Brexit Battle Finally Gets Underway

23 June, 2017

European Outlook: Asian stock markets are narrowly mixed in tepid markets, as oil prices stalling below USD 43 per barrel. Fed speakers didn’t challenge the path to further rate hikes and markets are taking a wait and see stance. Mainland Chinese shares are fluctuating after outperforming yesterday, FTSE 100 futures are in the red, while U.S. futures are slightly higher. A very cautious end to a volatile week then, which should leave core bonds underpinned and yields remaining low. BoE’s Forbes may have added more force to her calls for a rate hike in a speech late yesterday saying she sees “some urgency” to tighten monetary policy, but this was her last speech as she is leaving the MPC. The EU summit with May on Brexit talks, saw the British PM making an offer for the rights of EU citizens, but the devil here lies as usual in the details and the future of citizens on both sides is far from secured. The issues were not discussed at the summit and it will be up to the negotiating team to hammer out a final deal. Today’s calendar brings preliminary June PMI readings, which we expect to move sideways at high levels. France has final Q1 GDP and Italy releases orders data for April.

US Reports: 3k U.S. initial claims uptick to 241k in the BLS survey week trimmed the prior 7k drop to 238k (was 237k) from 245k at the start of June and 255k in the final week of May. Claims have undershot the 2016 average of 263k in every week of 2017, and continue to oscillate around tight levels above the 44-year low of 227k in the President’s Day week. Claims are averaging 240k in June, versus a similarly tight 241k May average, and higher prior averages of 243k in April, 251k in March, and 241k in February. Today’s 241k BLS survey week reading was above May’s 233k figure but below prior survey-week readings of 243k in April, 261k in March, and 247k in February. U.S. FHFA home price index rose 0.7% in April to 248.2, after a 0.7% March gain to 246.6. That’s up 6.8% y/y. Seven of the 9 regions surveyed posted gains.

UK: Brexit Battle Finally Gets Underway One year after the Brexit referendum official talks finally got underway. There still isn’t any clarity on how the future relationship between the U.K. and the rest of the EU will look once the U.K. exits the block. But, a year on, both sides are in a very different situation, with the EU going into the discussions strengthened, while the U.K. government is looking increasingly fragile. Central banks on both sides cautiously look on as the direction and outcome of the talks will have major implications for rates going forward.UK hints at transition period for Brexit. Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond yesterday suggested the prospect of a four-year transitional period, adding to signs that he is pushing for a softer Brexit stance. Hammond said in a radio interview that in his view a three to four-year transitional period might be necessary, after the U.K. officially exits the EU in 2019.

Canada: Canada’s retail sales yesterday improved 0.8% m/m in April after a downwardly revised 0.5% gain in March (was +0.7%), leaving a nearly as projected gain. But the ex-autos sales aggregate surged 1.5% m/m in April following a revised 0.1% dip in March (was -0.2%), which was well in excess of projections. Higher prices played a large role in lifting the value of total and ex-autos retail sales. Total retail sales volumes were up a modest 0.3% m/m in April after the 1.1% jump in March. While the ex-autos sale aggregate came in on the firm side of projections, the gain in total sales alongside the more modest rise in sales volumes was roughly as expected.

Main Macro Events Today

Eurozone & German PMI – A slight dip in the Eurozone manufacturing index is anticipated to 56.8 from 57.0, with a dip in the services reading to 56.2 from 56.3. Those would suggest ongoing robust activity but at a slightly slower growth pace. This scenario wouldn’t challenge the ECB’s main assumption of a recovery that is strengthening and broadening, and hence would have limited market impact.  The German manufacturing index is anticipated to 59 from 59.5, with the services reading to 55.5 from 55.4.

CAD CPI – CPI is expected to edge up 0.1% m/m in May after the 0.4% m/m gain in April. Gasoline prices dropped in in May, which drives projection for a slowing in the pace of month comparable CPI growth. The CPI is seen moderating to a 1.4% y/y pace in May from the 1.6% y/y growth rate in April.

US PMI & New Home Sales – A slight increase in the US manufacturing index is anticipated to 53.0 from 52.7, with the services reading to 53.7 from 53.6.  The New Home Sales number is also out today and an increase of 16.8% is anticipated from the -11.4% seen on April.

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