price index. Prices fell 0.3% in June, putting the annual increase at 5.7%. Inevitably, the Halifax made the customary reference to why the market might be cooling: "With the ongoing lack of clarity around Brexit, people will be looking for more certainty in the coming months, both to encourage them to list their property and to create the confidence needed to encourage buyers."  

That clarity has not increased in recent days. There is a distinct feeling of Brexit fatigue as investors await the appointment of the next prime minister, whose selection has been outsourced to 160k members of the Conservative party. The GBP is 0.2% lower on the day.


It was not only against the Europeans that the USD moved higher as London got under way. The JPY is 0.2% lower on the day, almost all of the move coming this morning. It looked more as though investors were buying dollars than that they were offloading safe-havens.

Of the Japanese data released overnight, the widely-overlooked leading and coincident indices headed in opposite directions, the coincident index adding a point at 103.2 and the leading indicator softening by three quarter of a point to 95.2. Household spending looked healthy enough: up by 4.0% in May from the same month a year ago.

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