The pound had a turbulent second half of last week, on Wednesday it nearly equaled the year high against the dollar before dropping a percent and a half. Cable then repeated this pattern over the course of Thursday afternoon and into Friday. Against the euro we saw a similar volatility of 1.4% towards the back end of the week, with the pound reaching a monthly high of 1.1180. Data wise we saw CPI being released on Wednesday at 1%, beating the consensus of 0.6% and on Friday another positive data release with UK services PMI. This is one of the most important PMIs for the UK due to the economy being services driven. The seventh round of Brexit negotiations did not lead to any major break through with politicians on both sides doing very little to hide this fact.
This week the economic calendar for GBP has only two events worth mentioning, both speeches from the BOE. On Tuesday Andrew Haldane, the chief economist for the bank of England is due to speak at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Webinar. Then on Friday, the Bank of England Governor Andrew Baily will be speaking at the Jackson Hole economic policy Symposium via webcam. Markets will be looking out for any suggestion of negatives rates in the near future and the pound will weaken off the back of it.
The dollar index saw a fresh low of 92.12 last week but then quickly recovered. The FED minutes on Wednesday pointed to considerable concern about the outlook of the US economy is the second half of 2020 which led to a sell of US equity markets and a flight to safety in cash and treasury bills giving the greenback some short term strength through demand instead of optimism for the currency.
Next week progress on the next US stimulus plan will be watched closely as will a Jackson Hole speech from Fed Chair Powell on Thursday. With the theme of Jackson Hole being “navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy” with investors looking understand what conditions will lead to yield curve control. The US had a busy economic calendar with a wide range of data released through the week. The main events are: durable goods order and non-defense capital goods orders on Wednesday; Q2 annualized GDP and Powell’s speech mention above on Thursday; the rest of Jackson Hole on Friday.
The euro was the worst performing G10 currency last week as investors started to reevaluate the economic recovery. This was due to two reasons, firstly poor PMI figures from Germany, France and the combined EU, with all PMIs falling short of the consensus. Secondly the ECB meeting accounts pointed out that recent positive economic developments were “not fully backed by economic data”. This led to the most traded currency pair EUR/USD finishing the week 1.5% down from the two year high it hit on Tuesday.
Europe also has a quiet economic calendar with only a smattering of data out of Germany on Tuesday and Friday worth mentioning. German GDP numbers are released on Tuesday and the index of consumer prices on Friday. Markets will be watching this to see if the data supports a “V shaped” recovery but will also be keeping a keen eye on COVID numbers, as the rising levels in mainland Europe look to deter the recovery.