The Swiss franc continues has drifted for most of the week and the pattern has continued on Thursday. USD/CHF is currently trading at 0.9161, up o.17% on the day.
Retail Sales sink but GDP rebounds
It has been an unusually busy day for Swiss releases, with three events on the calendar. The most noteworthy item was Retail Sales for July, which fell by 2.6% (YoY), its sharpest decline since April. The sharp decline reflects weakness in the services sector, as consumer spending has waned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There was better news from second-quarter GDP, which rebound strongly with a 1.8% gain, after declining 1.4% in Q1. GDP in the second quarter was only 0.5% lower than growth prior to the pandemic (Q4 of 2019), according to the Swiss government. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the easing of health restrictions in the April-June period. Inflation remains low, with a slight gain of 0.2% in August (MoM).
All eyes are on US Nonfarm Payrolls, which will be released on Friday. Investors are a bit more cautious after some disappointing US data on Wednesday – the ADP Employment report missed the forecast by almost half, while the ISM manufacturing employment sub-index fell into contraction territory. Granted, the ADP is not a reliable indicator of NFP, but such a massive miss has understandably raised eyebrows about the strength of the labor market. It will be interesting to see if the consensus of 750 thousand is on target – an overperformance will trigger speculation about an imminent Fed taper, while a massive miss would likely delay a taper. This means that the NFP should be viewed as a market-mover for the US dollar.
Ahead of the NFP release, Fed members Raphael Bostic and Mary Daly will deliver speeches later today. Bostic is hawkish and recently said it was “reasonable” to commence tapering in October. Day is more of a centrist, so if her remarks indicate a move in either direction, the markets, and the US dollar could respond.
- On the upside, 0.9172 remains under pressure in resistance. Above, there is resistance at 0.9233
- There is support at 0.9078. Close by, there is support at 0.9045