Thursday July 24, 2008 - 11:00:44 GMT
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Forex Research - Euro Tumbles Then Recovers as IFO Hits a 3 Year Low - No More Hikes From ECB?
The IFO survey of German consumer confidence fell to a three year low piercing through the psychologically key 100 figure as it printed at 97.5 versus forecasts of 100.1.
â€¢ Japanese Yen: tight ranges just below 108.00
â€¢ Euro: drops to 1.5650 as IFO tumbles below 100
â€¢ British Pound: Retail Sales much weaker than forecast
â€¢ US Dollar: Jobless claims and Existing homes on tap
Euro Tumbles Then Recovers as IFO Hits a 3 Year Low â€“ No More Hikes From ECB?
The IFO survey of German consumer confidence fell to a three year low piercing through the psychologically key 100 figure as it printed at 97.5 versus forecasts of 100.1. Sentiment has turned sharply lower as the German economy has finally succumbed to the triple punch combination of higher oil prices, higher interest rates and higher exchange rates.
Germany has been the primary driver of growth in the EZ and tonightâ€™s data bodes badly for the region as a whole. Earlier in the night markets saw a big plunge in French business confidence and a much larger uptick in Spanish unemployment to 10.4% indicating that the environment in the rest of the 15 member union is even worse. Given such rapidly deteriorating economic conditions its is difficult to imagine that the ECB would be willing to tighten further and risk tipping the worlds largest economic zone into a full blown recession.
Interestingly enough the EURUSD had a relatively minor reaction to the data recouping most of its losses within an hour of the release. FX traders speculated that the reading in sentiment may have been skewed by record high oil prices and with crude dropping more than $20/bbl since the start of this month, IFO would rebound in August. Nevertheless, tonightâ€™s news cannot be viewed as anything but negative for the single currency, especially if the assumption of a rebound next month proves false which would suggest that the contraction in the EZ economy is more serious than many euro bulls believe.
In UK the news was not much brighter as Retail Sales dropped by 3.9% versus â€“2.6% expected as purchases of apparel and food declined markedly. The UK consumer is clearly feeling pinched and although the BoE monetary policy is unlikely to ease before the year end, the situation on the street is becoming more troubling by the day as demand continues to contract. If the recent drop in oil prices provides a boost to spending in the fall then BoE will maintain its neutral stance. However if conditions worsen materially Mr. King and company may have to take Mr. Blanchflowerâ€™s advice and lower rates quickly.
In North America today jobless claims will once again be key as the two weeks of seasonal adjustments for auto retooling plants now pass and traders could get a clearer picture of US labor markets. Finally it will be interesting to see if US currency traders take the same sanguine view of overnight news or perhaps drive the euro and cable lower in delayed reaction to the data.
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