Overseas Headlines – December 19, 2016

‘Trumpflation’ trade keeps dollar near 14-year highs
The dollar steadied close to its highest levels in 14 years on Monday, underpinned by expectations that a fiscal expansion planned by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will boost inflation and lead to a faster pace of interest rates hikes. The greenback surged to its highest since January 2003 against a basket of currencies last week and threatened parity with the euro, after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted that rates could rise as many as three times next year. But the dollar drifted a little on Friday and, at 102.88 on Monday, was around 0.7 percent below Thursday’s peak of 103.56, with investors booking profits and lightening hefty bets on the currency as a two-week holiday period began, meaning thin liquidity.

Pound slips further on uncertainty over Brexit transition
Britain’s pound slipped half a percent against the dollar on Monday, adding to two straight weeks of losses, amid uncertainty around how Britain will help businesses manage the exit from the European Union. Trade minister Liam Fox said on Sunday Britain may need a transitional agreement to bridge the gap for firms during negotiations with the EU, but it should not "buy back" into too many of the bloc’s regulations. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported on Sunday that EU Brexit negotiators are insisting Britain agrees to its European divorce settlement before Brussels offers any transitional deal.

German growth significantly higher in the fourth-quarter: Bundesbank
German economic growth is expected to have accelerated significantly in the fourth quarter and inflation, depressed for years, may exceed 1 percent this month on the back of higher oil prices, the Bundesbank said on Monday. Growth, sluggish for most of the second and third quarters, was seen picking up on better industrial production, solid construction output and buoyant private consumption supported by optimistic sentiment, the central bank said in a monthly report.


China’s moves to cool home-price spike kick in, but issues linger
China’s home prices rose at a slower pace in November as government lending curbs took out some heat in major cities, but a supply shortage in some places and sizable inventories elsewhere underscored challenges policymakers face trying to stabilize a polarized market. Analysts say government tightening measures in recent months appeared to have dented speculative demand, a particularly welcome sign given underlying worries the overheated property market could crash and knock the economy hard. New home prices increased 0.6 percent month-on-month in China’s 70 major cities, slowing from October’s 1.1 percent, according to Reuters calculations from data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.