Summary: December's US Durable Goods print was lukewarm, but the latest jobless claims data sounded a positive note. Into today's New York bell, however, it seems as though a dismal miss from the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey was the release that moved sentiment lower.
There was a smorgasbord of incoming US economic data this morning, but FX traders didn’t find it very appetizing. There was a bit of FX noise when the data were released but prices quickly reverted to their starting points.
The picture was a little different on the equities front, however, as the weaker than expected US figures snapped a nascent rally on Wall Street. Equity futures pointed to a positive open in early New York trading, but sentiment turned negative after the data dump. It is still very early in the session, though, and the declines are modest.
December Durable Goods Orders were lukewarm. The headline increase of 1.2% was better than the upwardly revised November result of 1.0% but below forecasts for a 1.5% gain. It is the second consecutive increase but still not enough to recover from October's 4.3% plunge. Excluding transportation, Durable Goods Orders rose 0.1%. (forecast 0.3%, month-on-month).
The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey was extra-ugly, falling 4.1 rather than rising 14.0 as expected. It was the first negative reading since May 2016. Initial Jobless Claims was the bright spot, dropping to 216,000 from 229,000 the week before.
It isn’t any wonder why FX and equity traders are staying close to home, as there is plenty of event risk in addition to flip-flopping central bank policies. China and the US are reportedly working on “memorandums of understanding” as the framework for a trade deal. The talks continue on Friday and could lead to President Trump delaying the March 1 tariff increase. On the other hand, traders may be leery about China’s trade policies after Beijing was incensed by Australia’s cyber-security concerns and visa issues for a Chinese businessman and quickly banned Australia coal imports.
USDCAD traders would be wise to take note as China is furious with Canada over its arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanshou.
Eurozone trade issues are sure to cause a kerfuffle as there are reports that President Trump has what he needs to impose tariffs on the import of EU cars. A “no-deal Brexit is another issue. The risk of GBPUSD instability could trigger a massive shift into risk aversion trades, and so could escalating Russia/US tensions over missile deployments.