Economic News

US Consumer Remains Strong

US Consumer Remains Strong

Equity markets in Europe are back in the red yesterday, while the US looks largely unchanged around the open on Wall Street.

Reports of missile strikes in Poland on Tuesday naturally caused a shudder in the markets. The prospect of a sudden and unexpected escalation in the war in Ukraine, particularly involving a NATO state, doesn’t bear thinking about but it’s almost forced to and under the circumstances, the reaction was fairly modest.

It could have been much worse but investors appear to have come to the view that it was a situation that would be quickly de-escalated which is what occurred despite initial reports not looking good.

US retail sales data will be a minor concern for investors as they continue to cross their fingers for a full Fed pivot next month. In an ideal world, the Fed could bring inflation back to target without causing much damage to the economy, while maintaining a strong labor market and healthy spending. But we don’t live in an ideal world and it’s unlikely that will be the case. So as long as we continue to see firm figures in employment and spending, the risk of high and stubborn inflation will remain. This won’t provide the comfort the Fed wants in order to slow the pace of tightening and draw it to close earlier than envisaged.

Gold is struggling to take the next step higher after struggling around $1,780 once again today. That’s not overly surprising considering this was major level of support from January to July, at which point it gave way in style losing almost 4% in less than 48 hours.

What’s encouraging is that it’s not showing signs of easing up. Pullbacks have been minimal and pressure remains to the upside. A break of $1,780 could be catalyst for another spike and ease any doubts about the sustainability of the rally in the process. Assuming both US inflation releases haven’t done that already.