EUR / USD
The Euro was held in tight ranges ahead of Thursday’s New York open with a more defensive tone surrounding risk continuing to limit potential currency support.
Initial US jobless claims increased to 742,000 in the latest week from 711,000 previously and above consensus forecasts of 710,000. Continuing claims declined to 6.37mn from 6.80mn the previous week and below expectations and there was also a net decline in pandemic assistance claims for the latest week.
The Philly Fed manufacturing index declined to 26.3 for November from 32.3 in October, although this was above market expectations of 22.0. There was further strong growth in new orders, while unfilled orders increased at a faster pace. There was also a stronger pace of employment growth and prices increased at a faster pace. Companies remained optimistic over the outlook, but market concerns were focussed more on the services sector.
Existing home sales increased to an annual rate of 6.85mn for October from 6.57mn and above expectations as the housing-sector data remained extremely strong.
The dollar continued to gain an element of support in early US trading as risk appetite faded. Commodity currencies also faded and the Euro retreated to lows just below 1.1820. There was, however, a gradual reversal with the US currency retreating and the Euro strengthened to around 1.1880.
There were concerns over a record number of German coronavirus cases and the EU was unable to resolve the long-term budget dispute with Poland and Hungary. The Euro, however, was resilient and traded around 1.1875 as the dollar was unable to secure significant support amid US growth concerns.
Overall risk conditions were slightly more fragile during Thursday which continued to provide an element of yen protection. Although the dollar moved above the 104.00 level with a peak around 104.30, it was unable to sustain the gains as yields tended to drift lower.
Equities rallied late in New York following reports that Republican Senate majority leader McConnell and Democrat minority leader Schumer would resume coronavirus support package talks. The dollar, however, was unable to make any headway as uncertainty prevailed.
After the New York close, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated that support programmes from the Federal Reserve would not be extended beyond the end of 2020. The corporate credit, municipal lending and Main Street lending programme will not be extended. Other support measures will continue, but the move triggered fresh concerns over the outlook for early next year. There was an angry response from the Federal Reserve and equity futures moved lower, although the overall reaction was relatively muted. There were reports that Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan would certify their Presidential election result by Monday.
The Chinese yuan held firm after the central bank held its lending rate steady with the dollar around 103.80 as US sentiment remained fragile.
The UK CBI industrial orders index declined to -40 for November from -34 previously and marginally below consensus forecasts of -39. Export orders also declined, although overall output declined at the slowest rate since September 2019. Overall confidence in the economic outlook remained fragile, especially with unease over the services sector amid coronavirus restrictions. The UK economy also remains dependent on services to an important extent.
Sterling dipped briefly following reports that Brexit trade talks had been halted due to a positive coronavirus case for one of EU Chief Negotiator Barnier’s team.
The UK currency was also hampered by pressure for a correction with the less confidence tone surrounding risk appetite also acting as a drag on the currency. Sterling dipped to the 1.3200 area against the dollar while the Euro secured limited gains to 0.8960. UK consumer confidence edged lower for November although October retail sales was stronger than expected with a 1.2% increase while there was a narrowing in the government borrowing requirement. Markets were on high alert for Brexit comments with Sterling around 1.3275 against the weaker dollar with the Euro just below 0.8950. Position adjustment will also trigger choppy trading during Friday.
The Swiss franc was again resilient during Thursday amid the more defensive risk tone. The Euro settled just below 1.0800 after again failing to hold a move above this level while the dollar secured only marginal gains after faltering ahead of 0.9150.
There was little net change on Friday with expectations of sustained loose policies by major global central banks continuing to discourage capital flows out of Switzerland. The Euro traded marginally above 1.0800 on Friday with the dollar at 0.9100 as franc selling remained limited.