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Sterling started the week with a boost after the monthly Construction PMI beat forecast to print 62.4, when a reading of 62.1 was expected. The sector is in rude health, with house building enjoying its fastest growth in over a decade, which has led to a record rise in employment.

The report was largely pound-positive, but  given construction only makes up a small part of the UK economy, cable only rose 15 pips to 1.6830. Earlier in the day we had seen a good Retail Sales release from Australia, with a 0.6% uptick for June. AUD/USD started the week trading at .9320.

Tuesday  started with the RBA keeping interest rates on hold at 2.5%, as was expected. The accompanying statement was little changed from the previous month’s, noting that the exchange rate was historically high and stressing that a period of stability in interest rates was the best option for the economy.  Tuesday  morning saw the release of the closely followed UK Services PMI, which beat expectations coming in at 59.1, its highest level of 2014. The markets were expecting 58.1, so the release was pound-positive and saw cable jump 50 pips to hit 1.6885, with GBP/EUR touching 1.26.

By Alex Edwards at  UKForex, an international money transfer service

The report estimates that Q3 growth should match Q1 and Q2 at 0.8%, should this trend continue.Tuesday  afternoon saw America’s ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI smash forecast coming in at 58.7, when 56.6 was expected. The accompanying Factory Orders m/m showed a 1.1% rise for June. EUR/USD, which had started the week at 1.3430, dipped under the big number  on Tuesday  and failed to regain this level for the rest of the week. New Zealand saw its unemployment level drop to 5.6% from 5.9% overnight, however the job creation data was worse than expected, which led NZD/USD to drop from .8520 to .8455.

Wednesday’s  big news was worse-than-expected manufacturing data from both Germany and the UK. First up was Germany’s monthly Factory Orders which, after a fall of -1.6% in May, suffered a further fall of -3.2% in June. Business confidence has been falling in Germany recently, with the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the Ukraine and Russia weighing on the sector.

Later in the day, the UK’s Manufacturing Production m/m also undershot expectations with a reading of 0.3% for June. Following the previous month’s unexpected fall a bigger rebound was expected, however it appears that the aforementioned political tensions and the strong pound have caused the sector to stutter in recent months. Cable dropped from 1.6865 to 1.6835 on the news and dropped below 1.26 against the euro.

Early  Thursday  morning saw an abysmal unemployment release from Australia, with a jump from 6.0% to 6.4%, which sent the Aussie tumbling across the board. AUD/USD gapped from .9350 to .93 on the release, falling further as the day went on to trade as low as .9260.

As expected, the BoE and ECB held interest rates at 0.5% and 0.15% respectively. At the monthly ECB press conference, Mario Draghi spoke of the growing threat to the eurozone from geopolitical tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, again stating that further stimulus measures were still being considered to stave off the threat of deflation. GBP/EUR moved above 1.26 on the news, with EUR/USD dropping from 1.3385 to 1.3345.  Thursday  afternoon saw another good Unemployment Claims release from the States which printed 289K, the second recent reading under 300K.

Overnight we have seen the quarterly RBA Monetary Policy Statement. The report revised down both growth and inflation forecasts for the next 12 months, again citing the drop in mining investment as a primary reason for the economic slowdown. The report reiterated the neutral bias towards rate rises and, given the poor unemployment reading earlier in the week, it seems any rate rises will be at least a couple of years off. It’s a quiet end to the week, so markets will now be looking forward to next week.Wednesday  is a big day data-wise for the UK, with the Unemployment Rate and the latest BoE Inflation Report being released in the morning.  Wednesday  afternoon sees Retail Sales figures from the States. We end the week with the UK’s Q2 GDP 2nd estimate.

Further reading:  Market Movers Podcast Test Episode #10: ECB past and present, US data run down and current state of oil