Today has been a somewhat slow start to the week, coming off the back of a central bank fuelled end to the last. Last week was characterised by dovish central banks, with the ECB pointing towards a December QE increase and China easing once more. However, this week could provide yet another opportunity for the central banks to dominate, with the FOMC meeting tomorrow and Friday seeing the possibility of QE expansion at the BoJ.
Mark Carney started the week in earnest, providing increasingly vague messages in noting the BoE could hike rates – or not – in 2015, depending on the circumstances. Despite this, when it does occur, it is much more likely to be later rather than sooner.
Today has seen US new-home sales fall 11.5% in September to a 10-month low, providing a big surprise given the strong outperformance of existing home sales and home starts data released last week. Whether this is a sign of a wider slowdown in the US remains to be seen, yet with North East new home sales plummeting 61.8% there is a possibility this could be a regional phenomenon rather than a nationwide event. Nevertheless, the dollar certainly felt the effect of today’s announcement, falling in response.
Today’s decision from Aldi to raise its worker’s minimum wage is significant, coming within a sector that is massively competitive. As Tesco and Sainsbury’s flounder in an attempt to compete with lower cost entrants, Aldi’s decision to raise costs pushes the question back to its competitors as to whether they too will take action ahead of the £7.20 national living wage introduction.