Hear what you want to hear
Trading standards inspectors analysed cheese-and-ham pizzas from 15 takeaways across Derbyshire and found most of them contained neither cheese nor ham. Consumers seem not to mind: they're still buying the pizzas. And investors were just as happy to swallow what were advertised as "dovish" comments from the ECB president yesterday.
At his press conference on Thursday European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi marked down the bank's projections for inflation and growth in the euro zone, as had widely been expected. He also noted the ECB's readiness to extend, if necessary, the "size, composition and duration" of its €60bn-a-month money-printing quantitative easing programme. Neither the inflation and growth forecasts nor the possibility of a QE extension can have come as a surprise.
But just as Derbyshire men do not distinguish between turkey and ham, investors drew no distinction between a reiteration of existing policy and the threat of new monetary easing. They heard what they wanted to hear. So they sold the euro, marking it down by a cent against the US dollar and the pound. On the day it is a net two thirds of a cent lower against sterling and has weakened by one and a third US cents.
Services sector growth
The purchasing managers index readings from around the world showed continued expansion in the services sector, although not all were higher on the month and some failed to match up to analysts' predictions. Spain delivered the strongest figure at 59.6, in line with expectations.
America's 59.0 was not far behind and Britain's 55.6 took third place. The UK reading was a point lower than forecast and looked for a few minutes as though it might upset sterling but the pound quickly recovered. It faded overnight though. Even with the Shanghai stock market closed for a second day there was downward pressure on Far East share prices, prompting another move into safe-haven currencies.
The yen was the biggest beneficiary, strengthening by 1.4% on the day. At the back of the field the South African rand was down by -1.7%. Sterling weakened by an average of -0.2%, equivalent to quarter of a US cent.
Payrolls critical to US dollar
The statistical highlight of the day, week and month is this afternoon's figure for the monthly change in US nonfarm payrolls. Canada's employment data will be released at the same time. Ahead of that there are a couple of European ecostats.
Germany set the ball rolling with a larger-than-expected -1.4% fall in factory orders. Swiss inflation will almost certainly remain negative. Sweden reports on industrial production and manufacturing orders.
US nonfarm payrolls are expected to have risen by around 218k in August, slightly more than the average 212k monthly increase in the year to date. Investors are attaching more than the usual importance to today's figure because they believe it will be influential in the Federal Open Market Committee's interest rate decision in a fortnight's time. Have a good weekend.