It's all happening

Yuan devalued
The authorities at Facebook, a social network, have decreed that it is no longer acceptable to use the acronym "LOL" to signify amusement. The reason?  So many old people use it that it's no longer cool.  Unlike investors' appetite for the Australian dollar this morning.

There is a distinct whiff of hero-to-zero following the devaluation of the Chinese yuan earlier today.  Having ended last week as a bit of a wreck sterling has moved to the head of the pack, accompanied by the Northern Scandinavian crowns and the Canadian dollar. Out at the back of the field are the South African rand and the antipodean dollars, the Aussie bringing up the rear.

The People's Bank of China surprised financial markets by announcing a "one-off" 1.9% devaluation if its currency against the US dollar and a new method of managing its value. Instead of being set by the PBOC, the daily anchor for the renminbi's permitted 2% range will in future be determined by the previous day's closing price. With slower growth in China it will mean further downward pressure on Chinese import prices and therefore on commodity-producers' export prices. 

Still September?
Two Federal Reserve leaders spoke yesterday. Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart failed to reiterate his hint that US interest rates will begin to move higher next month and vice-chairman Stanley Fischer was lukewarm about a September increase. The US dollar fell by three quarters of a cent against sterling.

Mr Lockhart did say an upward move was "close" but made no specific mention of September. Mr Fischer pointed out that inflation is still low and "not everything is rosy and the Fed still has a lot of data to parse over the next five weeks before the next Fed meeting." Investors had been hoping the two men would present a united front, guiding investors towards a rate increase next month. There was disappointment when that didn't happen, which was reflected in the dollar's retreat.

The US interest rate outlook was the only game in town during Monday's session. A handful of data included slowing Norwegian inflation, flat Euroland investor confidence and falling Greek industrial production.

Euro higher on bailout news
At the time of writing it was reported that Greece had come to an agreement with its creditors and that a new bailout would happen. The euro strengthened on the news.

The deal will provide Greece with the wherewithal to make a €3.3bn repayment to the European Central Bank on the 20th of this month and should make future such payments achievable too. Inevitably there are doubts about the longer-term viability of Greece if it receives no help with its existing debt but investors are still more comfortable about the euro with a deal in place than they were in the absence of one.

Today's ecostat agenda lists Italian inflation, German business confidence and very little else. That will allow investors plenty of time to ponder the Fed, China and Euroland.