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FX Update

It’s been 18 years since the sad events of 9/11/01 when 3,195.00 people lost their lives.

The New Zealand Dollar remains range bound this week bouncing in recent levels as the currency awaits further direction. The Australian Dollar has subtly edged higher to 0.6880 against the greenback over the week and looks to re-test 0.7000 levels if data allows having fallen through this level on the 24th of July. 

Risk markets improved Thursday when China waived import tariffs on 16 US products said to be a tactic to win over President Trump. This is the first time something odd like this has happened since the trade war started around a year ago. Products which were among the list were shrimp, fish and cancer treatment drugs. It was notable that most of these products were staple Chinese goods rather than others omitted such as soybean or meat. These are the ones which really matter – agricultural and manufacturing products produced in the states with strong Trump support. The Chinese are not yet ready to make any compromises to ditch IP theft. Midday yesterday Trump announced he will defer hiking trade tariffs on 250B worth of Chinese products from 25% to 30% until October 15, Trump tweeting- “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will celebrate their 70th Anniversary”. The President has again attacked Fed President Jerome Powell saying they should cut rates to zero or less. This in turn should help cushion the economy against larger fears of a global slowdown. Trump calling the leaders of the Fed “boneheads”. We may see an aggressive few months ahead for the Fed with speculation they may drop the cash rate every month through to December with growth now expected to fall to 1.5% by mid 2020, the next Fed policy meeting is 19th September. 

The English Pound has been the strongest performer over the week after extending last week’s gains and consolidating around 1.2350 against the big dollar. Last week was the biggest weekly move higher since June, but it’s a little too early to predict if this signals a fundamental turnaround north off the recent lows. Boris Johnson will need to gain support for his Brexit deal as soon as parliament reconvenes on the 14th of October. Wednesday the Scottish Court of Appeal ruled that the current suspension is unlawful. Boris is still trying to negotiate a deal with the EU. The French and the EU are losing patience with the current brexit negotiation comedy act. French foreign minister Le Drain said “the British must tell us what they want”, “For three years, the UK has tried to find a way to apply the people’s choice- to leave the EU and has found no way forward,” As things currently stand the EU may be reluctant to grant the UK a further extension. 

As we expected the ECB made special note of fresh easing to start in October to boost the eurozone. They cut the benchmark rate a further 0.10% from negative 0.4% to -0.5% this was largely priced in with markets focused on recent rhetoric on what QE package we would see. Starting from November 1 the ECB will buy 20B EUR of debt per month and would run for as long as necessary based on factors around the economic slowdown.

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