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September 2015

Daily Currency Insight

Published: Wednesday 23 September 2015

Whether they drive a petrol, diesel or hybrid, I doubt anyone has ever achieved the MPG figures that their car is supposed to deliver. So, whilst the revelations about VW's cynical manipulation of the emissions data are dreadful, I am sure few of us are surprised. You'd have to push my car everywhere to get the manufacturer's figures but I guess I would lose some weight, so maybe it's a plan.

There were other figures out yesterday; UK public sector borrowing edged higher last month; against the run of play and against forecasts of a slight fall. We also heard from the Confederation of British Industry which reported a very poor industrial trends index. The minus 7 figure was worse than the minus 5 figure most had expected and this signifies a mildly pessimistic view amongst companies of their likely future orders. Sterling slipped a little on the news but not so much as to worry traders.

The EU consumer confidence index was weaker than expected and the euro slipped a little on that news but the Sterling - Euro rate seems to be welded to the €1.38 level. Today's data is unlikely to break that bond.

China's manufacturing purchasing manager's index fell to six year low this month and that has knocked the confidence of traders who deal in the currencies of the major commodity providers. That's kind of inevitable, given China's eminence in the world of commodity consumption and a fall like this in the index (47.5 indicates contraction of demand) is bound to drop the value of commodities.

That drop tends to strengthen the US Dollar though. We have already seen the US Dollar strengthen by 2% or more this week but be ready for further USD strength in the days ahead.  The caveat to that is whether this afternoon's US manufacturing PMI is better than the 53.0 reading many are predicting.

The South Africa Reserve Bank is due to make a decision on interest rates today and they will get the domestic inflation data to help with that decision. In the end, they are most likely to leave the base rate at the already elevated 6.0% but that won't be enough to strengthen the Rand which is at record levels of weakness due to South Africa's reliance on income from commodity exports.

And, if you want to stay alive, you don't need to be worried about sharks. Worry about taking selfies. In the past year, 8 people have been killed in shark attacks around the world - far fewer than the press hype would suggest - but 12 have died as they sought the perfect angle for their mobile phone self-portrait. They have fall from the Taj Mahal, fallen down many other drops and one teenager shot himself whilst trying to take a selfie with a gun in his hand. I assume he pressed the wrong trigger. So maybe it isn't selfies per se that are the problem after all - maybe it is stupidity.

One way traffic

A woman is waiting for her 75 year old mother to visit when she hears the traffic report on the radio and starts to worry. She calls her mum on her Car-phone.
"Hey mum, are you OK? They said on the radio there was a lunatic driving down the wrong side of the M25 and I know you come that way."
"It's worse than that," says her mother with panic in her voice, "there are hundreds of the idiots across all three lanes."