FTSE pauses after sharp gains, investors wary as U.S-China tensions continue

The FTSE index has steadied on Wednesday, after posting strong gains on Tuesday. In the North American session, the pair is at 7,349, down 0.16% on the day. On the release front, British CPI jumped to 2.1% in April, up from 1.9% in March. Still, this missed the estimate of 2.2%. The U.K. deficit jumped to GBP 5.0 billion, shy of the estimate of GBP 5.2 billion. This marked a 5-month high. Later in the day, the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its May policy meeting.

The FTSE has sparkled in 2019, with gains of 9.1%. Will the positive streak continue even with Brexit tensions heating up? Prime Minister May is desperately trying to prevent the U.K. from crashing out of the EU without a deal, but it’s unclear if she will succeed. May will attempt to push a withdrawal deal through parliament for a fourth time in early June, after three previous deals failed. May has said that this deal will include a compromise on the customs union issue, but Labor and many Conservative MPs have already dismissed May’s proposal. If lawmakers shoot down the latest withdrawal proposal, risk appetite could fall and drag the FTSE downwards.

U.S-China trade tensions continue to trigger volatility in the equity markets. On Friday, the Trump administration announced it was imposing trade sanctions on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, a move which sent stock markets reeling on Monday. However, the U.S. Commerce Department has taken a step back, saying that it will provide 3-month exemptions to U.S. companies that sell to Huawei. The tussle over Huawei has exacerbated the trade war between the two economic giants, and risk appetite will likely remain soft until the sides resume negotiations.

Commodities Weekly: Platinum pushed to three-month low

False dawns

Economic Calendar

Wednesday (May 22)

  • 1:00 US FOMC Member Bullard Speaks
  • 4:30 British CPI. Estimate 2.2%. Actual 2.1%
  • 4:30 British PPI Input. Estimate 1.1%. Actual 1.1%
  • 4:30 British Public Sector Net Borrowing. Estimate 5.2B. Actual 5.0B
  • 4:30 British Core CPI. Estimate 1.9%. Actual 1.8%
  • 4:30 British HPI. Estimate 0.9%. Actual 1.4%
  • 4:30 British PPI Output. Estimate 0.3%. Actual 0.3%
  • 4:30 British RPI. Estimate 2.8%. Actual 3.0%
  • 10:00 US FOMC Member Williams Speaks
  • 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate -1.2M
  • 14:00 US FOMC Meeting Minutes

Thursday (May 23)

  • Day 1 – European Parliamentary Elections
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 215K

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold

FTSE, Wednesday, May 22 at 10:05 DST

Previous Close: 7,328 Open: 7,356 High: 7,374 Low: 7,313 Close: 7,349

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Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Kenny Fisher joined OANDA in 2012 as a Currency Analyst. Kenny writes a daily column about current economic and political developments affecting the major currency pairs, with a focus on fundamental analysis. Kenny began his career in forex at Bendix Foreign Exchange in Toronto, where he worked as a Corporate Account Manager for over seven years.