It comes as no surprise that the biggest story impacting trading to start the new week is the damage inflicted on the State of Texas by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend. The big storm stalled just inland, unleashing huge amounts of rain on the Gulf Coast. Because of the storm, not only have offshore production facilities been shut in, but also the big refineries in the Houston area, taking a big chunk of US production off line.
This news had gasoline spiking upward to the tune of about 6% overnight but into the morning, it has become clear that as with previous storms, gains are likely to be short-lived as gasoline is now only up about 3% and WTI crude oil has backed off about 1% so far. In other commodity action, copper is up 1.2%, holding above $3.00/lb, so we could see quite action in resource stocks along with commodity markets today.
Currency markets have been active to start the week driven by a number of factors. Over the weekend, President Trump complained about how NAFTA talks are going (Canada and Mexico aren't rolling over) and threatened to walk away. The Mexican Peso is trading lower this morning but the loonie is holding its ground suggesting that some traders see this as more bluster. It does show though, that the market sees Mexico as potentially more vulnerable in renegotiations.
In other currency action, The US Dollar is trading down slightly while the Euro started the week up slightly with traders reacting to the no-news Jackson Hole conference. ECB President Draghi didn’t try to talk down the Euro which traders saw as slightly hawkish. On the other hand, Fed Chair Yellen didn't talk about future rate hikes which the street took as slightly dovish. The Jury remains out over whether the Fed will start to normalize its balance sheet in September, although I think it remains unlikely with a US government shutdown looking probable for October.
Sterling has been the weakest of the majors today with many UK traders on holiday and the next round of Brexit talks getting underway.
Stock markets are relatively steady today with US index futures flat and the Dax down 0.5%. The FTSE is closed for a UK holiday. It’s a light day for economic news. On the corporate side, news flow could be dominated by reports from US energy companies about the state of their facilities following the storm, news of shutdowns and perhaps comments on when production could come back on line.
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