01/12 - Dollar under pressure, Eurozone economy improves
There’s still plenty of action to follow before another trading week will come to an end. In the U.S., the Dollar remained under scrutiny amid tax reform voting delay. Later today, Fed speakers will have their say about the strength of the economy. Elsewhere, Eurozone manufacturing data surged to a level not seen in the last 17 years while oil prices continue to climb higher. Here are the top things to know for today.
The dollar went through a tough trade earlier wavering between gains and losses, as it attempted to break what would be a string of 3-day declines after the U.S. Senate suspended voting on the tax reform bill until later on Friday as conversations to win a majority vote broke down.
Stocks did react positively to news that Senator John McCain offered support for the legislation, with U.S. Treasury yields hitting five-week highs, but caution appeared to reign on Friday as market participants awaited the rubber stamp.
Markets have been following progress on tax reform closely with several major companies, such as Cisco Systems, Coca Cola or Pfizer having stated that the benefits of the corporate tax reduction will be passed on to shareholders. Economists are skeptical that the changes will have a major impact on the economy.
At 11:00GMT, the U.S. dollar index edged up 0.06% at 93.03.
Apart from progress on tax reform, investors in the dollar will be keeping a close eye on the continuing flow of remarks from Federal Reserve policymakers.
St. Louis Fed president James Bullard will be speaking on monetary policy and the U.S. economy at 14:05 GMT Friday.
Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan will participate in a Q&A in a symposium at 14:30 GMT. On Thursday, Kaplan expressed his view that the Fed should move forward on the next rate hike in the "near future" given the positive conditions in the labor market.
Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker will discuss “inclusive economic growth” on Friday at a forum at 15:15 GMT.
Also on Friday’s economic calendar, the ISM manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for November and October construction spending will be released at 15:00 GMT.
Ahead of the U.S. ISM manufacturing PMIs, Euro zone production lines grew at their fastest rate in 17 years in November. Led by Germany, the headline index for the euro area hit 60.1 last month, the second highest level on record after April 2000.
The reading for the UK also showed the strongest growth in four years in November. The British manufacturing PMI rose to 58.2 last month, beating expectations for a reading of 56.5 and bolstering optimism over the UK economy.
Oil prices started December off with solid gains on Friday, following up on a streak of three straight monthly gains, its longest since early 2016.
The bullish trend continued after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members led by Russia followed market expectations and agreed to extend their supply cuts from March 2018 through to the end of next year.
Oil has risen around 17% since the last time producers gathered for an official meeting back in late May with major oil producers not scheduled for another round of negotiations until June.
Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said inventories were expected to decline to the desired targets in the second half of 2018, although he admitted that production from other areas, such as U.S. shale output, remained an unknown.
In that light, market participants will keep an eye on Baker Hughes most recent weekly rig count data to be released later on Friday.
- by Roger Gain