Euro sinks to fresh three month low ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC meeting

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1 May 2018

thomasdodds

The Euro continued on its recent torrid run against the US Dollar as markets opened for the week on Monday, slipping to a fresh three-and-a-half month versus the greenback.

A
slightly underwhelming set of macroeconomic data out on Monday suggested that conditions could be worsening in the Eurozone. German inflation figures came in unchanged at 1.6% for April, although Italian headline inflation slowed sharply to just 0.5% versus the 0.7% consensus, its joint slowest pace in fourteen months. This bodes ill for Thursday’s Euro-area wide number, with an undershooting consensus here likely to heap further pressure on the European Central Bank to continue its asset purchasing programme beyond its existing September 2018 end date.

Today bodes to be a relatively quiet day in financial markets in Europe, with a number of countries observing the Labour Day bank holiday. With that being the case, attention will already turn to Wednesday evening’s Federal Reserve meeting. While the Fed are by no means expected to raise interest rates again, investors will be looking closely at the central bank’s language for any signs that another hike could be on the horizon in the June meeting. Financial markets are currently placing around a 92% chance of a June rate increase, with one more priced in before the end of 2018.

Soft UK manufacturing PMI sends Pound to January lows

Sterling also suffered in the wake of broad Dollar strength yesterday, sharply falling to its softest position since mid-January this morning, following the release of a weak manufacturing PMI.

The business activity manufacturing index slipped to just 53.9 in April, from the 54.9 recorded in March, its lowest level since mid-2016. This comes off the back of recent poor readings on UK inflation, retail sales, GDP and earnings, the combination of which have all but eliminated the chances of another interest rate hike from the Bank of England when it next meets later this month.

Given the recent soft macroeconomic news out of the UK, tomorrow’s construction PMI and, more critically, Thursday’s services PMI, will take on added importance. Disappointing readings here that suggest the UK economy got off to a bad start in the second quarter of the year, potentially causing markets to completely discount another BoE hike in the summer.