4th August 2017 NY Summary
Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls added a total of 209K jobs in the month of July, driving the unemployment rate down to 4.3% from 4.4%. Average hourly earnings growth accelerated to 0.3% from 0.2%. These numbers are good enough to stem the slide in the dollar, but based on the lacklustre rally in USD/JPY investors don't seem convinced that another rate hike is warranted. USDJPY traded to a high of $111.06, closing 0.58% higher at $110.69. Euro was down 0.83% at $1.1772. Sterling traded 0.78% lower at $1.3036.
Brent Oil futures were up 0.79% at $52.42 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude was up 1.12% at $49.58.
Key Political developments last week - POLITICO:
Congress doesn’t appear very interested in funding Trump’s promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate Republicans, for instance, introduced a $15 billion border security bill this week—and none of that money was earmarked for the wall. Democrats are refusing to vote for any bill that includes border wall money.
But the Trump administration is continuing to take steps to build an actual, physical wall. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a notice that it was waiving more than three dozen environmental laws in order to build border wall prototypes along a 15-mile border in the vicinity of San Diego, California. The waived laws include the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water, and the Antiquities Act, freeing the government from costly regulations like environmental reviews. The notice is still a small move, since the department has only about $20 million to construct the prototypes—money repurposed from other accounts. But it’s another signal that Trump isn’t backing down from his wall.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, a law intended to protect consumers, tighten up oversight of banks and prevent another deep recession. Republicans for years have complained that the law was unduly harsh, discouraging banks from lending and contributing to the slow economic recovery.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration took a first step to reforming a major component of the law, known as “Volcker Rule,” which prevents banks from risking depositors’ money on certain speculative investments. The Office Comptroller of the Currency, an independent agency currently run by Acting Director Keith Noreika, who Trump appointed in May, requested comments on revising the Volcker Rule, a clear sign that he intends to change the underlying regulation.
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