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Brexit and US politics centre stage again

Published: Friday 09 March 2018

  • Sterling recovers ahead of industrial production and manufacturing data
  • Canadian Dollar boosted by ‘no steel tariff’ announcement by US
  • Forecast fall in US unemployment rate likely to boost USD
​​By David Johnson

European growth projection fails to lift Euro
The European Central Bank (ECB) did as expected and left their base rate on hold on Thursday and they look set to maintain that 0.25% base level for quite some time. The Euro weakened a little on the news but there was nothing seismic going on. The ECB did up its economic growth projection for the Eurozone from 2.3% to 2.4% for this financial year.
Canadian Dollar gets a boost
Canadian housing starts were better than expected and the Canadian Dollar reflect that. Again though, the fluctuation in the value of the CAD was not significant until the US president agreed to exempt Canada from his vaunted import tariffs on steel and aluminium. By the end of yesterday, the Canadian Dollar had gained two cents against the Pound. 
This US President is a lot of things, some of which are unprintable, but he is also an enigma. His proclamation that Canada and Mexico (the one he wants to brick up) were exempted from his proposed import taxes, he went on to offer all other countries the opportunity to beg for similar exemptions.  How very magnanimous of him.
Pound could get more good news today
Sterling had a pretty good day in spite of EU Council President Tusk handing out yet more threats that the UK has to get to grips with the Northern Ireland issue before further talks can take place. He is becoming a bit of a bore. I wouldn’t make a good diplomat. I would be tempted to tell him to naff off and leave without another word. The story that got very little notice over the last week was the internal coup within the EU, mounted by Jean-Claud Juncker’s buddy, Martin Selmayr. Jean Quatremer covered the installation of this unelected bureaucrat to the Secretary-General rather well in The Spectator. It is well worth a read. The Pound faces UK industrial and manufacturing data today, but the forecasts are rather positive, so the Pound might break above €1.1250 and $1.3850.
All eyes on US employment report this afternoon
Today’s big news is the US employment report. Another 200,000 jobs are expected to have been created in February and the US unemployment rate is expected to have fallen to 4.0%, which is about as near to full employment as you are ever likely to see. That would boost the US Dollar and make the Pound’s chances of breaking through $1.3850 a good deal tougher.
Flying in the face of… Brexit?
And Ryanair boss O’Leary has said he will boycott flights in and out of the UK to try to make the Brexit voters see sense and change their views.  Notwithstanding the fact that he plans to do this after Brexit when any change of heart would be pointless and the fact that there is no mechanism for another referendum, there are other airlines, Mr O’Leary, and ones that go to the actual cities they advertise and don’t charge extra for families to sit next to each other. Couldn’t the British aviation authorities just pull his licences and be done with the man?

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

I used to think that air was free until I bought a bag of crisps.

Today's Major Economic Releases

Market BST Data/Event Previous Expected
GBP 09:30 UK: Manufacturing Production 0.3% 0.2%
GBP 09:30 UK: Goods Trade Balance -13.6b -12.0b
GBP 09:30 UK: Construction Output 1.6% -0.4%
GBP 09:30 UK: Industrial Production -1.3% 1.5%
GBP 09:30 UK: Consumer Inflation Expectations 2.9% 2.9%
CAD 13:30 Canada: Unemployment Rate 5.9% 5.9%
CAD 13:30 Canada: Employment Change -88.0k 21.3k
USD 13:30 US: Average Hourly Earnings 0.3% 0.2%
USD 13:30 US: Non-Farm Employment Change 200k 205k
USD 13:30 US: Unemployment Rate 4.1% 4.0%

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