Who will blink first

There was a sense of unease in markets yesterday as equities moved away from the highs, with a related up-tick in measures of volatility that have been crushed to multi-year lows, which will be viewed as a welcome development by many. Today the IMF is warning on the perils of housing market valuations, as highlighted by the FT, which is particularly relevant for the UK where the potential for some policy action, more likely via the Financial Policy Committee, is growing ever stronger.

Note that they meet next week, with the record of the meeting to be published early July. In many respects, we seem to be at a stand-off between central banks and markets. The latter have reacted to the ample liquidity and forward guidance provided by central banks by rallying and volatility has subsided, but this in turn is seen as a cause for concern for central banks, so at some point someone is going to blink.

For today, the focus is on US retail sales data at 12:30 GMT, to offer a read on the strength of consumer demand in the US last month. A stronger number should give the dollar a modest lift, but for now, it’s not a pre-defined bullish dollar run, with the Aussie and also sterling digging their heels in for different reasons.

The labour market data overnight in Australia has seen a weaker than expected reading on headline employment, but the rate remained steady at 5.8%, with AUDUSD just nudging the 0.9400, not that far from the year’s highs at 0.9461. Finally, UK markets will have one eye on the key Mansion House speech by the Chancellor this evening, which could be relevant for potential pronouncements on the housing market.

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