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European Outlook: Asian stock markets are narrowly mixed, with Japan and Hang Seng down as the stronger Yen weighed on exporters and lower oil prices hit energy producers. the front end Nymex futures picked up a bit after supply concerns hit prices once again, but remains below USD 46 per barrel. The ASX is managing marginal gains. FTSE 100 futures are also marginally higher, despite the rise in Sterling after BoE’s Saunders warned of rate hikes ahead. This should continue to see Gilts underperforming versus Bunds, although a stronger Pound also reduces inflation risks going ahead. In the Eurozone yields also continue to trend higher as the ECB is cautiously heading for exit steps, and while the 10-year Bund closed slightly lower yesterday, Italian and Spanish bond as well as stock markets underperformed, and market jitters will back the doves at the council. Today’s calendar has German manufacturing orders at the start of the session as well as ECB minutes and Swiss inflation data.

FOMC minutes showed most officials said “idiosyncratic factors” were responsible for the softer trend in inflation, though several were concerned that the progress on inflation may have slowed. A couple of policymakers, however, saw rising inflation risk from the “undershooting of the jobless rate.” They also noted some financial market conditions had eased even as policy accommodation was being reduced. Committee members were divided over when to begin the balance sheet unwind, expressing a range of views. There were no clear insights in the minutes to better assess the timing of the balance sheet unwind. But, given the Committee decided to announce the balance sheet details at this meeting suggests the start could begin, as Yellen said, “sooner.” The Fed continues to believe a well telegraphed, and gradual approach to shrinking the balance sheet will limit market reaction. The Fed is also expected to delay rate hikes when it initiates the shrinkage of the portfolio, and that will give the data time to improve and hence support views that it’s idiosyncratic factors weighing. The minutes didn’t materially add to the markets’ body of knowledge on the normalization path.

US reports: Disappointing U.S. factory goods data, with price-led May declines for shipments, orders, and inventories of nondurable goods after small downward April revisions, alongside small upward adjustments in the available durables data for orders, shipments, and equipment, though with weaker inventories. The May data still showed a transportation and defense-led orders drop with lean inventories and resilient shipments. Inventories have yet to recover from the big 2015-2016 petro-hit, beyond last year’s Q3-Q4 bounce that was mostly reversed in Q1.

Eurozone: services PMI revised up to 55.4 with the final reading for June from 54.7 in the preliminary estimate, but still down from 56.3 in May. This saw the composite PMI revised up to 56.3 from 55.7 and versus 56.8 in May. Despite the drop in June, Markit reported that the Eurozone economy enjoyed its best quarter for just over six years in Q1 and while output growth slowed slightly in June, “continued robust inflows of new work and elevated business confidence kept the pace of job creation among the best seen over the past decade”. The average reading over the second quarter was the best since Q1 2011. Good news then that will back the ECB’s increasingly optimistic view of the economy, although with inflation still low and key players like Draghi and Praet insisting that this is largely thanks to the ECB’s expansionary policy, the central bank is not ready yet to commit to QE tapering. The UK June services PMI missed expectations slightly, dipping to a 53.4 headline reading after 53.8 in May.

Main Macro Events Today

  • ECB minutes – ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts have be scheduled for 11:30 GMT today.
  • U.S. Initial Jobless Claims –  Initial claims data for the week of July 1 is out today and a dip  to 232k is expected from 244k last week and 242k in the week prior. Claims are always volatile this time of year as we move through auto sector retooling season and this year there are additional risks from the big build up in auto inventories.
  • Fedspeak – SF Fed’s Williams (non-voter) will be in Australia (03:45 ET) and Governor Powell is set to discuss housing finance reform from Washington (10:00 ET), while VC Fischer will speak from Washington on “Government Policy and Labor Productivity” (11:00 ET). Focus will then turn to Fed Chief Yellen from next week’s policy testimony before the House next Wednesday (10 ET), as her Q&A will follow-up her written testimony’s public release this Friday (11 ET).

 Click here to access the HotForex Economic calendar.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst

HotForex

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