Now you don't

The jobs don't work

The Independent lists the financial rewards for Olympic gold medal winners by country. Singaporean Joseph Schooling comes out best with S$1m, about US$740k. Americans get $25k which is taxable. Brits get nothing but they're not particularly fussed: even if they were to receive a bonus it would only be in pounds.

And sure enough, the pound was struggling again on Wednesday. It has had worse days: yesterday's average loss was only -0.2% and it actually strengthened by a quarter of a US cent. Even so, it was a bit of a come-down for sterling after its plucky performance on Tuesday.

At least the pound got no hassle from the UK employment data. The figures for June - prior to the Brexit vote - showed average earnings increasing by an annual 2.3% and unemployment steady at 4.9%. Both were in line with forecasts. And the sole July statistic showed 8.6k fewer jobseekers rather than the 400 extra ones that investors had been expecting. Although the data gave no particular boost to the pound they protected it from the opportunistic whack it might otherwise have received.

Doves 9-1 Hawks

The minutes of July's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee contained nothing to stoke expectations of higher interest rates next month. Nine members voted to maintain the status quo with only one, Esther George, preferring an immediate increase. As a result, the US dollar was Wednesday's laggard.

There was no mention of November's presidential election and the UK referendum seemed to engender no great fear among the FOMC but neither was there anyone except Ms George who saw any urgency to increase the Federal Funds Rate. Whilst a September rate hike remains a theoretical possibility, futures pricing ascribes it only a 22% chance.

The dollar lost half a cent to the euro. It was down by an average of -0.4% against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies.

Big data

Already today there have been important ecostats from Japan and Australia. There are more to come from Britain and the euro zone.

The trade figures from Japan were fairly horrid, with July's exports down by -14% from the same month last year and imports down by nearly a quarter. Whatever the Bank of Japan is achieving with its aggressive monetary easing it certainly isn't trade growth. The yen was unaffected by the news but the Aussie dollar was helped by better-than-expected employment data that showed Australian unemployment falling from 5.8% to 5.7%. The Aussie strengthened by a cent, cancelling out the loss it had made earlier in the day.

This mornings' focus will be on UK retail sales and Euroland consumer prices. Given the European Central Bank's ongoing asset purchase commitments, the €Z inflation number should have no impact if it is remotely close to the expected 0.2%. UK retail sales are, however, a live issue because they are susceptible to an immediate Brexit effect. Analysts predict a monthly increase of 0.1% - 0.2%.