All will be revealed

Going nowhere

The weakest of them all on Wednesday was the Swiss franc, but only by a quarter of a cent against sterling.  The pound and the US dollar both gained and lost half a cent, not necessarily in that order.

Immediately ahead of London's opening the pound moved higher across the board for no obvious reason.  It held onto its gain until just before the ONS published the UK employment data.  On the plus side, the 7.3k increase in jobseeker numbers was less than expected and unemployment remained at 4.6%.  However, the already weak growth in total earnings slowed from a downwardly-revised 2.3% to 2.1%.  Retail prices (RPI) were up by 3.5% over the same period.  Do the math.

The dollar's excursion began with weaker US retail sales and slower inflation.  Sales fell by -0.3% in May and consumer price index inflation was down from 2.2% to -1.9%.  The dollar weakened.  Then the Federal Reserve confirmed that it was raising the funds rate target range by 25 basis points to 1.0%-1.25%.  The dollar strengthened.  Give or take a dozen ticks it is unchanged on the day against - deep breath - the euro, the pound, the Canadian and NZ dollars and the Scandinavian crowns.

Lots of jobs

The Australian dollar prospered as a result of strong employment data while the Kiwi lost ground following figures that showed the NZ economy growing more slowly than expected in the first quarter. 

In many countries quarterly growth of 0.5% would be welcomed with open arms.  For New Zealand, however, it came as a disappointment to investors who had been looking for 0.7% growth.

Seldom do the Australian employment data fail to raise eyebrows.  This time they  showed unemployment falling to a four-year low at 5.5% with the addition of 42k jobs, most of them full time positions.  The Aussie was consequently the day's top performer, strengthening by 0.9% for a weekly gain of 2.4%.

Sales and speeches

The most important ecostats on today's agenda are for UK retail sales.  There are interest rate announcements from the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of England.  This evening the BoE governor and the chancellor of the exchequer will be speaking in London.

UK retail sales have been all over the place recently, rising one month and falling the next.  After doing well in April because of Easter, sales for May are expected to be down by around -0.9%.  No change to Swiss or UK interest rates is expected: it will be interesting to see if Kristin Forbes still voted for a higher rate at her final Monetary Policy Committee meeting. 

At the Mansion House this evening the governor and the chancellor will make their first post-election utterances.  The word on the street is that Philip Hammond will use the occasion to make the case for what he describes as a "pragmatic" Brexit.  He is said to favour a shift of focus from immigration to jobs and growth.