- Movement was fairly limited in FX markets Friday, with most of the major pairs closing the day with gains on no more or less than around 0.2%. The South African Rand closed the week on the back-foot as the Country awaited the results of the elections, although the ANC was widely expected to win re-election comfortably.
- There was a raft of UK economic data released Friday morning with GDP the headline print. At first glance UK economic growth for the first quarter of +0.5% would appear impressive, particularly given GDP only registered +0.2% in the final quarter of 2018. However the pick up in growth was largely driven by Brexit stockpiling as manufacturers ramped up production ahead of the original 29th March Brexit deadline.
- Whilst GDP for the quarter registered +0.5%, the new monthly GDP figure showed that the economy contract by -0.1% between February and March, perhaps a sign a slowdown is on the cards following the frenzy of activity ahead of that Brexit deadline.
- Italian Retail Sales m/m -0.3% (+0.3% Exp)
- Strong employment numbers out of Canada Friday afternoon saw the Canadian Dollar finish the week with a flourish. In fact the Canadian economy added a record 106,500 jobs in April, with the overall unemployment rate also dropping to 5.7%.
- Of course one of the headline stories Friday was the US pushing ahead and more than doubling existing trade tariffs on Chinese imports as the trade war continues to escalate despite ongoing talks which are supposedly constructive in their nature. The US increased a 10% tariff on $200Bn worth of Chinese goods to 25% (Including Handbags, Clothing, Footwear and Fish).
Over The Weekend
- Following the enforcement of further tariffs on Friday, over the weekend President Trump said the US is ‘right where we want to be with China’ as the trade war ramps up another notch. Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, had earlier said that both sides will suffer as a result of the trade dispute.
- As negotiations between the two superpowers continued on Sunday it appears China remains defiant over the deadlock, with Beijing saying it would not swallow any ‘bitter fruit’ that harmed its interests.
- As widely expected the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party won re-election to power in South Africa with the result confirmed on Saturday. As also expected, whilst the ANC regained power for a sixth straight term, they did so with far less of the vote than in the past, this time around taking 57.5% which was the worst ever showing for the party.
- According to the latest Opninium Poll for the Observer newspaper, Nigel Farage’s Brexit party could be on course to secure more votes in the European elections that Labour and the Conservatives combined. Who thought we would still be discussing polls relating to Brexit some three years later?!
- International accountancy firm BDO released a report this morning suggesting business optimism in the UK fell to its lowest rate since 2012 in April. According to a partner at BDO, ‘The only certainty businesses have at the moment is that the UK government still doesn’t know exactly how or when the UK will leave the European Union’. He added that this confusion was causing business confidence to plummet.
- Typically quiet Monday on the economic data front. Nothing of significance set for release.
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