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Fundamental Analysis 18.10.2017 - Market Outlook

There are several big speakers taking the stage today at an ECB conference on structural reforms in the euro area. ECB President Draghi gives the opening speech, while ECB Chief Economist Praet chairs a panel discussion on the political economy of reforms and Executive Board Member Coeure chairs a panel on reforms and governance. I don’t expect anything market moving to come out of these panels.

Aside from that, the European morning will be focused again on Britain as the UK labor market data is released. The figures show the same split between employment and wages  that many countries are puzzling over.

The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 4.3%, the lowest it’s been since 1975, while the number of new jobs is forecast to increase substantially – not as many as last month, but still well above trend. 

However, there’s no sign of an acceleration in wages – average earnings total is expected to rise at the same year-on-year rate as in the previous month, while growth in base wages excluding bonuses is forecast to slow a bit.

Nonetheless, I expect the figures would be modestly beneficial for sterling, because many people still expect that as the labor market remains tight, eventually wages will have to go up and drag prices up with them.

US housing starts and building permits for September 2017 were expected to be down slightly from the previous month. That stands to reason, given that there were massive hurricanes in Texas and Florida that would interrupt building. However, any decline should be only temporary – there’s likely to be a surge in Q4 as people start rebuilding their destroyed homes (although the labor shortage in the building industry will mean only a limited increase). That’s why I don’t think anyone will care about a decline now.

Canadian manufacturing sales are forecast to be down for the third consecutive month, which could be a negative for CAD. However, the pace of decline has slowed notably, so it might not have that big an impact.

The Fed releases the “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions”, also known as the Beige Book, as always two weeks before the next FOMC meeting. The book doesn’t have any number attached to it, but many research firms do calculate a “Beige Book index” by counting how many times various words appear, such as “uncertain.” In any case, the book is largely anecdotal so you’ll just have to watch the headlines as they come out.

This article comprises the personal view and opinion of the STO Investment Research Desk and at no time should be construed as Investment Advice.


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