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NY Open: Markets underwhelmed by nonfarm payrolls

Equities 4 minutes to read
Michael O’Neill

FX Trader,

Summary:  A soft US jobs report only added to markets' unease today, with both forex and equities moving into risk-off territory following the lacklustre print.

Markets eagerly awaited this morning’s release of the November nonfarm payrolls report. The employment component of the ISM non-manufacturing report was robust and expectations of heavy Thanksgiving holiday hiring led to predictions of an upward surprise to the 200,000 jobs forecast.

There was a surprise, but it wasn’t upward.

November employment rose 155,000, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%. FX markets were underwhelmed. The US dollar was sold across the board, but the moves were shallow, and as of 1400 GMT the gains were marginal.

EURUSD rallied from 1.1370 to 1.1410 and then dropped to 1.1390 while GBPUSD and USD JPY retraced all their post NFP moves.

USDCAD was the biggest loser today, dropping from 1.3390 to 1.3261 as of 1345 GMT. Canada added a jaw-dropping 94,100 new jobs in November and 89,000 were full-time. The data was a ray of sunshine after a week which saw WTI oil prices flirting with $50.00/barrel and a clear dovish flip-flop by the Bank of Canada. The plunge was worsened by stop losses being triggered on the break of 1.3340 and 1.3280. Longer term, fears about the impact of soft oil prices on the domestic economy, the risk of reprisals by China for Canada’s arrest of the Huawei CFO, downgraded rate hike expectations and uptrend line support at 1.3200 will limit USDCAD losses.

Wall Street has fallen into the red, and traders are anxious that China may walk away from the trade war truce considering the Huawei arrest. 

It is going to be another busy week with major data competing with the UK Parliament vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan and the impact of the Italy budget dispute at the European Union council meeting. Other factors are the final Opec production quota decision and Washington politics.
US dollar index
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