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Major currencies traded carefully for the most part of the session and gold moved sideways as traders were sitting on their hands while waiting for Draghi and Yellen’s Jackson Hole speeches.

  • U.S. existing home sales down from 5.51M to 5.44M vs. 5.55M forecast
  • U.S. initial jobless claims up from 232K to 234K vs. 237K consensus
  • Profit-taking ahead of speeches by Draghi and Yellen?

Major Events/Reports

Jackson Hole Symposium kicks off

The highly anticipated Jackson Hole Symposium is off to a good start, but traders appear to be holding off any huge positions until ECB head Draghi and Fed Chairperson Yellen deliver their testimonies tomorrow.

If you’re wondering why this might be a big deal, make sure you’ve read Forex Gump’s write-up on Jackson Hole hereAt the same time, keep your eyes and ears peeled for any commentary from other central bank heads and finance officials that make it to the newswires.

Downbeat medium-tier U.S. data

Uncle Sam’s latest batch of reports didn’t exactly paint a cheery picture of the U.S. economy. Keeping in line with downbeat housing data, the July existing home sales report came in below expectations while initial jobless claims ticked slightly higher.

Existing home sales hit an 11-month low at 5.44 million in July, lower compared to the earlier 5.51 million and the projected rise to 5.55 million. According to the National Association of Realtors, there were gains reported in the South and the West regions but that these were outweighed by declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

Apart from that, the shortage of properties available for sale also drove prices higher, making properties less affordable for potential homebuyers. Although sales were still up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis, number crunchers predict that this sector could take a chunk out of Q3 GDP figures.

More infighting in Washington

The White House drama continues as lead protagonist (or is it antagonist?) Donald Trump threw shade on his fellow Republicans for putting the government on the brink of a shutdown due to the looming debt ceiling deadline.

In his version of a formal press release a.k.a. Twitter, the U.S. President threw the blame on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan for creating a “mess” in not pushing for legislation to raise the debt ceiling a few weeks back.

Mixed day for commodities

Gold was trading mostly sideways for the day as investors seemed to be saving their moves until after Draghi and Yellen have had their say. Meanwhile, crude oil took a hit on speculations that Hurricane Harvey could lead refineries to shore up stockpiles before shutting down when the storm hits.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted that Harvey will turn into a major hurricane by Friday as it approaches Texas, likely leading to outages along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Keep in mind that nearly half of the country’s petroleum refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast, along with roughly 51% of U.S. natural gas processing plants.

  • Gold dipped slightly to $1,290.91 per troy ounce (-0.10%)
  • WTI crude oil is down to $47.59 per barrel (-1.69%)
  • Brent crude oil is down to $52.12 per barrel (-0.86%)

Major Market Mover(s):

CAD

Even with the drop in Black Crack prices, the Canadian dollar was able to rake in significant gains against most of its counterparts.

NZD/CAD is down 36 pips to .9031 (-0.40%), EUR/CAD edged from 1.4821 to 1.4787 (-0.22%), GBP/CAD is down to 1.6037 (-0.16%), and USD/CAD fell from 1.2552 to 1.2529 (-0.18%).

JPY

The yen returned some of its recent gains, likely on profit-taking ahead of Jackson Hole and the slight pickup in risk-taking.

AUD/JPY is up to 86.50 (+0.36%), CAD/JPY climbed from 86.87 to 87.37 (+0.60%), GBP/JPY is up 61 pips to 140.15 (+0.44%), and USD/JPY bounced back to 109.51 (+0.44%).

 

Watch Out For:

  • 12:30 am GMT: Japanese national core CPI (0.5% expected, 0.4% previous)
  • 12:30 am GMT: Tokyo core CPI (0.3% expected, 0.2% previous)
  • 12:50 am GMT: Japanese SPPI y/y (no change from previous 0.8% reading expected)