Loonie Little Changed After Canada Building Permits

At 8:30 am ET Wednesday, Statistics Canada has released Canada building permits for September. After the data, the loonie changed little against its major rivals.

The loonie was worth 89.18 against the yen, 1.2727 against the greenback, 1.4752 against the euro and 0.9769 against the aussie around 8:32 am ET.

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Pound Weakens Amid U.K. Political Worries

The pound declined against its major counterparts in the European session on Wednesday, weighed by political uncertainty in the U.K., as the nation’s international development secretary Priti Patel has cut short her trip to Asia amid allegations of having undisclosed meetings with Israeli politicians.

Patel, who was on a visit to Africa, has been ordered to fly back to London by May.

Patel came under fire over a secret trip to Israel, where she held 12 undisclosed meetings, including one with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without reporting the Foreign Office or government in advance.

Breaching protocol, Patel visited the Golan Heights and discussed the possibility of U.K. funding to be used for the medical treatment for Syrians displaced by civil war.

The accusation came a week after the resignation of the defense minister Michael Fallon following allegations of sexual harassment.

In the economic front, UK firms plan to continue to lift their investment moderately over the coming year, according to Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions published by Bank of England.

However, investment growth was expected to be somewhat weaker over the following two years. “Economic uncertainty was the biggest drag on investment plans,” the summary showed.

The currency has been trading in a negative territory in the Asian session.

The pound slipped to 2-day lows of 1.3091 against the dollar and 1.3082 against the franc, from its early highs of 1.3176 and 1.3171, respectively. On the downside, 1.30 is likely seen as the next support level for the pound against both the greenback and the franc, respectively.

The pound fell to near a 3-week low of 148.56 against the Japanese yen, reversing from an early high of 150.13. Continuation of the pound’s downtrend may see it challenging support around the 147.00 area.

Preliminary data from the Cabinet Office showed that Japan’s leading index declined as expected in September, after strengthening in the previous month.

The leading index, which measures the future economic activity, dropped to 106.6 in September from 107.2 in August, which was the highest score since February 2014. The figure also matched consensus estimate.

The U.K. currency weakened to a 2-day low of 0.8853 against the euro, off its previous high of 0.8797. The next possible support for the pound is seen around the 0.90 region.

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Poland Keeps Rates On Hold

Poland’s central bank maintained its record low interest rate on Wednesday, in line with economists’ expectations.

The Monetary Policy Council of the National Bank of Poland decided to leave the key reference rate at a record low 1.50 percent.

The previous change in the reference rate was a half-basis point cut in March 2015.

The lombard rate was retained at 2.50 percent and the deposit rate at 0.50 percent. The rediscount rate was held steady at 1.75 percent.

Liam Carson, an economist at Capital Economics, expects the bank to raise its key rate by 100 basis points in 2018, taking it to 2.50 percent by the end of the year.

Although inflation slowed in October, wage and price pressures are building, the economist noted. With wage growth close to an eight-year high, headline inflation will rise above the central bank’s 2.5 percent target next year, Carson said.

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UK Staff Appointments Rise At Softer Pace On Uncertain Outlook

UK staff appointment growth was held back in October by uncertain outlook and skill shortages, the latest Report on Jobs published by IHS Markit and Recruitment & Employment Confederation showed Wednesday.

Growth in permanent staff placements grew at the start of the final quarter of 2017, but the rate of increase fell to a six-month low. Temp billings also grew at the softest pace since April.

Data showed that staff vacancies rose notably for permanent and temporary roles in October. At the same time, availability of candidates continued to decline sharply.

A sustained upturn in demand for staff and lower candidate availability led to further increases in pay.

“We already know that EU workers are leaving because of the uncertainties they are facing right now,” Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive, said.

“We therefore need clarity around what future immigration systems will look like,” Green said. Otherwise, the situation will get worse and employers will face even more staff shortages, he cautioned.

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France's Current Account Deficit Widens In September

France’s current account gap widened in September on visible trade deficit, data published by the Bank of France showed Wednesday.

The current account deficit increased to EUR 3.1 billion from EUR 1.7 billion in August.

The trade in goods showed a deficit of EUR 4.2 billion, while services trade posted a EUR 0.1 billion surplus. Primary and secondary income totaled EUR 1 billion.

In the third quarter, the current account deficit totaled EUR 9 billion versus a EUR 4.1 billion shortfall in the second quarter.

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Gold Quickly Loses Luster

Gold futures edged lower Tuesday after upbeat jobs data showed demand for workers remained strong in September.

Job openings were little changed in September, keeping the opening rate at a record high 4.0 percents, according to the so-called JOLTS report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job openings in the third quarter were up 7 percent from a year earlier.

Dec. gold settles at $1,275.80/oz on Comex, down $5.80, or 0.5%. Gold touched a 3-month low last week, but rebounded yesterday on geopolitical tensions and inflation expectations.

A report on consumer credit is due at 3 pm ET.

Outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Washington this afternoon.

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Rising Trend In Australia's Building Approvals Unlikely To Last

The recent unexpected rise in Australia’s building approvals is a bit of a head fake and that approvals will show a clearer softening trend into year-end, Matthew Hassan, an economist at Westpac Institutional Bank, said.

Total number of building approvals climbed 1.5 percent monthly in September, following a 0.1 percent slight rise in August, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on November 2.

“We had been looking for some softening in non-high rise approvals which had been firming over the last four moths, and for further weakness in high rise,” the economist observed.

Instead the breakdown showed another modest gain for non-high approvals, while high rises recorded a 20 percent jump.

Due to volatility in monthly data, Westpac started using 3-month averages as the ‘benchmark’ measure, changing the table and charts accordingly, but still referring to the latest monthly figures where appropriate.

For September, the 3-month average continued to show a moderation after a lift mid-year with the quarterly growth rate tracking back to 5.1 percent.

“Approvals are still down materially on the same period last year, by 9.5 percent, with all of the fall coming from an estimated 37 percent drop in ‘high rise’ approvals,” the economist pointed out.

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