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The Weekly Wrap – U.S Inflation and FED Commentary Delivered a Choppy Week for the Markets

The Stats

It was a quieter week on the economic calendar, in the week ending 14th January.

A total of 44 stats were monitored, which was down from 63 stats in the week prior.

Of the 44 stats, 19 came in ahead forecasts, with 19 economic indicators coming up short of forecasts. 6 stats were in line with forecasts in the week.

Looking at the numbers, 19 of the stats reflected an upward trend from previous figures. Of the remaining 25 stats, 23 reflected a deterioration from previous.

For the Greenback, it was back into the red. In the week ending 14th January, the Dollar Spot Index fell by 0.58% to end the week at 95.167. A 0.65% slide on Wednesday did most of the damage as the markets responded to U.S inflation figures. In the week prior, the Index had risen by 0.07% to 95.739.

Out of the U.S

It was a big week for the Dollar. In the first half of the week, FED Chair Powell testimony and December inflation figures were key drivers.

While the FED Chair talked of the need to hike rates, there was no mention of the need for more than 3 this year. This was taken as a positive for the riskier assets and negative for the Dollar.

On Wednesday, another spike in inflation failed to spook the markets. This was in spite of the U.S annual rate of inflation at its highest since 1982. An easing in energy prices for the first time since the uptrend was taken as a sign of a possible topping out.

Jobless claims failed to impress on Thursday, with initial jobless claims increasing from 207k to 230k in the week ending 7th January.

Retail sales figures for December wrapped things up on Friday. In December, retail sales fell by 1.9% versus a forecasted 0.1% decline. Core retail sales tumbled by 2.3% versus a forecasted 0.2% rise.

Out of the UK

Retail sales were in focus early in the week. In December, the BRC Retail Sales Monitor was up 0.6% year-on-year versus a forecasted 0.3% increase. In November, retail sales had been up by 1.8%.

More significantly, however, were manufacturing production and GDP numbers at the end of the week.

The stats were skewed to the positive, supporting the more hawkish outlook on BoE monetary policy.

Manufacturing production rose by 1.1% in November versus a forecasted 0.2%. In October, manufacturing production had risen by 0.1%.

Month-on-month, the economy grew by 0.9% in November, following 0.2% growth in October, which was also Pound positive.

In the week, the Pound rose by 0.64% to end the week at $1.3675 In the week prior, the Pound had risen by 0.41% to $1.3588.

The FTSE100 ended the week up by 0.77% following a 1.36% gain from the previous week.

Out of the Eurozone

Key stats included Eurozone unemployment, industrial production, and trade data for November.

The stats were skewed to the positive. The Eurozone’s unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 7.2%, with industrial production up 2.3% in the month. Production had fallen by 1.3% in October.

Trade data was EUR negative, however, while finalized inflation figures for France and Spain had a muted impact on the EUR. The Eurozone’s trade balance narrowed from a €3.3bn surplus to a €1.5bn deficit in November. It was the Eurozone’s first goods trade deficit since January 2014.

From the ECB, the Economic Bulletin sent mixed signals, while suggesting that inflation was more than just transitory.

For the week, the EUR rose by 0.44% to $1.1411. In the week prior, the EUR had fallen by 0.08% to $1.1361.

The DAX30 slipped by 0.40%, with both the CAC40 and the EuroStoxx600 ending the week down by 1.05% respectively.

For the Loonie

There were no material stats for the markets to consider. The lack of stats left market sentiment towards BoC monetary policy to influence, with the markets expectations of an imminent move delivering support.

An upswing in crude oil prices in the week was also Loonie positive.

In the week ending 14th January, the Loonie rallied by 0.72% to C$1.2552 against the Greenback. In the week prior, the Loonie had fallen by 0.05% to C$1.2643.

Elsewhere

It was a bullish week for the Aussie Dollar and the Kiwi Dollar.

The Aussie Dollar rose by 0.36% to $0.7207, with the Kiwi Dollar gaining 0.37% to end the week at $0.6804. A Friday sell-off limited the upside for the week.

For the Aussie Dollar

Retail sales and trade data were in focus, which delivered mixed results.

Key, however, was a 7.3% jump in retail sales in November versus a forecasted 3.9% increase. In October, retail sales had risen by 4.9%.

Australia’s trade surplus narrowed from A$11.22bn to A$9.423bn in November. Economists had forecasted a surplus of A$10.60bn.

For the Kiwi Dollar

Economic data was limited to building consents, which had a muted impact on the Kiwi Dollar in the week.

For the Japanese Yen

There were no material stats to provide the Yen with direction in the week.

The Japanese Yen rallied by 1.19% to ¥114.190 against the U.S Dollar. In the week prior, the Yen had fallen by 0.42% to ¥115.560.

Out of China

It was a relatively busy week on the economic data front. Inflation and trade data were in focus in the week.

In December, inflationary pressures eased, with China’s annual rate of inflation softening from 2.3% to 1.5%. China’s annual wholesale rate of inflation softened from 12.9% to 10.3%. These were positive for riskier assets, however.

Trade data was upbeat for December. China’s USD trade surplus widened from $71.72bn to $94.46bn. Exports were up 20.9% year-on-year, while imports increased by 19.5%. Exports been up by 22.0% and imports up by 31.7% in November.

In the week ending 14th January, the Chinese Yuan rose by 0.39% to CNY6.3528. In the week prior, the Yuan had ended the week down by 0.34% to CNY6.3778.

The Hang Seng Index ended the week up by 3.79%, while the CSI300 slid by 1.98%.