Sterling was down over one percent yesterday across the board wiping out last week’s gains. The catalyst was due to the statements made by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Barnier stated that a “highly ambitious” trade deal is on offer for the UK, but only if London agrees to its rules. However, Johnson dismissed their claims insisting Britain will thrive even if negotiations fail. Sterling slide in fortune is as a result of a re-calibration of the Brexit expectations after the jubilation of a Johnson majority government being formed in December. The focus will be on the tone of the talks and whether the UK will activate an extension before the end of June.
Looking to the day ahead we have the UK construction PMI data for release. The release figure posted at 48.4, higher than the consensus forecast of 46.6, but still below 50 which is the level that divides expansion and contraction.
US Posts Positive Manufacturing data
In terms of economic data, the focus was on the US ISM manufacturing data. The headline data showed that factory activity increased to a reading of 50.9 last month, the highest level since July, from an upwardly revised 47.8 in December. The improvement in economic data is likely to be as a result of ebbing trade tensions between the United States and China.
Today, US factory orders is expected to echo the same sentiment as seen in yesterday’s ISM manufacturing and report a positive number. During the evening session, President Trump will deliver his annual State of the Union address. This will be closely monitored to see where he might fight his battles in the election which is due in 9 months.