European update – US/China, BoE rates, gold, oil

Investors Skeptical About Deal

The big day has arrived and investors are, well, not quite sure what to do and whether there’s actually much cause for excitement yet.

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

European stocks are mostly treading water while US futures are marginally lower following a lackluster start to the week. We’ve been waiting for the signing ceremony for so long but there is a worry that, despite details of the deal being largely concealed, what we are hearing is a little underwhelming and may be already priced in, maybe even too much.

Of course, there’s going to be lots of fanfare around the event itself, but the actual substance of the deal may not be what people hope. Of course, all we’re relying on here is various reports and subtle comments but this looks far from the comprehensive deal Trump was initially seeking going into the election.

The various reports also appear to heavily favour the US which begs the question, what exactly does China get out of this? Either there’s a lot more to be revealed or commitments on purchases and intellectual property etc, could be a little loose. Traders may also be disappointed by Mnuchin’s claim that there’s no agreement on future tariff easing.

Everything will become a lot clearer shortly and hopefully it will be good news for investors, despite pre-ceremony nerves. Although there is certainly a risk of “buy the rumour, sell the fact” to this, especially if large aspects of the deal underwhelm. Time will tell.

BoE rate cut talk strange

The Bank of England meeting in a couple of weeks has gone from being of interest to well and truly live over the course of this week, with markets now pricing in more than a 60% chance of a rate cut from the central bank. While I’m very skeptical about just how useful a rate cut is at this juncture, policy makers and traders alike are certainly coming round to the idea.

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

The data this week has, in fairness, been underwhelming to say the least. But in much the same way that I don’t pay too much attention to my weight at this time of year – although my now snug shirts make that a little more challenging – I’m not giving much thought to the November UK data and I’m surprised policy makers are suddenly so worried. Surely it would be sensible to wait for a few months to see if the economy bounces back a little as Brexit and political uncertainty subsides. It’s a strange one.

Of course, the inflation data this morning offers some justification to consider cutting rates given the trend since the summer but, again, I think more data would be helpful.

Gold steady ahead of deal

There isn’t much to add on gold that hasn’t already been said the last few days. The yellow metal isn’t exactly lifeless but it’s looking quite comfortable between $1,540 and $1,560. Of course, other markets are behaving similarly ahead of the signing of the trade deal so things could perk up later on today, particularly if we get some positive surprises, which could lift sentiment and drag on gold.

Gold Daily Chart

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Oil finding a floor as tensions ease

Oil has continued to glide lower over the last week or so, as tensions in the middle east have abated. It’s been dragging its feet a little, which is understandable given the potential to escalate rapidly and unexpectedly once again. Brent has now found a temporary floor around $64 so could settle in the near-term in the mid-60 range. Inventory data from EIA today could be of some interest although the API number on Tuesday didn’t raise any eyebrows.

Economic Calendar

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.