Only 30 sleeps to Christmas and 17 to the Brexit vote. We can only dream the turnout is as huge as the 71% of Hong Kong citizens who turned out, queued for hours and gave the establishment a bloody nose by rejecting the old guard. With that kind of participation and a decisive result, maybe the debate over what the British public believed or did not believe in June 2016 can be put to rest. The Hong Kong Dollar, which had been gently strengthening over the past few weeks, weakened significantly as the results were announced. Clearly no one believes this is the end of Hong Kong’s problems.
The markets largely ignored the launch of the Labour party’s big spending manifesto yesterday. A Tory majority is roughly a 2:1 bet in the financial markets, so labour’s plans are seen as a wish list which is unlikely to be fulfilled but there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip as grandmothers used to say. Hence. Sterling is pretty much where it was at the start of yesterday’s trade. That may change when we see this morning’s manufacturing and service sector PMI releases. The ‘no change’ point in these index is 50. Last month’s manufacturing reading was 49.6 and the service one was a flat 50.0. Anything above that will be good for the Pound.
The data diary for the US is light this week, in the run up to the Thanksgiving holiday, but some key announcements include Tuesday’s home construction figures and the Jobless Claims report due on Thursday. Housing starts showed a drop for September, which was hoped to be a temporary blip, so those keeping a close eye on the US markets will have been relieved to see a significant rebound this time around, with building permits up to the highest level since 2007.
Signs of political shifts are the focus for UK news in the run up to the General Election. It seems from a new poll that more “working classes” are supporting the Conservative Party, rather than their traditional supporter base of “upper classes”. A survey by ComRes for The Daily Telegraph reported an eight percent increase in voters in the DE socio-economic group are willing to vote for the Conservatives in the 12th December election, compared to the previous election in 2017. In contrast, the number of voters in the AB group saying they support Boris Johnson’s party has fallen by six percent since they voted for Theresa May’s Conservatives in 2017, and the Centre for Social Justice has also found in their survey last week that support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has fallen ten percent with voters on a total income below £17,000.
The week started slowly on the data and economic front, with Veterans Day in the USA and a number of public holidays across the globe to remember those we lost in past conflicts. This didn’t stop currency or stock markets from moving, however, or indeed stop politics from influencing these market movements.
The Conservative Party extended their lead in most polls after the Brexit party’s decision to stand down most of their candidates. Nigel Farage is suggesting the Tories should stand down their own candidates in constituencies where they haven’t won for 100 years to improve the Brexit party’s chances where they are fielding candidates. Either way, the Pound held on to its gains yesterday after the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, but average earnings growth slowed to 3.6%; lower, but still more than double the rate of inflation. Speaking of which, we will get the UK consumer price inflation data this morning. Something like 1.7% is the most likely outcome. Sterling should maintain its strength unless the actual data disappoints.
Nigel Farage gave Sterling a boost yesterday by announcing that he will not field candidates in Conservative held seats but will challenge labour seats with Brexit party candidates. Sterling’s rise doesn’t necessarily mean the markets favour the Tory party, as some have suggested. It does mean though that the certainty that comes from an overall majority is more to the liking of finance markets that hung parliaments or minority governments and the uncertainty those outcomes elicit.