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GBP Pops Higher As Haldane Joins Rate Hike Dissenters.

By Alex Edwards

GBP/USD came under selling pressure yesterday morning ahead of the Bank of England monetary policy announcement. The dollar was generally better bid too and GBP/USD came close to falling below the 1.3100 figure.

Come midday the central bank announced that it was keeping interest rates on hold at 0.5% – no surprise – but the MPC votes from the last meeting, released at the same time, were a surprise, showing that the bank’s chief economist Andy Haldane had joined two other committee members by voting for a rate hike. It gave the pound an immediate lift and GBP/USD popped higher by 80 points.

Cable got a further lift later on in the day as the US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index printed weaker than expected at 19.9 vs. forecasts for 29.0, the lowest reading since November. A US Supreme Court ruling yesterday also weighed on the greenback - the decision gave states the power to force online retailers to collect sales tax in states where they do not have a physical presence. GBP/USD pushed on through and convincingly up through the high 1.32s. Bank of England Governor Carney and Chancellor Hammond spoke at Mansion House last night but said little to have an impact on currency markets.

The dollar gave up some of its gains yesterday after the manufacturing index, mentioned above, printed weaker than expected. The Supreme Court decision also hurt the USD and it weakened across the board – both EUR/USD and GBP/USD have made solid gains over the last 12/24 hours. The decision also weighed heavy on stocks with the Dow falling by 0.8%.

Trade war rhetoric continues to simmer away but amid a lack of economic data releases today there isn’t a whole lot for markets to go on. We may therefore see a quiet day ensue although investors will be keeping half an eye on OPEC meetings that start today.

EUR/USD has pushed gradually higher through the last few trading sessions and has come close to breaking through the 1.17 figure, mostly as a result of the weaker dollar, albeit it didn’t get off to a good start yesterday morning.

European flash services and manufacturing PMIs have been released in the last hour or so; the services element beat market expectations whereas the manufacturing printed weaker than forecasts. The mixed data hasn’t really affected the single currency and it looks set to finish the week above 1.16 vs. the dollar.

AUS/USD has traded a fairly narrow range over the last 24 hours and whilst it’s up slightly on this time yesterday it’s failed to take any real advantage of the broader USD sell off. Despite a pullback in U.S treasury yields and a USD correction the AUD remains vulnerable as long as tariffs and trade remain front and centre. Long considered a proxy for broader risk appetite and Chinese sentiment the AUD is being weighed down by the heightened trade tension between the US and China with upside gains very much dependent on risk demand.

Attentions now turn to crucial US GDP number next week as the next bi ticket macroeconomic driver with trade and political tensions continuing to govern broader flows.

The loonie opens lower again this morning for the six consecutive day when measured against its US counterpart. As of writing the pair is currently trading at 1.3295. Whilst these are not large moves, we continue to see markets approaching the commodity linked currency with caution ahead of the important OPEC summit starting today in Vienna. USD/CAD traders will be watching the OPEC summit closely for any indication of a possible increase in oil output which will further weigh down on the Canadian currency.

In what is set to be a busy Friday for the CAD, we have a raft of Macroeconomic data releases due out including April retail sales numbers and Core CPI for May. Investors will be watching these reads closely with strong numbers likely to increase demand for the local unit ahead of the Bank of Canada’s next monetary policy meeting on July 11.

A sell off in the kiwi yesterday afternoon in Wellington trade saw fresh 2018 lows of 0.6825 and at that point NZ/USD looked vulnerable to further downside movement. The kiwi then recovered after markets saw a reversal in the US dollars’ fortunes following the release of weak Philly Fed manufacturing index figures. NZD/USD cross bounced back to an intraday high of 0.6895.