Still counting down

Bloodless coup
Jobvite, a recruiting software firm, asked 1,855 personnel managers whether they check the Facebook and Twitter posts of prospective employees. Astonishingly, 7% of them can't be bothered, allowing the likes of Tony Abbott to slip through the net. The Australian Liberal party rectified that alleged error yesterday.

As the result of yet another parliamentary coup, Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in this morning to replace Mr Abbott, becoming Australia's fifth prime minister in eight years. Investors were not even slightly ruffled by the change of leadership. If anything they were reassured that both antipodean premiers are now ex-investment-bankers: Mr Turnbull was a partner at Goldman Sachs and New Zealand's John Key was head of FX at Merrill Lynch.

The Aussie was sharing top place with the South African rand this morning, both of them having strengthened by 0.5% on the day against sterling. Their gains came despite another losing day on the Shanghai stock exchange. The sensation is that investors, with their eye on Thursday's Federal Reserve decision, are doing their best not to get involved. If so, they made good fist of it: the pound, the US dollar and the Swiss franc were just about unchanged against one another.

BoJ sticks
Contrary to the rumours of fresh stimulus, which were doing the rounds last week, the Bank of Japan made no change to monetary policy this morning. The yen strengthened on the news to take third place behind the Aussie and the rand. 

After one of Prime Minister Abe's economics advisors spoke last week of the need for increased money-printing stimulus, investors wondered if it might materialise today. When it didn't, the Japanese currency enjoyed a relief rally that put it three quarters of a yen ahead on the day.

Monday's few ecostats were unremarkable. Swiss retail sales were just about flat on the day, Italian inflation was steady at 0.2% and Euroland industrial production increased, for the first month in three.

US retail sales
Arguably the most important ecostat today will be the monthly change in US retail sales. For the euro, the figures to watch are German and euro zone investor sentiment. Investors might or might not feel obliged to react to the UK inflation data this morning.

Nobody is expecting UK consumer price index inflation to have been far from zero in August. That is not to say investors won't try to make a fuss about any divergence from that level. It is likely to be the same case with Euroland investor confidence and the data for trade and employment.

They are more likely to get excited about the US retail sales figures. Consumer spending accounts for about two thirds of the US economy. Although a significant part of that expenditure goes on services, rather than shopping, the assumption will be that a strong figure today would support the argument for an early increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve. The dollar could well react, whatever the number.