Austria has called an impromptu election to take place in October. This announcement follows months of inaction as a result of disputes within the ruling coalition. An election in itself is not too significant, but it may lead to the far right Freedom Party taking power. That’s a worry for the EU, which dodged a bullet in the French election and thought it just had to get past the German one to be home free for now. It hasn’t hampered the Euro, which has pushed Sterling down into the €1.16 area and pressed above the $1.10 mark. An improvement in German business sentiment helped. We’ll get a speech from German Chancellor Angela Merkel today and we’ll see Eurozone inflation data for April.
Other than against the Euro, Sterling stood its ground elsewhere. The Pound is still pushing the underside of USD 1.30 and is up against other currencies. This morning’s employment report from the UK will be the trigger for further GBP strength if the unemployment rate drops below 4.7% and/or the average earnings rise is above 2.2%.
The US Dollar is weaker elsewhere, though, in spite of a fall in the price of crude oil due to larger stockpiles in the US. There is a dearth of US data today, so a little more USD weakness could be on the cards.
Overnight, we received the news that Australian consumer confidence fell again in May, as housing worried and family finance concerns weighed on the minds of consumers. An index reading below 100 is cause for concern and May’s figure was 98.0. The Australian Dollar slipped on the news, as you might expect it to.
And in probably the saddest and strangest incident I have seen this year, NBC is reporting that an 89 year old Florida man died when he crashed into a fire hydrant. It wasn’t the crash that killed him – he got out of the car – but the water pressure of the hydrant was so great that it sucked him into the flow and he drowned. Truly bizarre.
Robin Williams Jokes
“Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.”
“Politics: Poli, a Latin word meaning many; and tics, meaning, bloodsucking creatures.”
“If it’s the Psychic Network, why do they need a phone number?”
“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”
“You know, you get that tattoo of barbed wire when you’re 18, but by the time you’re 80, it’s a picket fence.”