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March 2016

Sterling up against expectations

Published: Wednesday 02 March 2016

  • Sterling up against expectations
  • Aussie economic growth beats forecasts
  • Oil stabilises as production is controlled
     
Super Tuesday in America seems to have produced clear evidence that Americans will get to choose between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump and the next President. Good luck America.
 
The Australian economy grew at a better than expected 0.6% in the last three months of 2015. That caught traders by surprise and, although the data is two months old now, the Australian Dollar was boosted by the news. The AUD would also have been boosted by news that the oil producing nations have finally agreed to work together to rein in volatility to address the dire state of the price of oil.  That move also boosted the Canadian Dollar and the currencies of oil producing nations. That includes the UK.
 
In spite of the worst manufacturing sentiment index in 34 months, Sterling was up even against the US Dollar but the US currency tends to weaken when commodity prices strengthen due to the fact that those commodities are traded in Dollars and a stronger asset means the base currency can weaken. But the US manufacturing sector was less negative this month and construction spending rose significantly. Traders are obviously not yet impressed by the statistics. Maybe it is the Trump/Clinton factor. This evening brings the publication of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book; a regional review of the US economy. That is always interesting to view in spite of its bland name.
 
The Eurozone manufacturing index was a tad better than the previous month but still in the doldrums. We will get Eurozone producer price data this morning and a speech from an ECB board member later. The Euro is unlikely to be very volatile with so little hard data for traders to act upon.
 
Today also brings two speeches from Bank of England MPC members and a construction sector sentiment index. Sterling is poised to react but the dreaded claims and counter-claims over EU membership still harangue the Pound.
 
But we don't need to worry about all this; apparently the end of the world is nigh. So say some who have witnessed millions of beetles swarm all over beaches in Mar de Ajo, Argentina. The plague of beetles appears to consist of Black Maize Beetles which are known to swarm at certain times of the year but this year's swarm is very large indeed; prompting the doom merchants to spread the news of the end of time. Before we get carried away though, can I suggest we just don't go to that beach until they are all swarmed out eh!
 

Worth pulling over

 
A police officer, parked outside a bar noticed a man leaving the building very carefully because he can barely walk. The man stumbled around the car park for a few minutes with the officer quietly observing.
 
After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off. Finally, he got into the car and started the engine, switched the wipers on and off, flicked the indicators and hazard lights on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left; manoeuvring around him.
 
Finally, when everyone else had moved away, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road. The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a Breathalyzer test. To his amazement, the Breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said, 'I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This Breathalyzer equipment must be broken.'
 
'I seriously doubt it', said the guy. "I haven't had a drop to drink all evening."
 
"Yeah right. That's the first time I have seen a designated driver behave like you did", says the laughing cop.
 
The guy smiles at the officer. "No constable, tonight I'm the designated decoy.'

FX Research by David Johnson

Daily Currency Analysis with Michael Hart

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