In the UK as the 2 remaining Conservative party candidates intensified their campaigns for Prime Minister there was little in the way of significant developments. Boris Johnson remains clearly in pole position for the top spot with Jeremy Hunt trailing in the polls to Boris’s near 75% majority.
Recent polls from across the globe outline polls cannot always be wholly reliable but when tipped so far in a candidates favor at this time Boris seems firmly in the driving seat as Conservative party members start to vote this week.
Last week saw UK monetary policy in the spotlight. The UK Monetary Policy Committee led by Mark Carney whose hands have been firmly tied by the Brexit impasse leaving him to touch monetary policy until a resolution had been sought.
Until his public statement last week, he had always signaled that if we see a “positive” (no hard Brexit) the UK would be hiking rates such was the developing strength of the UK economy, with a no deal Brexit almost certainly bringing an immediate rate cut to stem the flow and support the UK economy.
In a sharp turnaround, at a public address last week Carney finally considered the pressures of global trade tensions, signaling he would be in no hurry to hike rates, bringing a softer, more dovish tone to the Bank of England’s rate outlook.
This less optimistic outlook and softer PMI data brought the pound under pressure on the week with the EUR/GBP rate touching 0.9000 and GBP/USD breaking the 1.2500 level and 10-year Gilts yield falling to 0.68%. Key GDP data out of the UK will really show the health of a Brexit entrenched UK economy.
In the US, President Donald Trump again devoted time to criticizing the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee head Jerome Powell. Trump believes the Fed were too fast to hike interest rates thus damaging the competitiveness of the US Dollar. It is incredibly unusual to see a national leader condemn the actions of a Monetary Policy Committee in this way, but in typically Trump fashion, it appears he is attempting to coerce the Fed into corrective cuts in the coming months and in order to tip the balance in favor of his desires he has just recruited two new voters onto the 12 member board, naturally he ensured they are like minded with himself on rates with Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller both know for their dovish stance on rates.
Looking at the rate curves and polls, the market had been pricing in an interest rate cut from the Fed in July granting Trumps wishes, but last weeks delivery of key employment data should strong resilience in that sector with the headline Non-farm Payroll data beating market expectations of 168,000 new jobs created to come in at 224,000. The significant fall of last months data to 75,000 acted as a significant indicator that the Fed would have to cut sooner rather than later, now with a perhaps corrective number this month it could well offer an argument for holding off watching the data and awaiting the September meeting before acting, in spite of the presidential pressure that is building. We should get a strong idea of the Fed’s thoughts this week with the Minutes of last months meeting on Wednesday night and an testimonies from Powell on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
In the Eurozone, this week saw the announcement of a new Head of the ECB (European Central Bank), Christine Lagarde the Head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) will take over from the outgoing Mario Draghi. She will be stepping into a hot seat with Europe suffering from global trade tensions as manufacturing across the collective state struggles and key economic strength signals are under pressure. There is no question monetary policy action is required in Europe but with interest rates at historic lows the scope of capabilities is lower. Lagarde has always been positive on the impacts of Quantitative Easing therefore that seems her likely first action point in the new role will be the implementation of a new wave of QE, before she looks at the potential of further rate cuts. She will also have to address the situation in Greece where over the weekend, as expected a new parliament was formed, with the New Democracy party securing a majority result, but the internal economic issues remain and this new government will be tested in the coming months. In Turkey, the government took the unusual step of sacking the head of the Monetary Policy Committee sending the Turkish Lira tumbling at the opening this morning and with the global markets fearful of Turkish exposure the tone was set to the downside throughout the Asian and early European session.
Monday - Slightly more optimistic data out of Germany and the Eurozone first thing with German Industrial Production bouncing back from a terrible number last month and a strong German Trade Balance. No data comes in the US session.
Wednesday - UK GDP comes at 9.30 with expectation being we see a bounce back from -0.4% last month to 0.3%. Manufacturing Production data delivered at the same time will be just as important, its forecast that we again see an improvement to 2.2% from -3.9% last month. In the US session first up is the interest rate decision from the Bank of Canada who are expected to leave rates at 1.75%. Ahead of the FOMC meeting minutes at 7pm, we again hear from Jerome Powell as he testifies at 3pm.