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FX markets take a breather

Mostly sideways trading yesterday as sterling and the euro failed to advance further against the USD. We did see a test of the key 1.70 level but if you blinked you may have missed it. US equity markets also struggled to find a direction swinging between gains and losses with the Dow Jones finally ending slightly up. A pause is probably sensible now as news may materialize that the optimism is not warranted and the overheated markets will quickly retreat. We have a three-pronged event risk this week as we have the monthly BoE and ECB meetings on Thursday and also the payrolls report on Friday from the US. It seems the market will await further direction from these event risks. News out already in the UK confirmed that UK Nationwide consumer confidence rose to 60 in July- up 1 point from June- not earth shattering but good news nonetheless. The UK Halifax house price index rose +1.1% month on month again above median forecasts of +0.6%. Lloyds banking group announced that they lost GBP4.0 billion in the first half of 2009 attributing most of the losses to HBOS assets- the number again was better than forecast for a GBP5.1 billion loss. UK July services PMI has come in at 53.2, up sharply from 51.6 in June, some way better than median forecast of 51.8. UK June industrial/manufacturing output data has come out at +0.5% m/m and +0.4% month on month respectively, stronger that median forecasts of flat and -0.1%. So good news flowing from the UK economy this morning but the markets are yet to sustain a move above 1.70 on the USD or 1.18 on the euro.

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