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Europe set for lower open after strong US session, China trade disappoints

It was a rather subdued start to the trading week in Europe yesterday with little in the way of positive drivers although we managed to hold on most of the rebound that we saw on Friday in the wake of the July jobs report out of the US.

US markets on the other hand enjoyed a much more robust start to the week, ending a 4-day decline and reversing the losses of the previous two sessions, as bargain hunters returned.  

The focus this week is on Thursday’s inflation numbers from the US, which could show that prices edged up in July, however it is the numbers out of China tomorrow which might be more instructive in respect of longer-term trends for prices, if headline CPI follows the PPI numbers into deflation.  

Earlier this morning the latest China trade numbers for July continued to point to weak economic activity and subdued domestic demand. The last 2 months of Q2 saw sharp declines in exports, with a -12.4% fall in June. There was little let-up in this morning’s July numbers with a bigger than expected decline of -14.5%, the worst performance since February 2020, with global demand remaining weak.

Imports have been little better, with negative numbers every month this year, and July has been no different with a decline of -12.4%, an even worse performance from June’s -6.8%, with all sectors of the economy showing weakness.

With numbers this poor it surely can’t be too long before Chinese policymakers take further steps to support their economy with further easing measures, however, there appears to be some reluctance to do so at any scale for the moment, due to concerns over capital outflows.

Today’s European market open was set to be a modestly positive one, until the release of the China trade numbers, however we now look set for a slightly lower open, with the only data of note the final German CPI numbers for July which are set to show that headline inflation slowed modestly to 6.5% from 6.8% in June.

It’s also set to be another important week for the pound ahead of Q2 GDP numbers which are due on Friday.

Before that we got a decent insight into UK retail sales spending earlier this morning with the release of two important insights into consumer behaviour in July.  

The BRC retail sales numbers for July showed that like for like sales slowed during the month, rising 1.8%, well below the 3-month average of 3.3%. Food sales performed particularly well, but at the expense of online sales of non-food items like clothes which showed a sharp slowdown.

It is clear that consumers are spending their money much more carefully and spending only when necessary, as Bank of England rate hikes continue to bite on incomes.

With some consumers approaching a cliff edge as their fixed rate terms come up for expiry, they may well be saving more in order to mitigate the impact of an impending sharp rise in mortgage costs.

That said in a separate survey from Barclaycard, spending on entertainment saw a big boost of 15.8% even as clothing sales declined.

Bars, pubs, and clubs saw a pickup in spending as did the entertainment sector as Taylor Swift did for July, what Beyonce did for May. The release of a big slate of summer films may also have offered a boost with the latest Indiana Jones film, along with Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning, Barbie and Oppenheimer prompting people to venture out given the wetter weather during the month.

EUR/USD – not much in the way of price action yesterday although the euro managed to hold onto most of the rally off last week’s lows just above the 1.0900 area. We currently have resistance at the 1.1050 area which we need to break to have any chance of revisiting the July peaks at 1.1150.

GBP/USD – another solid day yesterday after the rebound off the 1.2620 area last week. We need to see a move back above the 1.2800 area to ensure this rally has legs. Below 1.2600 targets 1.2400. Resistance at the 1.2830 area as well as 1.3000.    

EUR/GBP – struggling to rally beyond the 0.8650 area but we need to see a move below the 0.8580 area to signal a short-term top might be in and see a return to the 0.8530 area. Also have resistance at the 100-day SMA at 0.8680.

USD/JPY – failed just below the 144.00 area last week but has rebounded from the 141.50 area. While below the 144.00 area the risk is for a move towards the 140.70 area. Main resistance remains at the previous peaks at 145.00.


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