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FXCM - Euro Rallies on Good Data and Hawkish Comments

DailyFX Fundamentals 06-21-06

• Euro Rallies on Good Data and Hawkish Comments
• MPC Voted 7 to 1 to Leave Rates Unchanged
• Dollar Looks Ahead to Durable Goods on Friday

US Dollar

There was nothing new in the currency markets today as trading activity remained relatively flat for the US dollar in the North American session. The sole economic data release on the day sparked some concern as MBA applications for last week dipped 0.8 percent – this is yet another piece of evidence that the housing market is slowing. The past sixteen interest rate hikes are finally making their way through the economy as the cost of borrowing has increased significantly. Although inflation is one of the Fed’s main concerns, their continual interest rate hikes will eventually tackle that problem. However, what will be left over is dampened consumer sentiment as the housing sector cools. This effectively counters rather comparative housing starts data that reflected a more stabilized decline in the sector just days ago. Definitely a concern for central bankers, the aforementioned should keep Federal Reserve officials on their heels come the August decision. With the market already pricing in a 25 basis point rate hike for the end of the month, further economic data needs to be assessed in giving the August sentiment the monetary green light. Tomorrow’s leading economic indicators report should add to further rate hike speculation with most of the week’s ending focus being placed on the heavyweight durable good orders report.

Euro

Euro data was thin on the session and followed the absent pattern witnessed over the course of the week. The main focus today was the French consumer spending report. In the month, of May, and for the second straight month in a row, French consumers upped their purchases of manufactured goods, which currently accounts for 15 percent of the overall economy. The improvement was seen as considerably optimistic despite the lack of consumer interest since the employment rate hit a three and a half year low in the month of April. With the recent uptick, it may seem that the current improvements on the economic front may be in fact trickling down to the consumer level. That sentiment coupled with further hawkish commentary from European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet helped to extend yesterday’s rally. Speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels this morning, the head policy maker noted that the central bank is “unsatisfied” with the level of inflation currently looming over the region. The market is still not sure if the ECB will be delivering another ate hike in August or wait until the one after that, but today’s comments biases the possibilities towards a more recent hike.

British Pound

The British pound gained strength despite the slightly less hawkish minutes from the Bank of England. The committee voted 7 to 1 to leave rates unchanged. The one lone dissenter was David Walton who called for an immediate rate increase. The market had hoped that one more member would join Walton in favoring higher rates for a 6-2 vote, but this did not happen. Furthermore, there was concern surrounded that weakness in overall global markets may spark a deceleration in inflation as well as a thinner expansion in overall economic fundamentals. This jolted markets a bit as the consensus had been leaning towards more hawkish monetary policy at the year’s end. The extremely optimistic bull was even calling for two rate hikes before December. As a result, now slightly more noncommittal in the text, policy makers will more than likely, and once again, to take a wait-and-see approach as they eye in on improvements in consumer spending and any further jumps in consumer inflation. With that said, tonight’s speech by Governor King tonight at the Mansion House will be heavily scrutinized for any conflicting sentiment to today’s report.

Japanese Yen

The Japanese yen gained for the second straight session on further momentum from yesterday’s hawkish comments by Governor Fukui. Although recanting, or rather clarifying, those statements late yesterday, traders remain steadfast in their mission to beat everyone to the punch should a rate hike be initiated this summer. Even bond positions are reflective of the angst as JGB yields are still nearing their 2 percent highs hit in May, a long cry from the sub 1.50 percent area seen late last year. Nonetheless, there still exists some hurdles to the final decision, expected to come no earlier than September at this rate. First and foremost seems to be the contention over Fukui’s involvement in the recent fund scandal and possible resignation from office. Although not likely to roil markets, the decision to step down could effectively prolong the decision as reshuffling is bound to delay the ultimate rate hike. Secondly, and considered a lot less of a hurdle, would be approval by the headline government. Not necessarily a concern as Fukui’s comments practically nullified any contention from the state’s heads, there may be some hesitance expressed should the Governor resign his position. Any way you look at it, anticipation is still weighing heavily on the pair as the market awaits that fateful day.

 

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