Nerves ahead of US inflation

We aren’t seeing much change in Europe ahead of the open on Tuesday after a broadly positive session in Asia as China, Hong Kong and South Korea returned following the bank holiday weekend.

The last few days have seen a notable improvement in market sentiment. It’s not always easy to pinpoint what’s driving such a turnaround but the fact that it’s happening in the days leading up to the US inflation report is certainly interesting. Perhaps last month’s report has given investors confidence that another faster deceleration could be on the cards for August.

That may sound premature but the fact is that two consecutive reports showing a sharp deceleration combined with last month’s goldilocks jobs report will be a really encouraging sign and could trigger a broader risk rebound in the markets. It may not be enough to tip the Fed balance in favour of a more modest 50 basis point rate hike next week but it may slow the pace of tightening thereafter.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in previously Russian-controlled territories in the east and the south, most notably in Kharkiv, may also be lifting sentiment. Pressure will mount on the Kremlin and while there’s no saying what its response will be, there’s certainly more hope that momentum is moving back in favour of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Europe is putting together plans to cope with higher energy prices this winter with the UK joining others in setting a cap on energy bills. While that won’t solve the problem of supplies or generate as much demand destruction, it will protect many households and businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to cope this winter and could save the UK from recession. If not, it will no doubt make it much less severe.

Not what the BoE wanted to see

It’s not often that you see the unemployment rate fall to the lowest in almost 50 years and aren’t overjoyed, but that will certainly be the feeling at the Bank of England right now. The decline in the rate was driven by a decline in the labour force, while employment rose by only 40,000; far less than expected.

What’s more, wage growth accelerated faster than expected, hitting 5.5% including bonuses in the three months to July compared with the same period last year. Less labour market slack and faster wage growth increase the odds of a 75 basis point hike from the MPC next week, especially against the backdrop of higher core inflation expectations over the medium term as a result of the new cap on energy bills.

Can it build on the recovery?

Bitcoin is holding onto gains ahead of the inflation data. The recovery has been very strong until this point but it may need a favourable report in order to hold onto them. A positive inflation number could see bitcoin add to recent gains with the next major test to the upside falling around $25,500.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar:

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Former Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary.

His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News.

Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.