Dollar Awaits US GDP and Next Trump Volley, Volatility Simmers
• UK GDP offered less motivation to the Pound than the government's Brexit bill for Parliament to digest
• President Trump charges the anti-trade concerns once again with suggestions of a 20% tax on Mexican imports
• Top event risk for Friday includes the US 4Q GDP release and a trade meeting between UK PM May and President Trump
The hierarchy of market drivers has clearly been upended. This past session the Pound found more motivation through Brexit speculation than key data. Scheduled well in advance, the 4Q UK GDP release carried heavy the potential to meaningfully alter the economy's course and alter the backdrop for the impending negotiations with the European Union. Instead, a slightly better-than-expected outcome from the growth figures offered little reason for investors to reassess their course. Meanwhile, following the Constitutional Court's ruling for Parliamentary say on Brexit, the government issued a bill for the group to debate next week. The prevailing theme is clear, but its progress is not as regimented as many traders would like.
Meanwhile, the growing tension between the US and its trade partners flared up once again Thursday. China was given some respite while Mexico once again came into the focus. Following President Trump's signing of the executive order on the border wall with its neighbor to the south, the strained relationship seemed to snap with a cancelled diplomatic visit and the threat of a 20 percent tariff on all Mexican imports into the US. Despite these escalations, USD/MXN volatility was surprisingly restrained. A walk back by the press secretary on it translating into policy showed how erratic policy would be as a market theme. There is plenty more fuel for this global fire to burn in the weeks and months ahead.
Top event risk through the final sesison of the trading week comes in both data and event form. The key listing is the US 4 GDP reading. This report will struggle for impact due to the shifting concentration of market focus. A reading that is close to forecast will certainly lack for impact if the UK data is any indication. However, a significant surprise may shake loose complacency. Risk trends remains the ticking bomb however. The S&P 500's rally has stalled just as quickly as it developed. In turn, volatility measured by the VIX is still extremely low - with short-term measures and volatility-of-volatility at even more extraordinary levels. If risk trends or further political swing doesn't rouse the market before the weekend, the listings beyond the liquidity break will stage another sizable threat.