I attended an event yesterday where the key speaker was Nick Leeson. Now I know you have to be of a certain 'maturity' shall we say, to remember the man who broke Barings Bank in 1995 but I am of that age and I was unsure what to expect but we encountered a humble honest and interesting man who accepts what he has done and has paid the price in a jail term, the loss of his wife and livelihood and has had to beat cancer on the way. One of his anecdotes was the introduction he received at a previous after dinner speech when he was described as the only man who has ever written a cheque and made the bank bounce.
German industrial production was weaker than expected in August. We are already seeing the effects of Chinese and therefore Asian markets slowing and we have yet to see the impact of VW's diesel cheating news. None of which bodes well for the Euro. The Euro is now poised in anticipation of the release of the minutes from the last ECB meeting but we know pretty much everything that was discussed by now, so I doubt the Euro will do much more than flicker when the release takes place at 11.30 GMT.
By way of a slight contrast, the UK industrial production data was ahead of forecasts and marked the first growth in 3 months. That was largely attributable to car production but who cares where the growth comes from as long as there is growth eh! Sterling was less well supported by the slowdown in the house market. The RICS survey asks estate agents whether they see house prices rising or falling and last month's report showed that on balance 53% saw prices rising whereas that fell to just 44% in September. They cite the lack of properties on the markets as deterring potential buyers from even looking. Seems an odd cause and effect but I am sure they know what they are saying. In amongst this diversity of data, the Pound rebounded to some degree; gaining in most exchange rates. There is little doubt the Bank of England will leave the base rate on hold today but stranger things happened.
The US Dollar story is dominated by the US Federal Reserve today. We are awaiting speeches from several regional Fed Chairmen and we get the minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting this evening. The speculation over when and by how much the Federal Reserve will start raising their base rate is feverish, so their every nuance and intonation will be picked over in fine detail when the minutes hit the web at 18.00 GMT.
I am a great fan of irony and nothing is more ironic than a pair of images circulating on the interweb right now. The first is a picture of a baseball cap with the slogan 'Make America Great Again' emblazoned across the front and the second image is the inside of the cap with a washing label stating 'Made in China'. Awesome.
Over the fence
Little Tim was in the garden filling in a hole when his neighbour peered over the fence. Interested in what the youngster was up to, he politely asked, "What are you up to there, Tim?" "My goldfish died," replied Tim tearfully, without looking up," and I've just buried him." The neighbour was concerned. "Sorry to hear that. That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish though." Tim patted down the last heap of earth then replied, "Yes, that's because he's inside your cat."