I was away when the office Rugby World Cup sweepstakes were drawn but a name was pulled out of the hat for me. Ordinarily I wouldn't have been too concerned about the success of the Romanian Team but they are now my new best friends. Sadly, I don't think I am in for a win.
There is a lot of uncertainty around the globe. The fall in Chinese economic activity has caused ripples of negativity amongst manufacturers in other countries and purchasing managers indices have slipped. France was the exception with the French manufacturing confidence index hitting a 4 year high. To be fair, that was coming from a poor start5ing point but it is a little positive influence on the euro in amongst lots of negative ones. As I write we are expecting the German IFO index and that is likely to be lower; especially as China is a big export market for Germany and the VW issue is likely to have a negative impact as well.
Oddly, the Sterling - Euro exchange rate is still at the bottom of its recent ranges and some analysts and traders are suggesting this is a 'basing' exercise as the pound readies itself for another rally. They may be right but there is scope for Sterling to slip to €1.34 and still be in the upward trend, so be careful. The lack of UK data today would suggest we won't be seeing a rally in this trading session.
In fact today is quite quiet as far as data is concerned but we will get US durable goods orders and new home sales data this afternoon. The US Dollar is benefitting from the fall in commodity prices and we can see that in almost all the USD exchange rates. GBPUSD is in the 1.52 range and the EURUSD rate is hanging below 1.12. There is room for this latter pair to fall to 1.10 without changing the overall upward direction but the range so far this year has only been 12 cents from the high to the low and we are slap bang in the middle of that range as I write.
As the markets start to speculate on how much extra stimulus will be delivered by central banks in response to the Chinese slowdown and its impact, we have to assume the latter part of the year will be increasingly volatile.
But we don't need to worry about that because the rare 'blood moon' due on September 28th is going to destroy the world...apparently. This will be the 4th blood moon in a row and will herald earthquakes that will cause the end of the world according to two American preachers. Let's hope they are wrong. It's my daughter's birthday on the 4th and I would hate to miss that.
Two cops are sitting by the side of the A20 checking for speeding motorists when a Nissan Micra potters along towards them doing exactly 20 miles an hour. There is a long tailback behind it, so the coppers think they'll have a word with the driver because obstructing the cariiageway can be as dangerous as speeding.
When they pull the car over, the driver is an elderly lady who looks perfectly sober but her passengers all look terrified.
"Why are you travelling so slowly?" says the copper.
"I don' understand," says the old girl. "I was doing exactly the speed limit. 20MPH."
The copper sees the problem, "No that's the road number my love. The road is the A20. That 20 isn't the speed limit. The speed limit on this stretch is 60MPH."
"Oh, I am so sorry," says the old lady. "I'll speed up. Sorry for the inconvenience officer."
"No problem, "Says the copper, "but what has happened to make your passengers look so traumatised?"
"They'll be OK in a minute of two," says the old girl. "We've just come off the A224."