That was then
For a decade the National Geographic channel has been running a series about "Megafactories". With so many of them around, and to stand out from the vulgar masses, Tesla is calling it new plant in Nevada a "Gigfactory". Coming soon: the "Terafactory". But not, perhaps, before a Fed rate hike.
"Before" is the operative word there. On Wednesday evening the Federal Reserve policy statement revealed, as expected, that the target range for the federal funds rate will remain between 0.25%-0.5%. The very next sentence noted that "The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative". In Fedspeak that means there is scope to tighten policy by raising the target.
But everyone already knew that and there was nothing in the statement to suggest any haste to make the move. So a rate increase could come on 21 September, 2 November or 14 December… Or not. Investors were not bowled over by the Fed's enthusiasm and they saw no urgency to buy the US dollar. It was the day's weakest performer, losing half a cent to sterling and two thirds of a cent to the euro.
The preliminary figures for UK gross domestic product in the second quarter indicated an expansion of 0.6%, equivalent to annualised growth of 2.4%. They were stronger data than expected but failed to electrify the pound because they were compromised by their prebrexitness.
Whilst it is encouraging that the UK economy was doing really quite well in Q2 the predictive value of the numbers is all but destroyed by the fact that Britain voted at the end of the period to leave the EU. What comes next will be different from what went before. According to most analysts, and going by the few post-Brexit ecostats that have appeared so far, Q3 will not look so bright.
Investors saw no reason to buy sterling on the back of the GDP data and the CBI Distributive Trades Survey, published 90 minutes later, contained nothing to change their minds. At -14 it represented the biggest monthly fall in over four years. On average sterling was roughly flat on the day, gaining ground only against the US dollar. It was unchanged against the yen and down by a third of a euro cent.
Ahead of London's opening Nationwide's house price index was 0.5% higher on the month and up by 5.2% on the year. Tonight Gfk releases its consumer confidence reading for July. There are no other UK data on the agenda.
There is not much meat on any of today's other ecostats either. German unemployment and inflation are only of vague interest and nobody cares much about the €Z confidence measures. US jobless claims and trade deficit come out after lunch.
The big stuff happens tonight in Japan. First come the inflation, production and retail sales data. Shortly afterwards the Bank of Japan will announce what, if any, monetary measures it will introduce to stimulate inflation and the economy.