The day before Thanksgiving is turning out to be a busy one for the markets and global politics. President Trump released a statement of support for Saudi Arabia Tuesday, Theresa May is headed to Brussels and regular economic releases are out a day early.
Trump backs Saudi Crown Prince
In a statement that upset top Republicans, President Trump came out in support of the Saudi Crown Prince a month after the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consoluate in Turkey.
Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi operatives captured headlines last month and many began to question the level of involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the IMF’s Christine Lagarde canceled their trips to an investment conference the Prince was hosting.
But Trump is now softening the U.S. stance on the issue, releasing a statement calling Saudi Arabia “a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
Trump left the Crown Prince’s involvement ambiguous saying “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Fed rate speculation continues
It seems as though Federal Reserve Chairman opened an interest-rate can of worms last week when he mentioned a few growth factors that could cause the Fed to pause its rate hike next year.
Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and others then followed suit, commenting that there wasn’t an urgent need to raise rates.
While the Fed will almost certainly raise rates in December, there is now talk of a pause in the spring. This has caused overall dollar weakness as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday.
EUR/USD edged higher from 1.136 to 1.140. The euro dropped sharply Tuesday as the gap between German and Italian bonds widened, but the Fed speculation is now allowing the euro to make back some of those losses.
The dollar also took a hit Wednesday morning from worse-than-expected durable goods for October.
Durable goods decline 4.4%
Durable goods – or the cost of orders received by manufacturers for goods lasting three years or more – were expected to decline in October, but not to the degree they did according to the release this morning.
The figure was projected to fall 2.5%, but came out at -4.4%. Excluding transportation, durable goods grew 0.1% instead of the 0.4% estimated.
The miss caused the dollar to fall against its major peers. The GBP/USD pair climbed from 1.277 to 1.281 on the news. And the USD/CAD pair is trending lower after spiking yesterday on higher oil prices.
The U.S. unemployment figures (usually released on Thursday) are also out this morning and adding to the weak data. Initial jobless claims were 224,000 for the week ending Nov. 16 instead of the 215,000 estimated. Continuing jobless claims were also higher than expected.
May heads to Brussels
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was able to fend off political opponents and those calling for her resignation this week, remaining defiant to see through the U.K.’s departure from the E.U.
Now she’s headed to Brussels to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to finalize a deal before the E.U. summit on Sunday. There has been recent outcry from other E.U. member states about the terms of the draft Brexit deal.
The GBP/USD pair is hovering below 1.28 as investors wait for the next headline or report.