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Flash PMIs set to weaken further in August

The FTSE100 managed to finally break its worst run of losses since 2019 yesterday, posting its first daily gain since the 10th August. The gains were hard-won however with the index trying retreating from its daily highs and failing for the second day in a row to consolidate a move above 7,300.

The rest of Europe managed to do slightly better, outperforming and closing higher for the 2nd day in a row, although still closing well off the highs of the day.

US markets on the other hand after starting strongly slipped back after European markets had closed, sliding back on comments from Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin who said the Fed needed to be open to the prospect the US economy might re-accelerate which might mean the central bank might need to hike rates further and keep them higher for longer, pushing the US dollar to its highs for the day in the process.

Despite the weaker finish for US markets, the resilience in Asia markets looks set to see European markets open slightly higher later this morning. 

The last set of flash PMIs saw German manufacturing slide to its lowest levels since the Covid lockdowns at 38.8 in further signs that the engine of the German economy continues to stutter.

Weak demand in its key export markets as well as domestically, along with higher energy prices weighing on economic activity.

The only bright spot was services which came in at 52.3, but even here economic activity was slower, and both sectors are expected to weaken further in August further complication the task of the ECB which is expected to signal a pause in its rate hiking cycle next month. Manufacturing activity is expected to soften further to 38.6, while services is expected to slip to 51.5.

Economic activity in France was also disappointing in July, although the underperformance was more evenly distributed with both manufacturing and services both in contraction heading into Q3. Manufacturing slipped to 45.1 in July and services dropped to 47.1. With energy prices rising sharply over the last few weeks, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that will see a significant improvement given the weakness seen in China and other overseas markets. Manufacturing is forecast to come in at 45, and services at 47.5.

While economic activity has been slowing in Europe, the UK has also seen similar slowdowns in both manufacturing and services, although the composite PMI is just about hanging on in expansion territory, unlike its peers across the Channel.

Construction has been a notable strong point, however the focus today is on manufacturing which slowed to 45.3 in July, while services slowed from 53.7 in June to 51.5 in July.

The recent GDP numbers for June showed a strong performance, however Q3 is likely to be much more challenging, with higher oil and gas prices likely to filter through at the petrol pump. UK manufacturing is expected to slow to 45, and services to 51.

US manufacturing and services look set to be more resilient at 49 and 52 respectively.  

EUR/USD – continues to find support just above the 1.0830 area. Below 1.0830 targets the 200-day SMA at 1.0790 and trend line support from the March lows at 1.0750. Still feels range bound with resistance at the 1.1030 area.

GBP/USD – failing at the 50-day SMA again and the 1.2800 area. We need to see a move through the 1.2800 area, to signal potential towards 1.3000. A break below 1.2600 targets 1.2400.    

EUR/GBP – sinking towards support at the 0.8520/30 area. A move below 0.8500 could see 0.8480. Above the 100-day SMA at 0.8580 targets the 0.8720 area.

USD/JPY – failed to push above the 146.50 area yesterday, but while above the 144.80 area bias remains for a move towards 147.50. Below the 144.80 area, targets a move back to the 143.10 area.

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