Divergent fortunes for commodity currencies

NZD up, AUD treading water and CAD seeking direction

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Chart of the Day

We often look to the commodity currencies for macro signals, which have been mixed lately. After rising sharply in early May, perhaps related to hawkish signals from the BoC, the CAD (plotted here inversely to the normal USDCAD so that its comparable to AUDUSD and NZDUSD) has hit a ceiling. By contrast, the NZD has broken out above its prior trading range this week after the hawkish comments from the RBNZ. The AUD is still seeking some direction - if the recent trend for softer iron ore prices continues, that could be down. In the end, given the importance of commodities to these economies, the recent hawkish signals from their central banks will only be maintained if high commodity prices are sustained.

Macro

US initial jobless claims fell to 406,000 last week, while continuing claims increased to 3.6mn in the week before.

US durable goods orders fell by 1.3% MoM in April. That was due to weakness in the vehicle sector. Excluding transport, orders increased by 1.0% MoM.

In Sweden, the Economic Tendency Indicator rose in May and looks consistent with much stronger GDP growth ahead.

Markets

Moves in UK yields were among the highest yesterday after hawkish comments from the BoE.

That also helped the GBP rise against the USD, though it is still stuck near the $1.42 level and was little changed against the EUR.

Despite the hawkish comments, the yield curve in the UK - much like those elsewhere - is still flatter than a few weeks ago.

The 2-year yield spread between the UK and US might normally be consistent with a stronger GBP.

While the USD has been mixed against many currencies this past week, the trend against the CNY was been clear, with the USD depreciating. That could reflect tighter credit in China versus continued loose credit conditions in the US.

It wouldn’t take much more for the GSCI industrial metals index to reach a record high, though weaker iron ore prices have weighed on it lately.

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