Ahead of the US interest rate decision at 8pm GMT, a raft of economic data including Producer Price and retail sales whilst somewhat mixed, have done little to trample the USD bulls. The odds of a hike this evening are almost certain according to markets, and in fairness, the data as of late supports one.
With little surprises to be expected, movements for GBP/USD are likely to be limited, for now at least. The important question on investor’s minds now hinges on what, and when, the FED will act next. We’ve been here before, in fact, a year ago the FED over promised the markets 4 hikes in 2016, and we’ve witnessed just how the global economic outlook can change sporadically. In early 2016 concerns over China’s economy sprouted out of no where, then there were further concerns in Greece and now, the UK faces its fate at the hands of the EU table.
So yes, the FED are likely to raise rates this evening, probably by .25 base points but I’m not expecting it to be a grand opening ceremony. But, they say, Trump will put pressure on the FED to act faster and thus, further hikes in 2017 are more likely? Trump can put as much pressure on Yellen as he likes but he doesn’t run the FED, and he has no valid argument for removing her.
Furthermore, the FED operate entirely separately from Government. Yellen has never been one for acting on impulse and much of the concerns of 2016 will be present next year.
Greece is still in tatters, alongside Italy and Portugal to name a few. Brexit is yet to materialise and we won’t understand the full implications of the vote until it finally hits UK businesses once the UK Government hand notice via Article 50. The Chinese economy is chugging along for now but the thought of a Trump Presidency does not sit well with China. Trump has already done a great job of ruining relationships with China, during his campaign he accused the Chinese of currency manipulation and speculated that global warming was a hoax created by their Government. Trump has made clear he does not want to deal with China, threatening to impose huge tariffs on Chinese imports. Just when the relationship couldn’t get worse, the incoming Presidential-elect upset the “One China” by calling the Prime Minister of Taiwan to discuss trade.
Whilst it all looks rosy for now, with political tension mounting in Europe and an incoming Presidential-elect who appears to be building a Presidential campaign around his own business interests, I remain entirely skeptical of what 2017 will bring for the FED.