10/01/2018 - Sterling Falls Despite Investor Optimism

GBP

Sterling snapped a three-day rising streak and weakened on Tuesday as investors took profits after a rally although expectations that Brexit talks will have a positive outcome continued to underpin the British currency.

External factors have also proved supportive for the pound with the U.S. dollar struggling to gain much traction against its rivals in the opening days of the year.

Net long bets on sterling are near their highest levels in more than three years, according to data released by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday, suggesting some investors have warmed to the bullish sterling theme. That optimism has also filtered through to the currency derivatives markets, with gauges of expected volatility plummeting to more than three-year lows.

The drop in expected price swings has gathered steam since Prime Minister Theresa May secured progress in the complicated process of leaving the EU last month.

EUR

Greek demonstrators stormed the country’s labour ministry and confronted its chief on Tuesday in protest at moves to restrict the right to strike, a condition set by international creditors in exchange for bailout funds. Athens is set to introduce legislation which could limit the frequency of strikes in the country, infuriating labour unions which regard industrial action as sacrosanct.

Using crowbars, about 500 demonstrators with Greek Communist-affiliated group PAME prised open metal shutters of the labour ministry in central Athens, racing up to the eighth floor of the building where about 50 of them came face to face with Labour Minister Effie Achtsioglou.

The 32-year old minister is a staunch leftist in the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Greece’s leftist-led government was due to submit a bill with bailout-mandated reforms to parliament on Tuesday. The government has agreed to increase the quorum for unions to vote on a strike.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the reforms before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Jan 22, which will assess the country’s bailout progress as part of a review by its lenders.

Key Announcements

09.30 – GBP – Manufacturing Production MoM; Forecast at 0.3% against previous of 0.1%

15.00 – USD – Crude Oil Inventories