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Hawkish BOE talk sparks Sterling rally and FTSE selloff, soft China data pushes Copper lower

Thursday finds trading action focused in commodities and currencies. Most major indices are trading flat to down 0.2% as they continue to consolidate recent gains.  The FTSE has kicked into reverse, falling 0.5% with GBP rallying. 

There have been a number of market moving developments, particularly related to central banks and economic data. 

The Bank of England held its benchmark interest rate at 0.25%. The vote was 7-2 with two hawks dissenting, same as last meeting and as expected. The minutes, however, were seen as hawkish as they indicated a majority of MPC members think that “some withdrawal of stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months” if the economy continues to grow and inflation pressures keep building. 

There has been some chatter that the removal of last year’s rate cut could come as soon as the November meeting with the probability of a November hike priced into bonds spiking up to 43.8% from 16% a week ago. There also is a 56% chance of a hike by December and a 64% chance of a hike by February getting priced in.  

The Swiss national bank held interest rates at its meeting today. The SNB noted recent declines in CHF relative to the Euro as encouraging but still thinks the Swiss Franc is overvalued and that interest rate differentials remain narrow. I'm other words, it looks like the SNB wants to see the ECB take the lead on cutting stimulus before following suit. 

US consumer inflation is due this morning which could spark another round of Fed speculation heading toward next week's big meeting and potential action in the US Dollar. Apparently the white house and Democrats have been talking immigration with the potential for settling Dreamers status being tied to border wall funding. The most important thing is that the two sides finally talking on areas like immigration and tax reform reduces some of the domestic political risks in the US related to the budget and debt ceiling. 

Chinese retail sales and industrial production came in below expectations, dragging cooper down 1.2% and dragging on mining stocks.  Australia posted smoking hot job growth which has boosted AUD back up above 80 Cents. 

CAD is sending mixed signals today even with a boost from a 1.0% gain in WTI crude oil. The street appears to be putting the hurricane impact behind it with oil rallying and gasoline falling another 0.5% today. Natural gas inventories are due later this morning which could attract attention as home heating season approaches.  

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