Dollar Rally Stalls – Is US Consumer Tapped Out?

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Market Drivers July 16, 2018
Chinese GDP 6.7% as forecast
Trump/Putin; Retail Sales on docket
Nikkei closed Dax 0.04%
Oil $70/bbl
Gold $1243/oz.
Bitcoin $6300

Europe and Asia:
No Data

North America:
USD Retail Sales 8:30

FX markets were choppy in quiet listless trade at the start of the week, with dollar seeing a mild continuation of Friday’s sell flows.

With Japan on holiday and European calendar barren, the action was subdued as majors traded within 20 pip ranges for most of the night, but the anti-dollar bias was evident especially at the start of EU dealing when EURUSD broke above 1.1700 and GBPUSD took out 1.3250.

Cable in particular looks ready to push higher as the market is coming to a conclusion that a soft Brexit or possibly no Brexit scenario is increasingly likely. Today, a Tory politician Justine Greening called for a 2nd referendum on the matter. If PM May does choose to put Brexit to a revote – the reaction in the pound should be positive with traders anticipating a change of result. A change of result is by no means guaranteed, as public opinion polls remain split, but the intensity of turnout amongst the younger voters is likely to be much higher and that could swing the vote to Remain.

In any case, for now, all talk of 2nd referendum remains speculation, but the pressure on PM May continues to build and the threat of hard Brexit, with UK essentially shut out of its main trading market is becoming an ever closer reality.

Meanwhile in North America today, the market will get a look at US Retail Sales with forecast looking at 0.4% vs. 0.9% the month prior. A sharper decline than forecast could send the dollar lower still with USDJPY sliding back to 112.00. US wages remain stagnant and have actually declined in real terms by -0.2% in year over year terms as inflation has gobbled up all the gains. If this dynamic begins to express itself in consumption data, all US growth forecasts will have to be revised downward and Fed’s hawkish posture will need to change.

On the geopolitical the market will also see the Trump/Putin press conference after their summit today, but given the lack of any planning or any public record of the event, it will be hard to judge if this event will have any impact on trade, though any overt tension between the two would certainly be risk negative as it will catch the market by surprise.

Boris Schlossberg
Managing Director

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