As you were

Full astern

Another red herring slipped through the net on Monday evening when, at short notice, Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Fed-watchers though she might have changed her stance on monetary policy, from dove to hawk. She hadn't, so the dollar suffered a setback.

Ms Brainard positively oozed dovishness, asserting that "today's new normal counsels prudence in the removal of policy accommodation" and "the case to tighten policy pre-emptively is less compelling". In other words "hang on chaps, a rate increase now is unnecessary and might mess things up". So investors who had been expecting the unexpected quickly readjusted their US rate outlook and the probability of an increase next week dropped back to one in five.

The US dollar was not the worst performer on Monday but it was only a couple of ticks ahead of the euro, which was. Several of Friday's other moves were reversed too, with the South African rand rising to the top of the barrel. Sterling came out of it quite well, strengthening by an average of 0.2% - a third of an NZ cent - against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies. It added three quarters of a cent each against the US dollar and the euro and, for a second day, was unchanged against the yen.

Upbeat RBA

Other than David Cameron's announcement of his retirement from parliament there were no other surprises on Monday. The day's few ecostats came and went, causing nary a ripple.

Data released overnight were mostly better than forecast. Chinese retail sales rose by 10.6% in the year to August and industrial production was up by 6.3%. NAB's monthly survey revealed a slight improvement in Australian business confidence. 

The Reserve Bank of Australia's assistant governor Chris Kent was upbeat too when he spoke in Sydney. Although his speech was entitled "After the Boom", Mr Kent claimed that "more than three quarters of the anticipated decline in mining investment is now behind us" and he said "there is a reasonable prospect of sustaining growth in economic activity". Following (though not necessarily because of) his speech the Aussie moved higher against the US dollar but it was a net two thirds of a cent lower on the day against sterling.

Super Mario

Today' main topic is inflation. There are CPI figures from Germany, Spain, Sweden and Britain. ZEW's indices of German and Euroland investors sentiment will be of interest to the euro, as will ECB president Mario Draghi when he collects an award in Italy.

Analysts expect UK consumer prices to have risen by 0.4% in August, bringing the rate of inflation up to 0.7%. The core index, which ignores volatiles such as food and energy, is supposed to come in at 1.4%.

Sig. Draghi will collect the Premio Alcide De Gasperi, which is awarded annually to the "builders of Europe". Previous winners include Helmut Kohl and Vaclav Havel. He might well touch on ECB policy.