Inflammatory rhetoric

Yah boo sucks

There was alarm overnight when Donald Trump upped the ante in his war of words with Kim Jong Un. Taking a leaf out of the North Korean leader's own book of combustion-related hyperbole the US president threatened him with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". From anyone else it would have been assumed to be an ironic response to Mr Kim's threat, two days earlier, to make the United States "an unimaginable sea of fire". From anyone else.

Investors are doing their best to dismiss it all as bluster and posturing but the "fire and fury" bit hit a nerve: a similar phrase was used in 1945 by Harry Truman before he bombed Hiroshima. Mr Trump's comment sent investors scuttling for the safety of the Japanese yen and Swiss franc, both of which are more than 1% firmer on the day. The US dollar is up by about half that, two thirds of a cent, and the euro is unchanged against sterling.

The great survivor

South African president Jacob Zuma survived a parliamentary motion of no confidence yesterday by 198 votes to 177. It was the closest he has come to defeat in half-dozen or so no-confidence votes but a win is a win and Mr Zuma will soldier on. Investors were less than delighted.

The rand was marked down after the vote, falling by a net -0.8% on the day. Investors had hoped the secret ballot might lead to the replacement of Mr Zuma by somebody more in tune with the country's economic needs.

M/s Zuma and Trump aside, investors had little to occupy their thoughts on Tuesday.  They did their best to get excited about an increase in the number of US job vacancies, rewarding the dollar with a three-quarter-cent gain against the euro, because there was nothing else to look at.

RBNZ rate decision

Today's ecostat and event agenda is slightly more interesting than Tuesday's, but only slightly. Data released overnight showed Australian mortgage lending rising as consumer confidence fell. Chinese inflation came in at 1.4%, a tick lower on the month. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand monetary policy statement appears tonight.

Ahead of the last RBNZ statement there was excitement that it might have a hawkish tilt. It didn't, and the bank subsequently showed no inclination towards higher interest rates. Since then the Kiwi has gone into reverse and the expectation today is that the RBNZ statement will have a dovish slant. That being the case, unless the statement talks of low rates for ever the NZ dollar could get a lift.

There are no UK data on today's list and few from anywhere else.