I wonder what will happen if it turns out that Julian Assange is not in fact the messiah but just a very naughty boy. The lauding of the publisher of stolen documents when he won the right to ‘mansion arrest’ instead of incarceration was, I thought, a little nauseating. I am deeply concerned over the blurring of the lines between free speech and utter irresponsibility and I am not entirely sure which side of that line Assange is on.
As for the markets, well Sterling was on the strengthening side of the line for most of yesterday after a positive retail sales report from the Confederation of British Industry but the poor employment data continued to weigh on the Pound in comparison to the US Dollar. One member of the Bank of England’s interest rate setting committee, Adam Posen, sees the rate of inflation falling back to below 1% in the years ahead but he is a lone voice in the dark so the Pound barely reacted to his views which are already well known and widely reported.
The Dollar was boosted by weakness elsewhere and there will be some adjustment in exchange rates in the days ahead as traders start to unwind existing trades and to wind down for the Christmas break. Beware tough that, as volumes decline, there is always a potential for volatility to rise in thinly traded markets and almost every year we get excitement around the Christmas holidays.
The Euro, which has been on the back foot of late, gained a little courage overnight after European union agreed a package of measures to support the Euro on an ongoing basis and the International Monetary Fund agreed on a €22.5 billion package to support Ireland. That is all good news and the markets gave the positive report a nod by buying Euros but the debate still rages over whether these are merely sticking plasters when radical surgery or amputation are the real requirements. Only time will tell but if Spanish bonds continue to be sold heavily and Irish credit ratings continue to plummet, then further action may well be necessary. This morning’s German Ifo business sentiment index was better than expected so further Euro weakness may well be postponed.
Today’s data diary has fewer reasons to trade than yesterday’s; with no more than the EU construction output and trade balance figures to watch. We do have a triple witching day though with warrants and futures expiring which will always hold the potential for fluctuations and next week though brings UK government debt and economic growth data so, in thinner markets, the potential exists for massive volatility around those numbers.
In the meantime, have a great weekend. I hope the snow doesn’t destroy your plans and that your boiler doesn’t break down like mine did yesterday. It is so hard to type with frostbite.
Written by David Johnson, Director at Halo Financial