Busy going nowhere

Lacking spark

Even before the off, Monday had all the makings of a quiet one. The ecostat agenda was uninspiring and the only obvious potential upset was the appearance of one of Donald Trump's family before Congress's Senate Intelligence Committee. And that turned out to be a damp squib.

The provisional purchasing managers' index readings told a story slightly different from the one that has been doing the rounds in the last couple of months: the figures from Europe fell short of forecast while those from the United States were better than expected. That said, all of them were comfortably above the line at 50 which separates growth from contraction and the net result from Euroland at 55.8 was still better than the 54.2 delivered by the States.

Not that the numbers made any difference to the value of the dollar against the euro. It was unchanged on the day, as were several other major currency exchange rates. Leaving aside the Northern Scandinavian crowns, which were up by a third of a percent, and the South African rand, which was down by the same proportion, sterling was just about unchanged against the US, Canadian, Australian and NZ dollars, the euro, the franc and the yen. 

The rehabilitation of Greece

After years of financial stress the Athens government is preparing to have another go at borrowing money through the bond market. It has appointed six international banks to manage an issue of five-year bonds; their price is due to be revealed today. The news is of at least potential help to the euro. 

The Greek bonds will have short maturities and there will not be many of them. It will be more a matter of testing the market than of refinancing the national debt. Also, the bonds will not have a sufficiently high credit rating to be eligible for purchase by the European Central Bank. Even so, if the issue goes well it should further reduce nervousness about the viability of Greece and that could only be positive for the single currency.

Nervousness about the Trump administration's ability to execute its legislative agenda was unaffected yesterday by a statement read out by Jared Kushner after his meeting with the congressional committee. The next scheduled political test for the dollar will come when the Senate Republicans try for a fourth time to pass a Trumpcare health bill to replace Obamacare.

Warming up slowly

There are some important ecostats and events coming up this week. Honestly. But none are due during today's London session. The sole UK statistic is the CBI's Industrial Trends Survey of manufacturers' order books.

German business confidence and South African unemployment are the most interesting figures this morning and the Case-Shiller index of US house prices comes out after lunch. 

Things get more interesting tonight, with balance of trade data from New Zealand and the inflation figures from Australia. Those inflation numbers are important in the light of recent confusion about RBA intentions.