Pausing to Reflect

June 17, 2016

After the tragic events in the UK yesterday, there was a dramatic change in tone in the political environment with one week to go before the EU referendum. This was also reflected in markets, with campaigning on both sides having been suspended for the coming days. It’s a pause for reflection on what was a relentless push towards shedding risk in markets over the past week. For now, this has resulted in a sharp reversal in sterling, less so in other risk correlated assets such as the yen and Swiss franc. We’ll have to wait until Monday for the sand to settle enough to gauge the lasting change in sentiment towards the referendum.

Japan’s Finance Minister Aso upped the rhetoric on the yen overnight, pointing out “We have to monitor moves with a sense of urgency so that speculative moves won’t continue”. More pointedly, he continued “when needed, I’d like to take firm action in line with G7 and G20 agreements”. I talked yesterday about the increased helplessness of central bank and it also appears true of finance ministers, with the yen only marginally weaker on the back of his comments. US inflation data is seen later today, but the reversal in tone is likely to remain in place and investors are more likely ease into the end of the week before next week takes hold.

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