Last week’s highlight was by far the US Federal Reserve’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which has frequently seen the unveiling of major shifts in monetary policy. Investors had speculated that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen would use the stage to provide fresh clues about the direction and pace of “quantitative tightening.” However, Yellen conspicuously stayed away from any policy guidance. Not surprisingly, this sent the US dollar tumbling against most other major currencies. Gold, on the other hand, showed ample intraday volatility, though it ultimately failed to break out of the recently formed congestion zone, suggesting investor hopes for a hawkish Fed were alive.
Sales of new and existing US homes fell short of expectations, highlighting a potential turning point in the housing market. Across the Atlantic in Germany, both the ZEW and the Ifo surveys showed an easing of economic and business sentiment, while UK GDP was confirmed at its second slowest pace of growth since the beginning of last year, sending EURGBP to its highest point since 2009. In Japan, core inflation rose additionally during the month of July, increasing confidence among policymakers working to return inflation to 2.00%.