Good morning, traders. Welcome to this week’s rundown of the macroeconomic data and market headlines that precious metals and currency traders should be keeping an eye on.
Gold prices are starting the week off on the back foot, looking to reassert a toe hold at or above $1500/oz after briefly breaking below support early this morning; silver spot prices are likewise working to hold their $18/oz pricing.
The precious metals’ weakness this morning is largely a factor of profit taking as risk appetite in global markets has been strong to begin the month of September. With the start of the Fed’s imposed “quiet period” ahead of next week’s major FOMC meeting, and a relatively quiet macro calendar this mild bout of selling is to be expected. The important test for gold as we move through this week will be to hold $1500/oz in order to maintain its uptrend. For silver, that important level to hold is roughly $17.50.
As you should be used to doing by now, our main focus in the headlines this week will be looking for any developments ahead of the recently announced negotiations scheduled for early October. An important week for Brexit and the European economy will also be worth some attention.
For now, let’s take a look at the macro calendar.
US Economic Data to Watch
Wednesday, September 11 at 8:30am EDT // Producer Price Index (Aug)
[headline PPI consensus expectations: flat MoM // previous: +0.2%]
[core PPI consensus exp.: +0.2% MoM // prev.: -0.1%]
The producer pricing variant of inflation will be overshadowed by consumer inflation this week, but an major deviation from expectations will, for the day at least, trade in relation to its flashier cousin: neither PPI nor CPI are expected to show much change over the last month; if producer prices were to surprise by advancing with more pace in August or (more concerningly) deflate, we may see observers and market analysts re-setting their expectations for Thursday’s CPI data.
Thursday, September 12 at 8:30am EDT // US Inflation (Aug)
[core CPI consensus exp.: +2.3% YoY // prev.: +2.2%]
[headline CPI consensus exp.: +1.8% YoY // prev.: +1.8%]
Particularly with what seems to be becoming another “biggest Fed meeting of the year” on next week’s schedule, US consumer inflation is the big dog on this week’s macro calendar. As I mentioned, based on the inputs there’s very little expectation for any kind of fireworks this month, with core inflation making modest acceleration in its year-over-year growth primarily due to higher prices passed through from May and June tariffs; the more volatile headline CPI number is expected to remain growing at the same annual pace, with the added drag of lower energy prices this summer.
As has been the case all summer, I believe the important thing is that inflation has not slowed from earlier in the year, when the FOMC seemed comfortable arguing that the economy was not in need of overtly accommodative monetary policy. As long as August’s CPI data comes in roughly in line with expectations, while it may not be enough (given the weight of other concerns) to forestall a second consecutive rate cut next week I do think it deeply discounts the possibility of a more aggressive cut of 50 basis points.
From the gold market’s perspective, CPI data at anticipated or better this week should be a headwind for short-term gold prices while disappointing numbers will likely boost gold prices—especially from their lower bound to start this week—while putting pressure on the US Dollar. I anticipate we would see the same correlated reactions around Wednesday’s PPI release, albeit to a lesser degree.
Thursday, September 12 at 8:30am EDT // Initial Jobless Claims
[consensus exp.: +215k // prev.: +217k]
Friday, September 13 at 8:30am EDT // Retail Sales (Aug)
[headline consensus exp.: +0.2% MoM // prev.: +0.7%]
[ex-autos consensus exp.: +0.1% MoM // prev.: +1.0%]
July’s retail data (ex-autos) got such a massive lift from Amazon Prime day that the majority of analysts expect the best we can do this month is to maintain relatively flat sales growth as the mean reverts. Particularly since we’ve already gotten confirmation that the US consumer is spending on-pace, I think odds are pretty low that we see a surprise deterioration in Retail Sales. With the likelihood that everyone’s head is already turned toward next week’s FOMC meeting by Friday morning, safe-haven assets like gold could easily ignore the retail data this time around.
Friday, September 13 at 10am EDT // Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment (Sep)
[consensus exp.: 90.4 // prev.: 89.8]
Similar is the case for Consumer Sentiment evaluation this month, although we’ll be looking to see what impact the persistent US-China trade conflict is having on consumers’ outlook and faith in the American economy. If the initial September survey is a big disappointment, that could support gold pricing late Friday morning in the face of the weakness we’ve gotten used to seeing at the end of the week, driven by short-term profit-taking.
Global Economic Data to Watch
Thursday, September 12 at 7:45am EDT // ECB Interest Rate Decision
It seems a given that the ECB will shift back into actively easing monetary policy for its common currency economy this month; the discussion and analysis is largely around how President Draghi & Co. will blend the use of three primary tools at hand: deposit rate cuts, a new program of quantitative easing, and forward guidance in the committee’s statement. Especially given the recent uptick in public resistance from ECB members to being hasty with a new round of QE, I agree with analyst expectations for a rate cut in the neighborhood of 0.20-0.25% paired with the announcement of a small, very narrowly defined QE package. In terms of forward guidance, it looks like going ahead the ECB will adopt an FOMC-like policy of linking future moves to realized and expected inflation.
The immediate reaction to this (or a similar) announcement from the ECB will likely be a drop in the Euro which will weigh on gold prices a bit (as the Dollar rises proportionally.) In a more medium-term view, the arrival of renewed easing in Europe will dampen the effect that further FOMC easing will haven on safe-haven assets like gold—that is: if the Fed cuts rates the dollar should still fall and gold prices should still rise, only less so.
And that, traders, is your look at the macro calendar for the next five days. I wish you the best of luck in the markets this week, and I’ll see you all back here on Friday for a detailed recap.