What could be one of the biggest weeks for trading in a long time has started with the focus on China where retail sales and industrial production came in well below expectations over the weekend. This continued to raise concerns about the health of China’s economy and dragged Chinese and Australian indices lower accelerating their corrections. European markets have the deer caught in the headlights look today with the FTSE flat as traders look ahead to Thursday’s Scottish Referendum on independence. With polls showing a close race, it appears traders don’t want to get caught off side at this point. The Dax is up slightly on a better than expected Eurozone trade report. US markets are holding steady with the Dow just under 17,000. A very strong Empire Manufacturing report hasn’t moved markets at all, but it does keep the evidence piling up for Fed hawks. Reports over the weekend suggest the Fed is debating between starting rate increases sooner and taking a slow approach, or to hold off for as long as possible then raise aggressively once they start. Regardless, it looks like rates are heading higher next year it’s really only a matter of when. Gold is off to a good start so far this week, in addition to the political risk in the UK which may increase or decrease dramatically by the end of the week, Thursday brings the first tranche of the ECB’s new round of LTRO loans, phase one of its plan to give back all the stimulus it took away over the last two years. Gold has tracked the ups and downs of the ECB balance sheet in the past. This improvement in gold has come despite a relatively strong USD which is up against most majors today with NZD the top performer on a technical rebound from recent underperformance. CAD and JPY as also holding their own while NOK is soft, possibly being dragged down by weakness in the Brent crude price. Corporate News Apple announced this morning that preorders for its two iPhone6 models are up to over 4 million phones, exceeding supply, although there will be stock in stores as well for walk up customers for Friday’s launch. Reports over the weekend suggest that the high end of Alibaba’s IPO range may be raised or the books may be closed early with demand coming in strong. Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: US Empire manufacturing street 15.9 US industrial production (0.1%) vs street 0.3% US manufacturing production (0.4%) vs street 0.2% Canada existing home sales 1.8% vs previous 0.8% China industrial production 6.9% vs street 8.8% China retail sales 11.9% vs street 12.1% NZ service PMI 57.9 vs previous 58.4 Singapore unemployment rate 2.0% as expected Singapore retail sales 5.5% vs street 3.5% UK Rightmove house prices 7.9% vs previous 5.3% Eurozone trade balance €21.2B vs previous Norway trade balance NOK22.4B vs previous NOK22.6B Economic reports due later today include: There are no major releases in North America later today.