Counterintuitive commodity currencies
At FIFA's press conference a comedian threw a sheaf of fake US dollars at the organisation's president. Hilarious footage of the event shows Sepp Blatter grasping for the money, believing it to be real. There was less hilarity among investors as they clutched at Monday's few straws of economic data.
With Greece and the euro on the back burner for the moment, investors are having to look elsewhere for their inspiration. Yesterday they tried to find it in commodities. Early in the Far East, as previously noted, gold fell sharply. It later transpired that 57 tons of the stuff had been unloaded in two simultaneous trades. It wasn't just gold under pressure either. The Bloomberg commodity index (BCOM), which lumps together the prices of 22 commodities from aluminium to wheat, touched its lowest level since June 2002.
That being the case, it would have been reasonable for the currencies of commodity-exporters to come under pressure; the Canadian, Australian and NZ dollars, the Norwegian krone and the South African rand, for example. In fact, of those, only the krone had a losing day, falling by 0.5% as oil retreated to a three-month low. The Loonie was steady against sterling; the Aussie and the rand added 0.2% and the Kiwi scored the biggest gain for a second successive day.
It investors couldn't bring themselves to sell the commodity currencies on a 12-year low for commodity prices, there was no way they were going to get excited about the big four; the US dollar, the euro, the yen and sterling. All covered a range of less than one US cent.
Of the four it was the dollar which grabbed the win, strengthening by a third of a cent against sterling. The euro, the yen and the pound were just about unchanged against one another and the Swiss franc was steady too.
Monday's eco stats passed by without notice but the Reserve Bank of Australia attracted attention with the minutes of its monetary policy meeting. The minutes implied that strong employment conditions would discourage any further interest rate cut. The news was positive for the Aussie.
Another slow one in prospect
Today's agenda promises to be no more enlightening than Monday's. During the London session the only possible source of inspiration is the UK public sector borrowing figure at half past nine.
This morning Switzerland will publish its balance of trade for June and Portugal will report on trade and inflation. There are no eco stats of any consequence from North America.
Of greater importance will be tonight's Australian inflation data and a subsequent speech by RBA governor Glenn Stevens. Coming hard on the heels of this morning's minutes a high print for inflation would imply a further tilt away from rate cuts by the central bank. Mr Stevens, however, might have something to say on the matter. He is not known for hiding lights under bushels and could well repeat his mantra about the overvalued Aussie.