Asian stock markets are mostly higher

August 9, 2016

FX News Today

European Outlook: Asian stock markets are mostly higher, led by another rise in Japan (+0.69%), where volumes were low, and hopes of BoJ support and the bounce back in oil prices underpinned markets. U.S. and U.K. stock futures are also trending higher and the front end WTI future is above highs, but remains above USD 42 per barrel. Released overnight, U.K. BRC retail sales came in much stronger than expected (see more below). This should continue to underpin risk appetite, together with hope of further central bank action not just from the BoE, but also the ECB, which has been put under pressure by the BoE’s bold action. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese bond yields are all at record lows as the ECB heads for a policy review in September. Today’s European calendar still has German trade data as well as U.K. production data for June.

BOE  McCafferty: “Bank rate can be cut further, closer to zero, and quantitative easing can be stepped up” should the UK economic outlook worsen. He believes a more gradual approach should be taken towards monetary policy as information of how the economy has reacted to the June 23 referendum is still very limited. McCafferty has previously opposed raising the target for quantitative easing government bond purchases. Cable broke the key psychological level of 1.3000 on the release of his comments.

Data Reports: Chinese inflation fell to 1.8% from 1.9% last time but better than the expected 1.7%, PPI figures were also a beat coming in at -1.7% from -2.6% last time.

UK July BRC retail sales unexpectedly rose 1.1% y/y in the like-for-like measure, with consumers wallets sharply contrasting to what consumers mouths were saying after the GfK consumer confidence figure for the same month fell by a series record in the wake of the late-June referendum on EU membership. The BRC noted that nothing materially changed for households in the month after the Brexit vote, while summer sales helped entice consumers to spend after a weather-affected 0.5% drop in sales in June. The BRC cautioned that “the big question for retailers is whether that success can be carried forward into full price sales.”

Germany posted a trade surplus of EUR 21.6 bln in June, down from EUR 22.1 bln in the previous month, as exports rose a modest 0.3% m/m after falling -1.1% m/m in May, while imports rose 1.1% m/m. June data meant the sa trade surplus widened to EUR 67.8 bln the second quarter of the year from EUR 61.9 bln in the first quarter. This is nominal data of course, which also reflects exchange rate and oil price developments, but nevertheless, the numbers point to a positive contribution from net exports to overall growth in the second quarter, which should help to compensate for the disappointing production drop.

Main Macro Events Today        

US Productivity – The first release on Q2 productivity is out today and should reveal a 0.6% annualized pace for the headline after a -0.6% figure in Q1. Unit labour costs are expected to be 1.4%  from 4.5% in Q1. The first release on Q2 GDP revealed a subdued headline of 1.2% but this was still stronger than the 0.8% pace in Q1.

US Wholesale Trade – June wholesale trade data is also out today and should show a 0.8% increase for headline sales while inventories remain unchanged on the month. This would follow respective May figures of 0.5% for sales and unchanged for inventories. Data in line with this forecast would leave the I/S ratio ticking down to 1.34 from 1.35 in May and 1.36 in the three months prior to that.

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