Alleged discord between White House and Fed


Gross domestic product expanded by an annualized 3.4% in the third quarter, a little less than previously estimated. Durable goods orders were up by 0.8% in November, half the forecast increase. The Michigan index of consumer sentiment beat expectations at 98.3.

But investors' focus was on the White House. On Friday it was the government shut-down that commanded their interest and over the weekend it was the story about the president trying to fire the Federal Reserve chairman. Neither went down well with investors, though they did the USD no particular damage. 


Euro zone consumer confidence softened by more than expected in December. The European Commission's measure came in at a provisional -6.2, a point and a half lower on the month. There were no other Euroland ecostats during the US session on Friday or this morning.

Politics were on the back burner. The budget dispute with Italy has apparently been put to bed and there will be nothing for Brussels to do about Brexit until the middle of January. The EUR drifted lower in New York and moved higher in the Far East this morning as investors reacted to developments in the White House. It is 0.3% lower on the day.


Friday's Canadian economic data did nothing to stop the Loonie's rot. October's 0.3% monthly expansion of gross domestic product was a tick more than forecast, while the 0.3% rise in retail sales for the same month was just below the expected 0.4%. Oil, similarly, was of no help. Prices faded by 1.5%, not a big move in the great scheme of things but nevertheless a step in the wrong direction. 

There was no queue of buyers for the CAD. It lost 0.4% on the day.


There was no delayed reaction to the revised UK gross domestic product data for the third quarter. The numbers were not great but at least the fall in business investment was a little less dire than forecast. With no further ecostats to add to the mix, the GBP went into the weekend on autopilot.

It covered a three-quarter-cent range twice with no sense of urgency, eventually remaining unchanged on the day. The sensation on Friday, and again this morning in London, was that dysfunction in the White House has, at least temporarily, overtaken Brexit as the panic of the moment.


With the Emperor's Birthday holiday today there were no Japanese economic data on offer. There was, however, an opportunity for the JPY to burnish its safe-haven credentials.

The story about Trump trying to fire the chairman of the Federal Reserve allowed the yen to gap higher when it opened in the Far East. It is 0.2% higher on the day.

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