Researchers have discovered that “couples who communicate using Facebook could be putting a strain on their relationship”. The ground-breaking discovery was made by Dr Bernie Hogan at the Oxford Internet Institute. He believes that posting and twittering instead of talking to one another could trigger marital disharmony. Could? That’s like saying a North Korean missile attack on the South could trigger a disagreement between the two countries.
It has not happened yet, and even though a rocket is apparently ticking over on the launch pad investors appear not to be unduly concerned. They have gone through it all before; stamp and bluster, a few million dollars of Pyongyang’s limited wealth fired into the sea, and show over – nothing to see here, move along now, move along. Nothing to see, that is, except the US dollar rally which traditionally follows such demonstrations.
FT traders could have done with a North Korean rocket or something similar yesterday to get things moving. As it was, the few economic data and the lack of any alternative stimulus left exchange rates becalmed and directionless. The day’s biggest movers were the Swedish and Norwegian crowns, which moved in opposite directions. The Swedish krona strengthened by 0.9%, closely followed by the NZ dollar while the Norwegian krone weakened by -0.4%, leading the Japanese yen by a head. As for the other major currencies there was nothing to chose between the pound, the euro, the Swiss franc and the US, Canadian and Australian dollars. This data was provided by Moneycorp who are currency exchange experts.
According to a raw average (not a scientific way of assessing a currency’s performance but a quick and dirty reality check) the pound was unchanged on the day against the majors. It will be heartening to those with a preponderance of sterling assets to see that the pound is ahead by an average of 0.6% on the week and 1.6% on the month.
Wednesday’s economic statistics were irrelevant to exchange rates. The minutes of last month’s Federal Open Market Committee, which revealed several members to be in favour of winding down the asset purchase programme by the end of the year, had similarly little impact. This could be because several banks had received copies of the minutes the previous day. This could be important in understanding statistics in send money abroad provided Moneycorp.
Early this morning the Australian dollar took a half-cent hit from a report that unemployment went up from 5.4% to 5.6% after the loss of 36k jobs. The figures were considerably worse than investors had been expecting. Ahead of London’s opening, inflation data from Germany (1.4%) and France (1.1%) were roughly in line with forecast. The only other ecostat from Greater Europe today is Greek unemployment, which is sure to be nasty. North America has very little to add, just US weekly jobless claims and the Canadian new housing price index.
So it looks as though, once again, FX traders will be hoping for a bit of rocket action on the Korean peninsula. In its absence they will probably be in for another tedious day.