The US dollar extended losses after breaking a long-term ascending channel base yesterday. The British pound rallied on yet another stronger than expected wages growth data released yesterday morning. Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased 7.3% in the three months to May. And although the unemployment rate ticked up to 4%, it was because more Brits started looking for jobs, and not because people lost the jobs they had.
But don’t be jealous of Brits that get such a good jump in their pay because UK inflation is still too hot. The average mortgage rate rose to 6.6%, the highest since 2008, inflation in Britain is sitting at 8.7%, and according to truflation, prices grow at a speed that’s faster than 11%. The thing is, the robust wages growth partly explains why the Bank of England (BoE) is having so much pain fighting inflation, and that’s why yesterday’s data fueled the expectation of another 50bp hike from the BoE at its next meeting. The BoE’s policy rate is seen peaking at the 6.5/7% range by the Q1 of next year as predicted by many analysts. Cable hit 1.2970 level, the highest since last April, but whether this really could continue will depend on 1. where the US dollar will be headed after today’s CPI data in the short run, and 2. where the UK economy is headed if the BoE hikes rates to 6.5/7% range in the long run. Because the BoE hikes will continue pressuring the British housing market, and growth, and that could limit Cable’s topside potential following a kneejerk positive reaction.
Lower US CPI won’t be enough to soften the Fed hawks’ hand
The consumer price index in the US is expected to have fallen to 3.1% from 4% printed a month earlier. But unfortunately, it won’t be enough to prevent the Fed from further rate hikes, because the further fall in headline inflation to 3% is due to a favourable base effect on energy prices, while core inflation is expected to remain sticky at around the 5% mark – still more than twice the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) 2% policy target.
Plus, the rebound in oil prices hints that the risk of an uptick in headline inflation is building stronger for the coming months. The barrel of American crude rallied past the 100-DMA yesterday and is flirting with the $75pb level this morning. Trend and momentum indicators remain positive, and we are not in overbought territory just yet, meaning that this rally could further develop. The next natural target for the oil bulls stands at the 200-DMA, at $77pb level. In percentage terms, we are talking about a 12% rally since the start of the month, and the rebound is a response to the further production restriction from Riyadh and Moscow that are determined to push oil prices to at least $80pb level, and also Beijing’s stepping up efforts to boost the Chinese economy by fresh monetary and fiscal stimulus.
But despite the lower OPEC supply and news of fresh monetary and fiscal stimulus from China, US crude should see a solid resistance into $77/80 range as, yes, in one hand, OPEC+ is cutting supply to boost prices, and their supply cuts will dampen the global oil glut in H2 – even more so if China finally achieves a healthier recovery. But on the other hand, the Chinese recovery is not a won game just yet, while increased oil output outside the cartel helps keeping price pressure contained. American crude production is on track for a record year this year, and half of the new crude is coming from the US where companies like Devon Energy that deliver strong output thanks to improved efficiencies.
RBNZ stays pat, BoC to deliver a final 25bp hike
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) kept its policy rate unchanged at 5.5%. Later today, the Bank of Canada (BoC) is expected to announce a final 25bp hike in this tightening cycle. The Fed however is seen hiking two more times as the strength of the US jobs data, combined with solid economic data, and little pain on US housing market thanks to life-long mortgages.
Therefore, it’s interesting that the US dollar depreciates while there is nothing that hints at softening in the Fed’s hawkish policy stance. That, and the fact that we will soon be flirting with oversold market conditions in the US dollar hint at a rebound in the greenback, if backed with robust core inflation and strong economic data.