Warming up

TPP tiff

With few worthwhile economic data to amuse them, investors had to cast around for something to chase. They apparently found it in the Trans-Pacific [trade] Partnership, which is struggling to maintain traction in certain quarters. The commodity dollars all lost ground, as did the South African rand.

Reports emerged at the weekend that the Green party in New Zealand intends to vote against Labour, its coalition partner, when the TPP legislation goes to the House. It might not even get that far if Canada does not show up for talks with the other 10 putative participants in the agreement. According to New Zealand's prime minister the deal is still alive, though a handful of issues have still to be resolved.

The NZ dollar got the rough end of the stick, losing a cent and a half to sterling and two thirds of a US cent. Australia's dollar was down by half a cent and Canada's by a little more than that. The rand suffered collateral damage even though South Africa is not involved in the TPP.

Confident Aussies

Of the few ecostats that have appeared so far this week, NAB's two measures of Australian business attitudes were sufficiently positive to reverse some of the Aussie dollar's losses overnight. Its net -0.3% decline was the smallest among its peer group.

NAB's business conditions, which looks at how things are going right now, was seven points higher at 21 while business confidence - where things are going in the short term - was unchanged from an upwardly-revised 8.

The numbers served to blunt some weak numbers that emerged a couple of hours later from China. Retail sales rose by "only" 10.0% in the year to October, a figure that would be considered punchy almost anywhere else in the world but was lower than the forecast 10.3% increase. It was a similar story with the 6.2% rise in industrial production and the 7.3% increase in urban (infrastructural) investment.

UK inflation

The ecostat pace warms up somewhat today. UK inflation and third quarter gross domestic product in the euro zone are the most notable data on the list. There will also be speaking appearances by central bankers from Washington, Frankfurt, London and Tokyo.

Consumer price index data from Germany, already out, showed inflation steady at 1.6% and a similar figure is expected from Spain. The revision to Euroland third quarter GDP is forecast to leave growth unchanged at 0.6%. Other Euroland data cover industrial production and investor confidence. Retail prices in Britain are expected to have risen by either 3.1% (CPI) or 4.1% (RPI) in the year to October. 

At such levels the Bank of England governor will have to explain to the chancellor why inflation is more than a percentage point above its 2% target rate and what he intends to do about it. He could well touch on the matter when he shares a platform in Frankfurt with Janet Yellen, Mario Draghi and Haruhiko Kuroda.