FX Markets Turn to US Fiscal Outlook, Brexit Being Triggered, Chinese PMI
- The US Dollar has fallen sharply since mid-March as odds of a faster Fed rate hike cycle have diminished.
- Crude Oil continues to stumble, suggesting that it will no longer be a tailwind for inflationary readings over the rest of the year.
- The British Pound has benefited from recent polls showing that Scotland isn’t likely to leave the UK.
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USD Fiscal Outlook Uncertainty After Obamacare Appeal Fails
The uncoordinated rollout of the Affordable Care Act replacement (ACA or Obamacare), the American Health Care Act (AHCA), is a poor litmus test for future policy endeavors. The logical assumption is, given the disdain by Republicans over the last 8 years towards the ACA, this should have been a straightforward legislative process now that the GOP controls the House, the Senate, and the White House, and thus, why would markets be correct in thinking that more ideologically challenging legislation like a $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill pass with much ease (if at all)?
It seems that this fear for the US Dollar is being realized. If a bout of deficit spending is now unlikely to materialize, the Federal Reserve will have no reason to push up expectations for a faster-than-previously-anticipated rate hike cycle. As per the Mundell-Fleming framework (or IS-LM-BOP model), given the United States' high capital mobility, loose fiscal policy should lead to a rise in inflationary pressures, which in turn should necessitate tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.
03/29 Wednesday | --:-- GMT | GBP UK PM Theresa May Triggers Article 50, Starting Brexit Process
UK Prime Minister Theresa has finally been handed the power to enact Article 50, which could put in stone, at least in the markets’ collective minds, that the UK is hurtling towards a ‘hard Brexit.’ One of the more important knock-on effects to watch for over the coming sessions will be to see if Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responds by announcing a second referendum for Scottish independence from the UK; Scotland voted 62% in favor of ‘Remain’ on June 23, 2016. Nevertheless, with recent polls showing that most Scots prefer to stay in the UK – Scotland shares greater economic ties with the UK than with the EU – it seems unlikely that a second independence referendum would pass either.
03/30 Thursday | 23:30 GMT | JPY National Consumer Price Index (FEB)
Inflation in Japan has picked up in the last four months, after spending six months in deflationary territory, and is expected to show a gain of 0.3% in February after a 0.4% uptick in the prior month. In the 10 major components, Food showed an annual rise of 1.8%, Education costs rose by 1.5% while Food, Light and Water Charges costs fell by 3.4% year-on-year. At the latest Bank of Japan meeting, the central bank said that loose monetary policy would remain in place for the foreseeable future with the BoJ’s 2% inflation target still someway away.
Pairs to Watch: USD/JPY, Nikkei 225
03/31 Friday | 01:00 GMT | CNY Manufacturing PMI (MAR)
The Caixin Chinese Manufacturing PMI rose in February to 51.6, its eighth straight month of expansion, driven by a strong outturn in output and new orders. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index is based on five individual indexes with the following weights: New Orders (30%), Output (25%), Employment (20%), Suppliers’ Delivery Times (15%) and Stock of Items Purchased (10%). Expectations are for a further, small, rise in March to 51.7.
03/31 Friday | 12:30 GMT | CAD Gross Domestic Product (JAN)
Canadian Gross Domestic Product is forecast to slip to 1.8% from a prior month’s 2.0% as the economy still adjusts to weak crude oil prices and the still unknown new trade agreement with the US. According to a recent press announcement, US President Donald Trump wants to build bridges with Canada but will be ‘tweaking’ certain trading arrangements. Canada is the US’ second largest goods trading partner with – exports of $280 billion/imports of $295 billion – with the US goods trade deficit with Canada at $15 billion.
It’s worth remembering that the Bank of Canada kept interest rates unchanged at its last policy meeting. The central bank said that recent consumption and housing indicators suggest growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 may have been slightly stronger than expected. “However, exports continue to face the ongoing competitiveness challenges described in the January MPR…While there have been recent gains in employment, subdued growth in wages and hours worked continue to reflect persistent economic slack in Canada, in contrast to the United States.”
--- Written by Christopher Vecchio, Senior Currency Strategist, Nick Cawley, Analyst
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