Markets cautious after Chinese data, Musk melts Bitcoin, Fed speakers eyed

The week begins with a moderate risk-off mood as Chinese data has missed estimates and Friday’s miss in US retail sales. Tesla’s Musk hinted he is selling Bitcoin, triggering a crypto sell-off. A long list of Fed speakers is eyed.

S&P 500 futures are down on Monday and the safe-haven dollar is rising in a risk-off mood. China reported an increase of 17.7% YoY in April’s retail sales, well below expectations. The parallel release in the US also missed estimates by remaining flat last month. The publication included a sharp drop in the Control Group of sales and was accompanied by a fall in consumer confidence.

On the other hand, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment data also showed a leap in inflation expectations, adding to concerns that the Federal Reserve would be forced to raise rates sooner rather than later. Vice-Chair Richard Clarida and several of his colleagues are scheduled to speak later in the day.

EUR/USD is trading below 1.2150 amid the rush to the dollar and despite Europe’s accelerating vaccination campaign. GBP/USD is also pressured under 1.41, shrugging off Britain’s new step in reopening, which includes international flights.

COVID-19 cases have risen in Asia, which had spared the worst of the first wave of the disease. An outbreak in Taiwan is wracking havoc, while China has ramped up its immunization campaign.

Elon Musk , the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, spent his weekend bashing Bitcoin, also hinting his company is selling its holdings in the granddaddy of cryptocurrencies. BTC/USD extended its falls, nearing $42,000. Ethereum was dragged lower to below $3,400 and XRP to under $1.40. Dogecoin, which Musk has been hailing, is also on the back foot, changing hands at around $0.48.

Gold stands out with an upswing, trading above $1,850. Several metals such as copper and iron ore advanced last week.

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