While the world awaits US Congress’ vote on military action in Syria there is at least some distraction on the data front. Friday’s US August employment report contributed a further layer of uncertainty to the Fed tapering debate. Payrolls came in lower than forecast, with downward revisions to previous months. The unemployment rate dropped 7.3% but this was largely due to less people looking for jobs, something that the Fed will take into consideration.
It is doubtful that the jobs data will prevent tapering beginning at the September 17-18 FOMC meeting but it does support the view of a smaller (USD 10 billion) taper. In any case, data this week will if anything reinforce expectations that the Fed will commence tapering asset purchases this month, with a solid August retail sales reading forecast. Consequently the USD is set to maintain a firm tone into this week.
Eurozone markets may be dented by ongoing political issues, with Italian politics in particular legal action against former PM Berlusconi in focus. Meanwhile, worried that its forward guidance is having less impact than hoped for as core bond yields rise the Eurozone Central Bank sounded decidedly dovish at its policy meeting last week. The dovish cause will be supported by a contraction in Eurozone industrial production. As a result, the EUR will remain capped over the coming days.
Similarly the Bank of England has had little success in containing the rise in gilt yields with its forward guidance given the positive run of UK data releases over recent weeks and a likely firm UK September jobs report will make the job even more difficult. Outperformance of UK data continues to support relative GBP strength especially against EUR.
Elsewhere news that Japan has been awarded the rights to host the 2020 Olympics has boosted growth expectations and hit the JPY even as the debate over whether to increase the consumption tax grow. An upward revision to Japanese Q2 GDP releases this morning supports the view that the economy will be able to withstand the tax hike.
Meanwhile Australian markets will be buoyed by the election victory of Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National Coalition although notably it will have to deal with a host of minority parties to pass legislation through the Senate. AUD will likely see a post election boost in the short term.