What was all the fuss about?

It'll never happen

Investors spent Monday trying to persuade themselves that none of the recently-mooted unpleasantness - hard Irish borders, Trump trade wars, Italian constitutional implosions - would actually happen. They did a pretty good job of it: the pound strengthened, share prices recovered and the safe-haven currencies backtracked.

There were some initially supportive comments from Europe about the prime minister's speech on Friday, warming the Brexit atmosphere. In Washington high-level Republicans spoke out against their president's efforts to start a trade war by taxing metal imports. In the aftermath of the Italian election no single party had enough parliamentary seats to take the country on an anti-Europe crusade. The hope is that everything will be alright on the night.

Sterling received some help from the UK services sector purchasing managers' index, which was a point and a half higher on the month at 54.5. Although the numbers from Euroland and the States were all better than that, most of them came in below forecast while the UK figure beat it by a point. So the pound strengthened by an average of 0.3%, losing out only to the rand. It added one Swiss cent, half a US cent and a sixth of a euro cent.

Not panicking

The mood of calm allowed the antipodean dollars to keep pace with the pound, though the Canadian dollar was hindered by noises from Washington about rewriting the NAFTA treaty in the United States' favour. Non-UK PMI data might have been theoretically disappointing but were still usefully positive.

Even though the PMI numbers from Europe and the States were mostly lower on the month they all came in above 55, well into the growth zone that starts at 50. Euroland scored a 56.2 and America's ISM reading was 59.5. Softer €Z investor confidence and retail sales were brushed aside.

This morning the Reserve Bank of Australia left its benchmark Cash Rate unchanged at 1.5%, surprising no one. Investors managed to find something positive in the RBA statement, perhaps because they were intent on doing so.

Speech day

There are almost more central bank speeches on today's agenda than there are economic data. The Fed, the Bank of England and the RBA will all be fielding candidates. The ecostat highlight will be fourth quarter Australian growth tonight.

At lunchtime New York Federal Reserve president Bill Dudley will be talking about recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma and Fed governor Lael Brainard will speak tonight about the "economic and monetary policy outlook". The RBA governor Philip Lowe's topic this evening is "the changing nature of investment". Andy Haldane, the BoE's chief economist, will be giving the "Keynote speech at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce Citizens’ Economic Council final launch report"; could be anything.

The data to watch are for NZ milk prices, US factory orders and Canada's Ivey PMI. Tonight's Australian GDP figures are expected to leave Q4 growth unchanged at 0.6%.