• NZD strengthens across the board after comments of NZ finance minister
  • European stocks remain in the red, sentiment deteriorates as the US tax bill could be still in peril
  • Interesting developments in emerging markets, affecting Russian and South African assets in particular

Friday morning was calm in Europe. As far as currencies are concerned NZD continued appreciation against USD, moreover South Africa’s Rand advanced by almost 1.5% vs the US dollar. Sentiment on stock markets was downbeat as uncertainties surrounding the US tax bill has persisted. Looking ahead, the US industrial data should come into focus this afternoon. 

Looking through G10 currencies one may spot that the NZ dollar is by far the best one as it gained momentum overnight following remarks delivered by finance minister Grant Robertson. The NZD has continued its winning streak from this week after the appointment of Adrian Orr as a head of RBNZ. As of time of writing NZDUSD is 0.60% up on the day. 

The sentiment on global stock markets has been downbeat on the last trading day this week. There are still concerns over the future of the US tax bill as one the Republican Senators threatened to oppose it. Moreover, stronger yen put pressure on Japan’s equities. European indices have also turned into the red at the opening despite quite dovish ECB stance.

Ripple has been one of the most standout cryptocurrency as it gained almost 100% just in 24 hours! The price of XRP tokens climbed as much as $0.8661 according to quotes delivered by CoinMarketCap. The cryptocurrency has surged more than 280% thus far this week and therefore it has a third place in terms of market capitalization being solely behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. The reason for a mind-bending rally is the same – tests of a Ripple-based payments system being conducted by some big banks in Japan and South Korea

Russian central bank unexpectedly sped up the pace of monetary easing delivering the third 50bps interest rate cut this year while the market consensus had pointed to a 25bps cut to 8%. The move could be aimed at halting declines seen in price growth as well as inflation expectations as both fell to a record low. On the other hand, irrespective of the central bank decision quite an interesting technical set-up could be noticed in the Russian main index (RUS50) which has been traded within a range of late. Looking at emerging markets it’s also worth stressing that the South African ZAR has advanced by almost 1.5% against USD as the court annulled KwaZulu-Natal ANC leadership vote. 

There are still a few interesting events ahead of us. The US industrial data is in the limelight today. Moreover, the BoE quarterly bulletin could clear up the bank’s monetary policy outlook. It’s also worth looking at the US oil rig count as it may impact the crude prices.