The US dollar crept higher against the euro, pound and Swiss franc today despite the North Korean missile stand-off. At 3.45pm the euro was down -0.12% against the dollar at $1.1743 while the pound was at $1.2980, down -0.17% (more of shortly).
While gold is up more than 1% – the price of gold is now at a two-month high – at $1,286 the Swiss franc fell back earlier; mid-afternoon it was at 0.9633.
The US-North Korean nuclear warhead tensions depressed (again) stock markets across Europe with the FTSE 100 down more than -1.5%, not helped by a rash of companies going ex-dividend, while the German Dax tumbled -1.22%.
Coca-Cola HBC was the FTSE 100's biggest climber, up 9.5%; there was also a 4.9% rise for Worldpay Group though BT shares were down almost -4.8% to 298.40p. Rio Tinto shares were also down heavily.
- UK FTSE 100 7,385.06 -1.51%
- Dow 22,026.10 +0.04%
- S&P 500 2,457.15 -0.68%
- Nasdaq 6,286.74 -1.03%
- Nikkei 225 19,729.74 -0.05%
- DAX 12,024.09 -1.07%
- CAC 40 5,107.68 -0.74%
- Gold 1,292.50 +1.03%
- Oil WTI 49.58 +0.06%
Worsening news for UK trade deficit
New stats from the Office for National Statistics gave sterling a further dent earlier. The UK trade in goods deficit widened from £11.3bn to £12.7bn in June new figures from the ONS revealed. Exports slipped 2.8%, despite sterling being more than 12% weaker than it was pre-Brexit referendum.
Sterling’s position deteriorates when measured against the euro, down 15%. Exports to the EU climbed 2.7% though exports outside the EU area fell almost 8%. The ONS figures are disappointing and appear some distance from cheer-leading from the CBI.
The CBI Industrial Trends survey recently claimed UK manufacturer growth optimism was the highest for four decades. However the new ONS figures show that UK manufacturing data has not improved at any month in 2017 so far.
Asda employees face chop
Walmart-owned Asda has confirmed it is looking at redundancies as the struggling supermarket attempts to rationalise its UK presence. Asda has 18 under-performing stores and is increasingly under pressure from upstarts Lidl and Aldi.
"We understand that any conversations about change are unsettling,” an Asda spokesperson told the Telegraph, “but it is always our upmost priority to find alternative roles or working patterns for impacted colleagues.”
Asda competitors Sainsbury’s and Tesco have already announced major job losses this year. However Sainsbury’s will be upping hourly pay to £8 per hour for around 135,000 staff this year.
Breaking news: Amazon's UK tax bill plummets 50%. TalkTalk is fined £100,000 for poor data security measures.