Yesterday’s slide in European markets shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise given the strong rally last week. Banks and financials came under pressure after their gains last week, as political concerns in Italy weighed on financials, while the weak performance of the FTSE100 was aided by an inability of the sharp rebound in oil prices to close near its intraday highs, pulling the oil and gas sector similarly off its intraday highs.
While oil prices finished the day up over 2%, they had been up by over 6% at one point, causing any initial gains in oil and gas stocks start to peter out.
In the US we had a similarly mixed finish, despite new record highs as investors adopted a safety first attitude with the last Federal Reserve rate meeting of 2016 starting today.
Markets in Asia appear to have picked up on the slightly softer theme from yesterday, and this could well translate into a softer open in Europe this morning.
Overnight the latest Chinese industrial production and retail sales data for November showed an economy that is just about keeping up in Q4 as it was doing in Q3. Retail sales for November managed to rebound strongly by 10.8% after the surprise drop to 10% in October, suggesting perhaps that this particular slowdown was a blip. Allied with the improvement in the recent trade numbers China’s latest quarter looks like it will keep up with trend, after a slow start to the quarter.
Industrial production also improved rising rose 6.2%, while private investment also rose slightly more than expected at 3.1%
Since its lows in October the sterling trade weighted index has managed to recover over 5% of its year to date losses, to be only down 11% year to date thus far.
As the pound continues to gain ground from its recent all-time lows, the decision by the Bank of England to use its so called monetary sledgehammer in August begins to look increasingly more questionable to the point that we could well be talking about the potential for the next move on rates to be higher.
UK gilt markets have already sold off sharply on the basis of higher inflation expectations with the 10 year yield hitting its highest level since April this year at 1.509% yesterday, over 100 basis points above its recent low at 0.501% in August.
Today’s inflation numbers could well complicate that narrative further, if as expected the numbers come in hotter than expected. In October we saw a surprising dip back in CPI to 0.9%, however that is expected to be temporary as the effects of lower oil prices continue to drop out of the annual numbers. An increase to 1.1% is expected in today’s CPI November numbers, which would be the highest level since October 2014, and a big jump from the -0.1% that we saw just over a year.
Core CPI prices are expected to rise as well to 1.3%, while retail prices, (RPI) which track consumer expenditure more closely are also expected to tick higher to 2.1%, further eroding the gap between prices rises and incomes that has helped fuel the recent strong performance in UK consumer spending, and which could disappear in 2017.
More importantly as we saw last week with the latest Chinese producer price data input costs can be a forward looking indicator, and UK input prices have been flashing red for some time as a lower pound and higher fuel prices eat into supply chain profit margins. These input costs have been rising for four months in a row now and today’s numbers would make that five with expectations of a rise of 13.5% in November.
EURUSD – has found support back at the 1.0520 level and while it continues to do so remains art risk of a rebound towards the recent peaks at 1.0870. The prospect of further losses on a break below area the 1.0500 level remain a distinct possibility. We need to see a move back above 1.0650 to stabilise, otherwise a move through 1.0460 opens up the risk of a move towards parity.
GBPUSD – rebounded strongly yesterday after four days of declines, however the underlying trend back towards 1.2880 remains positive while above 1.2440 trend line support from the October lows. Only a move through 1.2300 opens up the potential to revisit the recent lows near the 1.2100 area.
EURGBP – the euro continues to find upside progress a tricky prospect, with the potential for a retest of the recent lows and 200 day MA at 0.8290 a realistic prospect. We need to see a recovery back through 0.8480 to stabilise.
USDJPY – we briefly saw the US dollar push through the 115.60 level and the 61.8% retracement of the 125.85/98.95 down move, before turning sharply lower, but only after touching 116.10. To push on towards the 120.00 we need to gain a foothold above 115.60, otherwise we could slip back towards the 112.40 level.
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