October 8 2018

Oct. 8, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions) – The greenback extended a winning streak Monday in holiday-light trade while broader markets remained on a weaker footing. The euro and sterling slid 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively, with the former sinking below support to its lowest in seven weeks. The yen and other safe havens generally outperformed while the Canadian and Australian currencies lost ground. What’s been weighing on broader markets has been supporting the dollar: rising interest rates around the world for both fundamental and worrisome reasons. Italian borrowing rates have climbed, a sign of investor worry in the nation’s debt crisis. U.S. lending rates have risen but for fundamental reasons following bullish U.S. data. Numbers last week showed the lowest American unemployment (3.7%) in nearly 50 years. Moreover, global market weakness is spurring buying of the U.S. currency has a safe harbor. Focus of the week ahead will be U.S. consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, on Thursday.




More weakness drove the euro to seven-week lows against the greenback. Markets are growing increasingly concerned about the shaky state of Italian finances which has led to rising borrowing rates for Rome. Even Europe’s fundamental narrative has shown mounting signs of weakness as data today from top economy Germany disappointed. A gauge of German factory growth unexpectedly fell in August and for the third month running. The euro fell through a key floor against the dollar which potentially sets the stage for further weakness over the coming days.




Canada’s dollar dipped to late September lows as oil markets moderated from multiyear peaks and the greenback remained in vogue after a week of mostly bullish U.S. data. Canadian markets have Monday off to celebrate the nation’s Thanksgiving holiday, so price action could prove limited. The odds of Canada raising borrowing rates in a little over two weeks, on Oct. 24, increased after local data last week showed faster than expected hiring of more than 60,000 jobs in September which lowered unemployment to 5.9%, one of the lowest levels in decades.




The U.S. dollar started the week with broad gains as bullish fundamentals and skittish global markets offered twin pillars of support. The dollar is on a two-week winning streak, helped in part by solid jobs data last week that reinforced expectations for the Fed to lift U.S. borrowing rates. While September hiring underwhelmed with a gain of 134,000, the two prior months were upgraded by a robust 87,000 jobs, and unemployment fell more than expected to 3.7%, the lowest since the late 1960s. And while the lid remains fastened on inflation, prices could be poised to rise given the ultra-low level of joblessness. That puts the focus on consumer prices Thursday. Core inflation is forecast to accelerate to a 2.3% annual rate for September from 2.2%.




The yen strengthened above late 2017 lows as global stocks slumped which buoyed demand for a broad range of safer bets like the Japanese currency. But rising U.S. interest rates bode negatively for the yen given how USDJPY is highly sensitive to yield differentials. The yield on America’s 10-year Treasury remained above 3.20%, the highest since May 2011. That compares to the yield on Japan’s 10-year government bond of less than 0.2%. The yen’s rise in the face of yield disparities underscores how markets are more concerned about safety, with many global stocks in the red.




Sterling lost ground as caution returned and the greenback remained on a multiweek winning streak. Sterling has recently outperformed thanks to upbeat remarks from EU leaders who have noted scope for a potential Brexit deal by November. Yet until an elusive deal is signed and delivered it will leave sterling vulnerable. Once Brexit and the EU hammer out a trade agreement it would still need to be approved by the U.K. Parliament which remains divided over the type of Brexit to pursue.