Sterling remains strong ahead of UK retail data

Today's Highlights

  • Sterling remains strong ahead of UK retail data

  • NZD unchanged by slip in consumer confidence

  • French PMI hits 71 month high


Current Market Overview

Yet another murderous fanatic has paid the price for his attack on French police but not before he killed one officer and injured others. I guess we must all be grateful we don’t understand what would possess someone to take such meaningless violence onto the streets. That’s what marks the rest of us out as sane.
New Zealand consumer confidence slipped a little in April but remains at average levels. Most analysts seem to expect the RBNZ to start raising interest rates in the early part of 2018 and not before. The NZ Dollar remains surprisingly strong in spite of that but slowing housing prices in Auckland and elsewhere have taken the shine off consumer optimism.
The French Purchasing Managers’ Indices came out much better than expected this morning; in fact the manufacturing sector index is at a 71 month high. We await the German and EU data this morning and the forecasts are good. Perhaps the Euro will pick up some strength from that but nervousness ahead of the 1st round of the French Presidential election will temper any positive-Euro vibe, even though Marine Le Pen has committed to a referendum before taking France out of the Euro.
We’ll get the UK retail sales data this morning as well. The markets are looking for a small dip after last month’s very positive 1.4% rise. However, improved weather could have tipped the high street sales into a positive figure. Sterling is riding high but struggling to get above solid resistance at €1.20 and $1.30. If those levels were to break though, there is loads of upward momentum due to be unleashed. Any hint of BOE rate hikes would do it and positive consumer activity is a good catalyst for that.
This afternoon brings Canadian inflation data and a little dip from the previous 2.0% level is forecast. The Canadian Dollar has slipped a little of late, in line with US Dollar weakness and in the absence of major commodity rises. Perhaps lower inflation would cause the Canadian Dollar to slip through to C$1.75 against the Pound.
And Happy Birthday Ma’am. It is her Majesty the Queen’s 91st Birthday today (the real one, not the procession one) and, may I say you are looking very well on it Your Highness. This is also the day that it is believed Rome was founded, Henry VIII came to the throne, Manfred von Richthofen, ‘The Red Baron’ was killed and it is the day that Mark Twain (real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens, passed away. One of my favourite Mark Twain quotes is “I am an old man and have known many troubles but most of them never happened,” oh and he wrote, ‘I didn’t attend the funeral but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

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