I. Market focus
New Zealand's GDP data, which turned out to be much better than expected, were the main report of the morning session on Thursday. At the beginning of the week, the New Zealand's new prime minister said that the figures would be good, blurting out that she saw unreleased GDP numbers. The growth of the New Zealand economy in the second quarter (+1.0 percent q-o-q) was twice the pace of the previous quarter (+0.5 percent q-o-q) and exceeded the economists’ forecast (+0.8 percent q-o-q). On the y-o-y basis, economic growth also accelerated, although less rapidly (from +2.7 percent y-o-y in Q1 to 2.8 percent y-o-y in Q2). However, given the fact, economists had forecast a slight slowdown in year-on-year growth in the second quarter (to +2.5 percent y-o-y), the data could be called strong. The New Zealand dollar reacted to the GDP statistics by growth, updating its three-week high against the U.S. dollar by the beginning of the European session. The upward movement of the New Zealand currency may preserve for some time, but only good GDP data for one quarter will not be enough to reverse the NZD/USD’s downward trend, which has been observed since the beginning of this year.
The focus of the market participants is on the informal meeting of the leaders of the 27 EU countries, which began in the Austrian city of Salzburg yesterday. The meeting is devoted to discussions on the Brexit-related issues. The representatives of a number of countries noted that no progress was made during the first day of the summit. If the situation does not change today, the market participants’ optimism regarding the orderly Brexit will sink, impacting the dynamics of the pound.
On Thursday, the main scheduled events will be the meeting of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the outcomes of which are set to be announced at 07:30 GMT. It is expected that the regulator will decide to leave the parameters of its monetary policy unchanged. The accompanying statement may contain comments on the strengthening franc, the demand for which is growing amid emerging market fragility and intensifying concerns over global trade, which could negatively affect the dynamics of the Swiss currency. Among the macroeconomic data, attention should be should be paid to the UK’s retail sales statistics (08:30 GMT) and the U.S. data on the existing home sales (14:00 GMT).
II. The market highlights are:
The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday the building permits issued for privately owned housing units fell by 5.7 percent m-o-m in August to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.229 million, while housing starts surged by 9.2 percent m-o-m to an annual rate 1.282 million. Economists had forecast housing starts growing to a 1.235 million-unit pace last month and building permits decreasing to a 1.310 million-unit rate. According to the report, permits for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, dropped 6.1 percent m-o-m to 820,000 in August, while approvals for the multi-family homes segment plunged 4.9 percent m-o-m to a 409,000 unit-rate. In the meantime, groundbreaking on single-family homes rose 1.9 percent m-o-m to an 876,000-unit pace in August, while housing starts for the multi-family segment climbed 29.3 percent m-o-m to a 406,000-unit pace.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday that crude inventories fell by 2.057 million barrels to 394.137 million barrels in the week ended September 14. That was the lowest level since February of 2015. Economists had forecast a decrease of 2.741 million barrels. At the same time, gasoline stocks decreased by 1.719 million barrels last week, while analysts had expected a gain of 100,000 barrels. Distillate stocks climbed by 839,000 barrels, while analysts had forecast a build of 1.500 million barrels. Meanwhile, oil production in the U.S. decreased to 11.000 million barrels per day from 10.900 million barrels per day in the previous week. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day last week, up by 433,000 barrels per day from the previous week.
Statistics New Zealand announced on Wednesday that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent q-o-q and 2.8 percent y-o-y in the second quarter of 2018. That was above economists’ forecasts of +0.7 percent q-o-q and +2.5 percent y-o-y. The quarterly reading for the first quarter was left unrevised at +0.5 percent q-o-q, while the annual figure was revised to +2.6 percent y-o-y (from +2.7 percent y-o-y originally). According to the report, the Q2 economic growth was broad-based, with 15 of 16 industries recording higher production. Agriculture (+4.2 percent q-o-q) was the largest contribution to growth. Meanwhile, mining (-19.9 percent q-o-q) was the only industry to drop. Overall, activity in the service industries rose by 1.0 percent q-o-q, while the goods-producing industries expanded by 0.9 percent q-o-q and the primary industries rose 0.2 percent q-o-q. On the expenditures side, household spending rose 1.0 percent q-o-q in the second quarter, helped by higher household spending on both services and goods. Investment in fixed assets edged down 0.1 percent q-o-q in the second quarter, dragged down by lower investment in plant, machinery, and equipment (-1.3 percent q-o-q), which, however, was offset by gains in investment buildings (both residential (+0.5 percent q-o-q) and non-residential (+0.2 percent q-o-q)), as well as transport equipment (+2.8 percent q-o-q) and intangible fixed assets (+3.1 percent q-o-q).
III. Market Situation
The currency pair EUR/USD traded higher on the back of the weakness in the U.S. dollar but remained within the range of the previous session. The market participants focus is gradually shifting to the U.S. data on the existing home sales for August. In July, existing home sales fell 0.7 percent m-o-m to an annual rate of 5.34 mln units. That marked the fourth straight monthly drop. With July’s decline, sales were 1.5 percent below a year ago. In addition to the steady climb in home prices over the past year, the quick run-up in mortgage rates earlier this spring had cooled somewhat the home sale. This weakening in affordability put the most pressure on potential buyers. However, since economic growth remains strong, this should help existing housing sales rise from their current pace. According to economists’ forecasts, existing home rose to 5.35 million units in August from 5.34 million units in July. Resistance level - $1.1733 (high of August 28). Support level - $1.1608 (low of September 13).
The currency pair GBP/USD consolidated near the opening level, as investors took a breather after the previous day's fluctuations in the pair, and were preparing for the release of the UK’s retail sales data, which should provide more detailed information on the prospects of the consumer sector. On Wednesday, the pair rose sharply in response to favorable inflation data, but then tumbled amid reports from The Times that Prime Minister May intends to reject the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's revised Irish backstop border offer. Resistance level - $1.3212 (high of September 19). Support level - $1.3055 (low of September 14).
The currency pair AUD/USD traded near the opening level, due to the lack of new drivers. The pair continued to be supported by yesterday's statements of Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang, who said that China won't devalue the yuan to stimulate exports. Today, investors’ focus will be on the dynamics of the U.S. currency and the general market sentiment toward risky assets. Resistance level - AUD0.7313 (high of August 30). Support level - AUD0.7141 (low of September 17).
The currency pair USD/JPY declined moderately, refreshing the previous session ’s low, on the back of the weakness in the U.S. dollar and news that prime minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected as head of Japan's ruling party. In addition, investors were adjusting their positions ahead of the release of the Japanese inflation data (at 23:50 GMT). According to economists’ forecast, the national consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.1 percent y-o-y in August after an increase of 0.9 percent y-o-y in July, while the national CPI, excluding fresh food prices, went up 0.9 percent y-o-y, following a gain of 0.8 percent y-o-y in July. Resistance level - Y112.61 (high of July 20). Support level - Y111.65 (low of September 18).
U.S. stock indexes closed mixed on Wednesday. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials Average recorded gains, buoyed by upbeat housing data and a rise in financial shares, which rallied amid increasing Treasury yields. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq lagged, dragged down by a drop in Microsoft (MSFT; -1.9%). With regard to the data, the Commerce Department reported the building permits issued for privately owned housing units fell by 5.7 percent m-o-m in August to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.229 million, while housing starts surged by 9.2 percent m-o-m to an annual rate 1.282 million. Economists had forecast housing starts growing to a 1.235 million-unit pace last month and building permits decreasing to a 1.310 million-unit rate.
Asian stock indexes closed mixed on Thursday, as investors awaited the latest twists on global trade.
European stock indexes are expected to trade higher in the morning trading session.
Yields of US 10-year notes hold at 3.06% (-1 basis points)
Yields of German 10-year bonds hold at 0.49% (0 basis points)
Yields of UK 10-year gilts hold at 1.47% (0 basis points)
Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures traded higher. Crude oil for delivery in November settled at $71.22 (+0.64%). The crude oil prices rose moderately, reacting to the weakness in the U.S. dollar and the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA reported that crude inventories fell by 2.057 million barrels to 394.137 million barrels in the week ended September 14. That was the lowest level since February of 2015. Economists had forecast a decrease of 2.741 million barrels. At the same time, gasoline stocks decreased by 1.719 million barrels last week, while analysts had expected a gain of 100,000 barrels. Distillate stocks climbed by 839,000 barrels, while analysts had forecast a build of 1.500 million barrels. Meanwhile, oil production in the U.S. decreased to 11.000 million barrels per day from 10.900 million barrels per day in the previous week. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day last week, up by 433,000 barrels per day from the previous week.
Gold traded at $1,204.90 (+0.09%). Gold prices rose slightly, supported by the weakness in the U.S. currency. The index, measuring the value of the U.S. dollar relative to a basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.06% to 94.48. Since gold prices are tied to the dollar, a weaker dollar makes the precious metal cheaper for holders of foreign currencies.
IV. The most important scheduled events (time GMT 0)
SNB Interest Rate Decision
Continuing Jobless Claims
Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey
Initial Jobless Claims
Existing Home Sales
German Buba President Weidmann Speaks
National Consumer Price Index
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