Today’s session is expected to be uneventful with bank holidays in France, Germany and Switzerland and no significant economic data due until Empire State Manufacturing Index during the NY session. As always on Mondays I prepared the currency update so you can familiarize with the situation in the markets.
USD: NFP for April missed on the headline figure at 160k vs 202k expected. However, Average Hourly Earnings came in as expected at a solid 0.3% rise for the month, which bodes well for the inflation picture and prompted some upside in the USD post release. The Fed’s April 27 statement failed to provide any further clarity on when the Bank may raise rates. There was no indication in the statement that a rate hike is likely in June, with Fed fund futures pricing a less than 20% chance of a hike at that meeting. CPI for March slightly missed estimates with Core dropping to 2.2% y/y from a prior of 2.3% and for the month, missing estimates at 0.1% versus 0.2% expected.
EUR: Flash GDP for Q1 missed expectations at 0.5% q/q versus expectations of 0.6%, and at 1.5% y/y versus expectations of 1.6%. Inflation data for April has pushed the Eurozone back into deflation. CPI y/y printed at -0.2% versus expectations of -0.1%, and Core CPI printed at 0.8%, below expectations of 0.9%.
GBP: The May 12 BoE meeting provided little new information, with the Bank recognising risks from Brexit but maintaining their base case scenario is to stay in the EU. Market expectations regarding the UK’s EU referendum remain the primary driver of price action. Preliminary GDP for Q1 printed at 0.4% q/q as expected, however GDP y/y slightly beat expectations at 2.1% vs 2.0% expected. Average Weekly Earnings for February increased by 1.8%, below expectations of 2.3%, Claimant Count Change also missed expectations, increasing by 6,700 vs an expected decrease of 11,300. For the month of March, Core CPI m/m printed at 0.6%, double the expected 0.3%, and core y/y printed at 1.5% above expectations of 1.3%. Headline CPI also beat market expectations at 0.4% m/m and 0.5% y/y.
AUD: The RBA’s Statement on Monetary Policy cut inflation forecasts, cementing the chance of future rate cuts. RBA cut the OCR to a new low of 1.75% on May 3. The Bank had clearly signalled their intention to do so in the prior decision statements, if inflation moved lower. CPI for Q1 missed by a wide margin with Trimmed Mean CPI printing at 1.7% y/y, below expectation of 2.0%.
NZD: The FSR showed concerns over rising house prices but failed to introduce any new macroprudential controls, which suggests the RBNZ will remain on hold in June. Q1 employment was mixed with the jobless rate rising to 5.7% but job growth smashing estimates at 1.2% q/q. The market expects another rate cut in June with approximately 70% probability. The RBNZ kept rates on hold at the April 28 meeting, but maintain a strong easing bias which suggests another cut at the June meeting. CPI for Q1 slightly beat estimates at 0.2% q/q versus expectations of 0.1%. Year-over-year CPI matched estimates at 0.4%, well below the RBNZ’s target mid-point of 2%. Excluding petrol prices, CPI rose 0.7% y/y.
CAD: A neutral to weakly-bullish currency, with sentiment in lock-step with WTI. Core CPI for the month of March rose 0.7% versus an expectation of 0.3%. This puts year-over-year core inflation at 2.1%. Retail Sales Excluding Automobiles rose 0.2% for February, well above the expected half-percent decline. Solid data from Canada during April has erased any expectation of easing this year, for now.
JPY: The BoJ kept policy unchanged at the April 28 meeting, which saw massive strength in yen across the board, given the market pricing for a potential announcement of further easing. The BoJ may ease further at the next meeting on June 16. Tokyo CPI Ex-Food & Energy for April was at 0.6% y/y. The BoJ measure of National Core CPI remained steady in at 1.1% y/y for March.
CHF: CPI beat estimates for April, printing at 0.3% m/m, above the 0.1% expected. Fundamentally a weak currency, highly correlated with moves in EUR. The franc is fundamentally a weak currency given the SNB’s negative interest rates, however it can suddenly rally on safe-haven flows. The SNB regularly recite that the franc is overvalued and they are prepared to intervene to weaken the currency. The franc’s direction is difficult to predict due to regular intervention by the SNB.