PMI data spreads unease

US markets have opened marginally in positive territory after coming under pressure throughout the session on Monday.

We’re going through a very interesting period in the markets, one in which sentiment seems to change from one day to the next. It could simply be that summer is here, major event risks are becoming fewer and further between and there is an increasing number of uncertainties around the globe that’s leaving investors caught in two minds.

The recovery in the second quarter was undoubtedly strong, we’ve seen the evidence of that for months and we’re seeing it still in the earnings reports. If we are seeing peak growth, that’s no big deal as long as we continue to see progress and downside risks are kept at bay.

But it’s perhaps the emergence of these downside risks that’s taking some of the heat out of the markets. While there remains plenty of cause for optimism – and I’m sure that will dominate more in the months ahead – there’s seemingly more focus on the delta spread, especially in China, the patches of softness appearing in the data and the risk of the Fed tapering too soon.

Soft US, China PMIs weigh on sentiment

The manufacturing PMIs seem to have been the catalyst for the uncertainty this week, with both China and the US producing worse than expected prints. The former is more worrying as the latter is still very strong and coming from a much higher point, but both do feed into the narrative of peak growth and with the China data coming at a time of rising Covid cases, potentially darker days ahead.

I say all of this but I’m sure the proximity to Friday’s jobs report, the time of year and the unease around Jackson Hole later this month – and potential taper nod that may come – is probably playing a big role. The global recovery is as uneven as the vaccine rollouts but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and ultimately that promise is surely going to be a supporting factor for the markets, regardless of any dips in the interim.

Bitcoin to see more profit-taking?

We’re continuing to see some profit-taking in bitcoin, just as it was threatening to break free once more. A break above USD 41,000 could have been the catalyst for some more extraordinary gains but instead, we’re seeing it consolidate, registering a fourth consecutive day of small losses and, I’m sure, slowly but surely enticing people back in.

Perhaps we could see it slip a little further, with support actually sitting a little lower around USD 36,000 which would mark a 50% retracement of the move from the lows to the highs of July.


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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.