By Craig Erlam
It’s been a relatively uneventful start to the week, but the next couple of days could be hugely important as the US and UK release inflation figures for October.
The two countries’ central banks have, alongside others, been grappling with very high inflation for the last couple of years, and efforts to bring it down are finally bearing fruit.
Inflation in the US is expected to have fallen to 3.3% last month, which is within touching distance of the Fed’s 2% target.
While the final push is expected to be the hardest, it will give the Fed some comfort that, despite the economy and labour market displaying remarkable resilience, a soft landing may still be possible.
Base effects are expected to turn much more favorable for the UK, where inflation is expected to have fallen from 6.7% in September to 4.7% in October.
While that still leaves the Bank of England with a big job on its hands to more than half that again, it’s a huge step in the right direction.
Wage growth remains a major headwind for both, but particularly the UK, which will also get the latest labour market statistics on Tuesday. Lower than-forecast readings on inflation and wages could put an end to rate hike talk and see traders bring forward expectations on when the first cut will come.
OPEC pushes back against pessimistic demand
Oil prices are a little higher at the start of the week after bouncing off their recent lows over the last couple of sessions.
Brent and WTI fell to their lowest levels since July last week in a sign that traders are becoming increasingly concerned about the world economy next year and the risk-premium in the Middle East has subsided.
The OPEC monthly oil market report appeared to push back against demand concerns, referencing overblown negative sentiment around Chinese demand while raising demand growth forecasts for this year and leaving them unchanged for next.
The question now is whether OPEC+ members Russia and Saudi Arabia will push back with cuts beyond December.
Gold steady ahead of US CPI
Gold prices were pretty flat on Monday, as were Treasuries and the dollar, with traders clearly having an eye on the US inflation report on Tuesday.
The yellow metal has fallen more than 3% over the last week or so after repeatedly failing to significantly break above $2,000 and whether we see another run at that may depend on the October CPI report.
Craig Erlam is Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
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