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Yen in Focus on Trump Trade War Threat, Italian Turmoil, G7

Yen in Focus on Trump Trade War Threat, Italian Turmoil, G7

2018-05-31 06:30:00
Ilya Spivak, Head Strategist, APAC


  • Yen gains, Aussie and NZ Dollars fall as markets retrace risk recovery
  • Euro, US Dollar may ignore incoming CPI and PCE inflation figures
  • Trump trade war jitters, Italian turmoil, G7 summit to guide sentiment

Currency markets found little traction in Asia Pacific trade. The Australian and New Zealand Dollars edged down while the Japanese Yen rose as sentiment-linked currencies retraced some of the moves recorded amid a recovery in risk appetite in the prior session. A lull in negative news flow out of Italy allowed investors to breathe a sigh of relief after 48 hours of bloodletting, as expected.

Eurozone CPI data headlines the economic calendar in European trading hours, with the headline on-year inflation rate expected to tick up to a one-year high of 1.6 percent. A better-than-expected result on analogous German data was wholly ignored by the Euro yesterday. Something similar is likely this time around as well, with political instability likely to preoccupy investors and ECB policymakers alike.

Later in the day, the Fed’s favored PCE inflation gauge comes into focus. The headline price growth rate is seen holding at 2 percent while the core measure excluding volatile food and energy costs ticks a bit lower to 1.8 percent. Outcomes broadly in line with expectations are unlikely to dislodge established monetary policy expectations and so may prove inconsequential for near-term US Dollar price action.

This probably puts risk trends back in the spotlight, but mixed cues from futures tracking European and US equities benchmarks obscure what that might mean in practice. That probably speaks to heightened headline sensitivity and kneejerk volatility risk as traders search for direction in news flow from Rome as well as from the sidelines of a G7 finance ministers’ meeting in Canada.

Trade war jitters may also replace Italian woes as a risk-off catalyst. The Washington Post cited unidentified sources saying US President Trump may allow to lapse steel and aluminum tariff hike exemptions for Canada, Mexico and the EU. Doing so would almost certainly complicate NAFTA renegotiation efforts and invite retaliation, souring sentiment anew.

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--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com

To contact Ilya, use the comments section below or @IlyaSpivak on Twitter

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