Marius Paun | London, UK | Senior dealer | Friday, 21st June 2019
Gold made a break above the $1350 – $1360 area which has offered solid resistance for the last few years, reaching $1400 level. The move came after the Federal Reserve hinted it will soften its monetary policy thus hurting the greenback.
China has cut its holdings of US Treasury by $7.5 billion in April to $1.11 trillion, the lowest mark in almost two years according to Bloomberg. At the same time People’s Bank of China added 240 billion yuan into the banking system, via a one-year (medium term) lending facility, in an attempt to increase banking liquidity. To further counter the US tariffs and limit the damage on its economy, China has lowered duties on non-US imports.
The US Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged in a range between 2.25% – 2.5%, as anticipated, but added the economic activity has been rising at a moderate pace (changed from ‘solid pace’ last month). Chair Powell acknowledged that inflation dropped, trade risks have grown but ‘he wanted to see more’ before cutting. Markets have now almost fully priced in a rate cut of 25 basis points in July with further cuts expected to follow. Quite a turnaround over the year..
After dropping to a recent low of 1.25 to the dollar, the pound sterling managed a small rebound following steady inflation data with CPI figures coming in at +2.0%, in line with consensus. However, selling pressure remains with the continues political uncertainty. On Thursday, the Bank of England left its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.75% with overall language also remaining the same.
Meanwhile ECB President Mario Draghi said more rate cuts are part of the central bank’s key tools, joining the US Fed in taking a renewed dovish stance. Ironically, such actions attracted indignation from President Trump who tweeted that ‘ECB chief remarks make it unfairly easier for them to compete against the US’.
Reserve Bank of Australia has released its June 2019 monetary policy board meeting minutes saying further easing would be appropriate. The labour market, in particular, would be expected to bear the most weight, although lower rates are expected to push down the value of Aussie dollar.
Marius Paun | London, UK | Senior dealer | Friday, 14th June 2019
It seems the US has reached an agreement with Mexico and President Donald Trump has now tweeted that tariffs would be suspended indefinitely. So much for ‘tariffs are a beautiful thing’ then… As a result, the greenback was given a lift, despite the weakest US employment report released less than 24 hours before. Later this month we could see the re-opening of negotiations between China and US at the G20 meeting, although it’s widely understood that a resolution of trade tensions between these two will require a lot more effort.
We saw a larger than anticipated trade surplus for China in May due to higher than expected exports (despite trade dispute escalation), coupled with lower than expected imports. At the same time, Chinese state-owned Bank of Communications International said ‘weakened valuation of the yuan is decided by the recent tough trade environment China is facing’ but added that they believe the yuan will drop below 7 within 3 months.
The race for the UK Prime Minister has seen the first round of voting which the clear favourite, Boris Johnson, has won by quite some margin after promising an income tax cut. He has already expressed his views that Brexit will happen on October 31 with or without a deal. However, despite previous concerns about a possible hard Brexit hurting the pound, cable (GBPUSD) was trading conditions were stable, around 1.2650, Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the ECB officials are starting to fear the market is losing confidence in the region inflation’s control which could force another round of stimulus to re-establish control. So much so that governing council member Olli Rehn said the central bank could strengthen forward guidance, cut interest rates and relaunch quantitative easing.
Australia’s (May) employment data release showed mixed signals, with an addition of 42.3k jobs (hugely above the expectation for 16k gain), while unemployment rate came in at 5.2% versus 5.1% prediction. Aussie dollar moved lower with many now seeing an increased chance for further easing in the coming months.