The Weekly Wrap – Brexit, COVID-19, and U.S Politics Drive the Majors

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The Stats

It was a busier week on the economic calendar, in the week ending 16th October.

A total of 56 stats were monitored, following 43 stats from the week prior.

Of the 56 stats, 24 came in ahead of forecasts, with 21 economic indicators came up short of forecasts. 11 stats were in line with forecasts in the week.

Looking at the numbers, 20 of the stats also reflected an upward trend from previous figures. Of the remaining 36 stats, 27 reflected a deterioration from previous.

For the Greenback, it was back into the green after 2 consecutive weeks in the red. The Dollar Spot Index rose by 0.67% to 93.682. In the week ending 9th October, the Dollar Spot Index had fallen by 0.87% to 93.057.

Market risk appetite waned in the week. There were a number of factors driving demand for the Dollar. A lack of progress towards a U.S stimulus bill and a spike in COVID-19 cases were front and center in the week.

Disappointing economic data and Brexit woes also supported the demand for the safety of the Dollar.

Out of the U.S

It was a relatively busy week on the economic data front.

Inflation figures drew interest early in the week. In the 2nd half of the week, however, jobless claims and retail sales figures were the key drivers. Prelim October consumer sentiment figures were also in focus late on Friday.

In the week ending 9th October, initial jobless claims stood at 898k, which was up from 845k from the week prior. The numbers reinforced the view that the labor market recovery had stalled.

A combination of dire labor market conditions, rising new COVID-19 cases, and a lack of further stimulus was a bad combination.

At the end of the week, retail sales impressed, however. In September, retail sales rose by 1.9%, with core retail sales rising by 1.5%. Economists had forecasted increases of 0.5% and 0.7% respectively.

Aligned with the retail sales figures was a further pickup in consumer sentiment. The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose from 80.4 to 81.2 in October, according to prelim figures. The Expectations Index increased from 75.6 to 78.8.

The only negative on the day was an unexpected 0.6% fall in industrial production.

In the equity markets, the NASDAQ rose by 0.79%, with the Dow and S&P500 gaining 0.07% and 0.19% respectively.

Out of the UK

It was a relatively busy week on the economic data front.

Key stats included August unemployment rate and employment change and September claimant count figures.

While claimant counts came in lower than expected, employment fell by more than expected over the 3-months to August.

A 153k fall in employment led to an increase in the unemployment rate from 4.1% to 4.5%.

While the stats provided direction, it was ultimately Brexit and COVID-19 that sank the Pound in the week.

A continued rise in new COVID-19 cases and a new round of containment measures were Pound negative.

More significantly, however, was a lack of progress towards a Brexit agreement, with the EU pushing for more talks next week.

On Friday, Boris Johnson announced that it was time to prepare for a no-trade deal Brexit unless the EU changed its stance. Downing Street also stated that there was no point in EU negotiator Michel Barnier returning to London in the week ahead.

In the week, the Pound fell by 0.93% to $1.2915. In the week prior, the Pound had risen by 0.78% to $1.3036.

The FTSE100 ended the week down by 1.61%, partially reversing a 1.94% gain from the previous week.

Out of the Eurozone

It was a relatively busy week on the economic data front.

Early in the week, key stats included ZEW Economic Sentiment figures for the Eurozone and Germany.

The indicators flashed red for October. Germany’s Economic Sentiment Indicator fell from 77.4 to 56.1, with the Eurozone’s falling from 73.9 to 52.3. A lack of progress on Brexit and jitters over the U.S Presidential Election weighed in October.

Mid-week, industrial production figures for the Eurozone came up short of expectations, rising by just 0.7%. In July, production had jumped by 5.0%.

In the 2nd half of the week, Eurozone trade data and finalized inflation figures for September were in focus.

Inflation figures reaffirmed market concern over deflationary pressures. Trade data also failed to impress, with the Eurozone’s trade surplus narrowing from €27.9bn to €14.7bn in August.

While the stats provided direction, a marked increase in new COVID-19 cases weighed on the EUR in the week. France and other member states were forced to reintroduce containment measures amidst the 2nd wave.

For the week, the EUR fell by 0.91% to $1.1718. In the week prior, the EUR had risen by 0.94% to $1.1826.

For the European major indexes, it was a bearish week. The CAC40 and EuroStoxx600 fell by 0.22% and by 0.77% respectively, with the DAX30 declining by 1.09%.

For the Loonie

It was a quiet week on the economic data front.

Key stats included August’s foreign security purchases and manufacturing sales figures.

Neither set of numbers had an impact, however, as the fresh spike in new COVID-19 cases weighed on market risk sentiment.

The threat of a reintroduction of lockdown measures pegged back crude oil prices in the week.

In the week ending 16th October, the Loonie fell by 0.52% to end the week at C$1.3189. In the week prior, the Loonie had risen by 0.87%.

Elsewhere

It was a bearish week for the Aussie Dollar and the Kiwi Dollar.

In the week ending 16th October, the Aussie Dollar slid by 2.20% to $0.7081. The Kiwi Dollar ended the week down by a more modest 0.96% to $0.6602.

For the Aussie Dollar

It was a relatively quiet week on the economic calendar.

Key stats consumer confidence and employment figures.

It was a mixed bag for the Aussie Dollar. While consumer confidence continued to improve, employment figures were somewhat disappointing.

The unemployment rate rose from 6.8% to 6.9%, driven by a 29.5k fall in employment.

For the Aussie Dollar, it was ultimately market sentiment towards monetary policy and risk aversion that did the damage. There is the talk of an RBA next month…

For the Kiwi Dollar

It was a relatively quiet week on the economic calendar.

Key stats included electronic card retail sales figures and business PMI numbers.

The stats were Kiwi Dollar positive, with retail sales up by 5.4% and the PMI rising from 50.7 to 54.0.

While positive, however, market risk aversion pegged the Kiwi Dollar back in the week.

For the Japanese Yen

It was also a relatively quiet week on the economic calendar.

August’s core machinery orders and finalized industrial production figures were in focus.

The stats were skewed to the negative in the week. Core machinery orders rose by just 0.2%, following a 6.3% jump in July. Industrial production was revised down from 1.7% to 1.0%.

Ultimately, however, it was market risk sentiment that delivered the support for the Yen.

The Japanese Yen rose by 0.21% to ¥105.4 against the U.S Dollar. In the week prior, the Yen had fallen by 0.31%.

Out of China

It was a relatively busy week on the economic data front following last week’s holiday.

Key stats included September’s trade data and inflation figures, which were skewed to the negative.

China’s U.S Dollar trade surplus narrowed from $58.93bn to $37.00bn, driven by a 13.2% jump in imports. Exports rose by a more modest 9.9%.

Inflationary pressures also softened at the end of the quarter. China’s annual rate of inflation softened from 2.4% to 1.7% in September. Wholesale deflationary pressures picked up marginally. The producer price index fell by 2.1%, following a 2.0% decline in August.

In the week ending 16th October, the Chinese Yuan slipped by 0.04% to CNY6.6976. In the week prior, the Yuan had risen by 1.42%.

The CSI300 rose by 2.36%, with the Hang Seng gaining 1.11%.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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