Home Forex Analysis And Forecasts Europe seen lower as the EU announces fresh sanctions

Europe seen lower as the EU announces fresh sanctions

  • Europe seen lower as the EU announces fresh sanctions on Russia;
  • UK data being released but the focus remains on the Scottish referendum;
  • Apple to unveil its new iPhone, new battery could be the gamechanger.

European indices are expected to open lower again on Tuesday after a new package of sanctions was agreed against Russia in relation to its part in the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The implementation of the sanctions will be delayed though in order to give the recently agreed ceasefire a chance to work. In all honesty, given the shelling seen yesterday in two cities in eastern Ukraine, I’m not overly confident that this will last, but as always, I remain hopeful.

Once again today, things are looking fairly quiet from an economic data standpoint. The focus will undoubtedly be on the UK today, with the BRC having already released retail sales data for last month, industrial and manufacturing production figures being released this morning, NIESR releasing its GDP estimate for the three months to August and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speaking in Liverpool.

Even with all of this, I do question just how much investors are going to respond with many appearing far more concerned with the Scottish referendum vote in nine days. Carney’s comments could provide some support for the pound, which has pretty much been in freefall over the last couple of months. Any suggestion that the central bank may be tempted to raise rates this year, for example, would surely reverse some of the declines seen, although how much is difficult to say. A referendum with an uncertain outcome, both in terms of voting results and what a “yes” vote would actually mean, may be seen as a far more important issue than the exact timing of the inevitable first rate hike to investors right now.

While there may be little potential for upside in the pound from today’s releases, I wouldn’t be surprised if disappointing data was taken as another opportunity to sell the currency. Already this morning we’ve seen that an unexpectedly strong retail sales report from the BRC had no impact whatsoever so there’s no reason to expect anything else from the other data releases today.

The currency markets have come back to life quite a bit recently as central bank easing in the euro area, fears relating to the Scottish referendum and weakness in commodity currencies pave the way for a stronger dollar that in reality has little to do with the greenback itself. Traders have been forecasting a stronger dollar for most of this year, although I think many envisaged that the rally would begin sooner and have more to do with the end of quantitative easing and potential rate hikes than every other currency having a race to the bottom.

Whether from an investor perspective or just that of a fan, all eyes will be on Apple today as it announces the latest release of its smartphone. As always, Apple has let very little slip about the new device ahead of the launch but there has been a huge amount of speculation that the company will introduce the smartphone in two new larger sizes in order to compete with its competitors, along with a new design and, according to a number of sites yesterday, a significantly improved battery. Given consumers repeated complaints about smartphone batteries, the latter is the potential game changer in my opinion. The company may not have been as innovative in recent years but if it can offer a much improved battery, all may be forgiven.

The FTSE is currently seen opening 12 points lower, the CAC 16 points lower and the DAX 32 points lower.

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