US Open Note – Stocks wane and dollar improves



US retail sales, jobless claims and Canadian ADP Non-Farm labour data take centre stage

US major indices are slightly lower as the greenback continues its comeback. It seems consumption endured even as job growth remained burdened last month with August headline retail sales rising to 0.7%, beating July’s -1.8% figure and expectations of -0.8% m/m, while the core data soared to 1.8%, overshooting the -0.1% m/m estimation. Furthermore, the Philly Fed Manufacturing index came in at 30.7, eclipsing August’s and July’s figures of 18.9 and 19.4 respectively, signalling the economy remains robust. That said, the previous week’s jobless claims disappointed somewhat hitting 332K, exceeding the prior week’s number of 312K, while continuing unemployment claims in general made some progress.

The dollar index has propelled to 92.84 on the back of stronger US retail sales and September manufacturing, and could receive extra underpinning should China’s Evergrande saga fuel temporary flights into safe havens like the US dollar.

The euro is declining further after having failed to find its feet around the $1.1760 mark and the pound lost its recent buoyancy against the greenback, diving below $1.3800. The USD/JPY pair, from largely unchanged around 109.35 earlier in the day, jumped to 109.70, while USD/CHF extended gains to 0.9265, all on the back of today’s stronger US data.

Loonie ahead of Elections

Yesterday’s stronger Canadian inflation figures pushed the USD/CAD pair lower, however new-found dollar power from upbeat retail sales and manufacturing floated the price up to C$1.2650.

Though housing starts in Canada have slowed to 260.2K units in August compared to 270.7K in July, and wholesale sales ticked marginally lower in July to -2.1% m/m, demand for the currency rose with foreign purchases, and 39.4K new jobs outside the farming industry were created from July to August. Nonetheless, despite the inoculation rate in the country being very high and the Bank of Canada seen as being ahead of the interest rate hike story, Monday’s September 20 elections in Canada could provide new volatility for the pair, depending on who takes power.

Oil stabilizes, metals steer lower and antipodeans hang in

WTI oil futures consolidated around $72.40 per barrel after the storms and oil inventories fell by 6.4M barrels.

Gold declined to $1,755/oz and silver to $22.80/oz as king dollar made headway in Asian sessions followed by upbeat US retail sales, and an impaired euro.

Down under Australian August inflation expectations rose to 4.4%, while a downbeat jobs report displayed the lockdown consequences and a low participation rate, which may be part of the reasons for the huge 146.3K loss in jobs, which overshot the awaited figure of -90K. Although August’s unemployment rate ticked lower to 4.5%, below the estimate of 5.0% and July’s 4.6% number, this resulted in the AUD/USD pair pushing lower towards 0.7314, which was extended by positive US retail sales. Should coronavirus restrictions persist, the picture for growth in Q3 could become vulnerable and interest rate hikes remain a long ways down the road. Nevertheless, vaccinations are gaining speed and this is a positive for the country.

The kiwi was faring better against the dollar earlier on, from stronger Q2 GDP results of 2.8% versus the estimation of 1.1%, but NZD/USD has now dipped to 0.7075 due to a stronger greenback.

At 14:00 GMT US business inventories are due, while at 22:30 GMT New Zealand’s Business Manufacturing index is scheduled.

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