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Sterling faces uncertainty in the midst of Brexit aftermath
Sterling took a hammering yesterday in the wake of the notably worse than forecast manufacturing and production data release for October. This is set to impact GDP readings for the UK in the last quarter of the year and does little to play to the fact that with the pound still reeling after June’s Brexit referendum, even significantly cheaper exports aren’t providing that much material help here. We have seen a modest bounce back off yesterday’s lows on GBP/USD with the parliamentary debate over the Brexit timetable providing a little more certainty here, but sustaining this rally given the lingering uncertainty of the supreme court legal challenge may leave the medium term risk on the downside.
Some better than expected Chinese trade data – notably with imports running far hotter than had been forecast – has helped bolster support for the Aussie dollar in overnight trade, although prints like this have to be taken in the context that the country is threatening a slide into recession in the New Year. Trade deficit data for Australia came in far worse than expected last night, too, suggesting that the latest gains for AUD/USD could be left looking rather tenuous – especially given the fact that next week’s FOMC ought to offer more clues over the US rate trajectory for 2017.
The Euro is going to be very much in focus today with the ECB rate decision due at 12.45pm GMT, followed by Draghi’s press conference 45 minutes later. Expectations are that we will see an extension to the bond buying program, although as has already been noted there’s a risk that the bank is running out of appropriate assets to buy. We may also see a token signal as to when this program will be wound down, although how much credence markets would offer a datapoint like this is debatable, given the ‘ongoing’ nature of the campaign so far. Last weekend’s Italian referendum certainty hasn’t proved as damaging as may have been thought, although again any word from Mr Draghi over this could again offer fresh direction.
Oil prices continue to slide from recent highs with yesterday’s mixed – but predominantly bearish – US inventory report doing little to help here. There’s scepticism creeping in over the effectiveness of the Opec lead production cut and whether shale oil producers will simply look to jump in and pick up any shortfall. The EIA’s natural gas storage report this afternoon at 3.30pm GMT could provide some price reaction for crude, although forecasts are for a bullish assessment here which could leave crude open to testing fresh lows for the month. 
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