The UK manufacturing sector managed a strong performance in March according to the latest figures with the PMI survey posting 55.1 versus an expected 51.2. This can be largely attributed to the stockpiling of goods currently being experienced in the United Kingdom as consumers and retailers plan for the fall out of a possible hard Brexit and subsequent perceived shortage of goods.
Later in the evening the House of Commons again voted on a number of scenarios regarding Brexit and again failed to gain a majority on any of the suggested plans for Brexit. The currency weakened on the back of the news, as a ‘no-deal’ Brexit stays a possible outcome on the 12th of April – when the current short-term extension of article 50 expires.
The focus today will be the construction PMI number and any news out of Parliament on the next meaningful vote.
In Europe we had a number of manufacturing surveys including Italy, France, Germany and the composite number for the whole of the EU. These all missed expectations and were all under the 50 mark (which reflects a positive reading). This will be a concern for the EU leadership and ECB as the growth and inflation numbers have been trending lower and may be an indication that the EU economy may be heading towards recession.
In the US, retail sales dropped by 0.2% in the previous month – significantly worse than markets were expecting and manufacturing surveys were an additional negative for the day. The Dollar however ignored this all and traded stronger through the afternoon on rumours of a positive move in trade relations with China.
The focus for the Dollar today will be the Durable goods reading due out this afternoon.
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