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May 2016

Aussie consumer confidence sharply higher

Published: Wednesday 11 May 2016

  • Aussie consumer confidence sharply higher
  • UK data should weaken
  • GBPEU prepares for possible Brexit
It must be hard when you run a country which is fantastically corrupt to hear the British Prime Minister confirm it in an unguarded comment. This was referred to as 'undiplomatic' but some reporters it does suggest that the antonym for 'diplomacy' is in fact 'truth'. That says a lot.
 
The Australian Dollar paused from its recent declines overnight after consumer confidence was reported to have rocketed higher in May. There is a technical level at A$1.97 against the Pound which correlates to a downward trend that has been in place since last August and that is capping the GBP-AUD exchange rate right now. Further positive news from Oz would give room for the Pound to slip back to around A$1.90 without too much trouble.
 
For its part, the Pound is treading water on most fronts as the various arguments are made for and against EU membership. The European Central Bank has asked all European banks to submit their plans for a potential Brexit and polls show that a growing number of Europeans would like a vote on membership themselves. So the debate isn't just about the UK and the removal of Britain's contribution to the EU budget is a real concern for the rest of Europe as well. I read a report this morning suggesting Germans are very worried because Britain is one of the few net contributors to the EU budget and if the UK's £8.5 billion net contribution falls out of the pot, Germany may have to spend even more. That's not a popular notion and Angela Merkel is already falling sharply in the ratings. 64% of respondents in a German poll said they did not want her as Chancellor after the 2017 election. Meanwhile Greece has voted in another round of damaging austerity measures and is in the depths of debt negotiations and deflation and potential recession are being discussed in Europe as the Eurozone economy fails to recover.
 
UK data today includes, what ought to be, rather negative industrial and manufacturing production figures but many believe the figures will; not be as bad as last month's data, so Sterling has room to strengthen if that is so. We will also get a testimony from Chancellor Osborne to the Treasury Select Committee but all of that is a mere prelude to tomorrow's Bank of England blitz. No change is expected in the interest rate decision but the tone and mood of their statement and minutes will be the highlight. Sad isn't it that traders can get so animated over the words of a few central bankers but such is our lot. Any hint that they believe interest rates could rise with or without a Brexit vote or hints that a cut is inevitable after such a result will sway the tremulous Pound.
 
The rest of the day is fairly quiet on the data front. I'll leave you with the story of a woman who wrote on Mumsnet that she gave a £100 gift to a couple at their wedding when they asked for cash rather than gifts. However, she was shocked to receive an email from the newlyweds after the event requesting she increase her gift through the euphemism, "if you wanted to send an adjustment, it would be thankfully received." Sometimes, very rarely, words fail me.
 

Tragedy

 
During one of his campaign trips Donald Trump is visiting an elementary school and goes into one of the classes. They are in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.
The teacher asks Mr. Trump if he would like to lead the discussion of the word “Tragedy.” So he asks the class for an example of a tragedy.
One little boy stands up and offers: “If my best friend who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a runaway tractor comes along and knocks him dead, that would be a tragedy.”
 “No,” says Mr. Trump, “that would be an accident.”
A little girl raises her hand: “If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.”
 “I’m afraid not,” explains the exalted businessman. “That’s what we would call a great loss.”
The room goes silent. No other children volunteer. Mr. Trump searches the room.
 “Isn’t there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?”
Finally at the back of the room, a boy raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says: “If a private jet carrying you exploded in mid-air, that would be a tragedy.”
“Fantastic!” exclaims Mr. Trump, “That’s absolutely right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?” "Well" says the boy, "because it wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be an accident either."
 
Thank you for this Philip
 

Today's Major Economic Releases

 
Market BST Data/Event Previous Expected
GBP 09:30 UK: Manufacturing production m/m -1.1 0.4
GBP 09:30 UK: Industrial production m/m -0.3 0.7
USD 15:30 US: Crude oil inventories 2.8 0.1
USD 19:00 US: Federal budget balance -108.0 116.2
NZD 23:30 New Zealand: Business NZ manufacturing index 54.7 54.7

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