- Pound (GBP) slumps as jobs data masks extent of covid impact
- Clouded jobs data comes following strong inflation figures
- US Dollar (USD) safe haven flows increase amid US – Chinese tensions and concerns over the cautiousness seen in Chinese consumers
- US retail sales and jobless claims in focus
The Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate is edging lower, paring gains from the previous session. At 06:15 UTC, GBP/USD trades -0.25% at US$1.2550.
The UK unemployment rate remained steady at 3.9%. However, the data from the Office of National Statistics fails to show the true extent of the coronavirus crisis on the jobs market because of the governments job retention scheme. Around 9 million people are neither employed or unemployed as the government supports them on the furlough scheme. As the scheme begins to taper in the coming months the unemployment rate will rise.
The data comes following UK inflation data on Wednesday, which showed that consumer prices jumped a better than forecast 0.6% in the previous session. As lockdown measures eased, demand increased, boosting prices, providing optimism that the UK economic recovery was moving in the right direction.
The US Dollar is pushing higher on Thursday as bubbling US – China tensions and weak Chinese consumption data unnerved investors, weighing on optimism of a rapid economic rebound from the coronavirus crisis.
Chinese GDP jumped a better than expected 3.2% in the second quarter, ahead of expectations of 2.5%. However, retail sales declined for a 5th straight month. This doesn’t bode well for other countries as they ease lockdown restrictions and highlights the problem that without a vaccine consumer will be wary returning to shopping centre and large crowded spaces. Consumer cautiousness could mean that the road to economic recovery is longer and slower. This is weighing on investor sentiment, boosting safe haven flows into the US Dollar.
Looking ahead attention will remain on the US economic calendar with initial jobless claims US retail sales in focus. US retail sales soared in May, jumping +17.7%, this is expected to ease to a still strong 5% increase month on month in June.
Meanwhile US jobless claims are expected to continue increasing at a slower rate with 1.2 million new claims, down from 1.3 million last week. Strong data could help ease the nerves created from China’s data.