EUR / USD
Narrow ranges prevailed ahead of Thursday’s New York open with the dollar unable to gain significant traction and the Euro edged higher. Euro-zone producer prices increased 21.9% in the year to October from 16.1% the previous month and above forecasts of 19.0%, reinforcing inflation concerns.
US initial jobless claims increased to 222,000 in the latest week from a revised 194,000 previously, but below consensus forecasts of 240,000. Continuing claims declined to 1.96mn from 2.06mn and below market expectations of 2.00mn. The Challenger data also recorded a decline in US layoffs to below 15,000 for November from 22,800 the previous month and the lowest November figure for close to 30 years. The data maintained confidence in the US labour market.
Atlanta Fed President Bostic stated that there had been a pretty robust recovery in employment and GDP. He added that he would be in favour of tapering sooner rather than later, but also noted that he wanted to see continued momentum in the labour market in the monthly jobs report.
He added that he would favour bringing forward interest rate hikes if inflation stays elevated in 2022 with a hawkish overall tone.
Higher yields and the hawkish Fed rhetoric underpinned the dollar after the New York open with the Euro retreating to the 1.1300 level.
Fed Governor Quarles stated that he would back a faster pace of bond purchases, maintaining the flow of more hawkish rhetoric.
There was still an element of caution ahead of Friday’s US employment report given the potential implications for the December Fed meeting. A strong report would reinforce expectations that the Fed will taper at a faster pace while a weak report would trigger fresh doubts and increase uncertainty. Consensus forecasts are for a non-farm payrolls increase of around 550,000. The dollar held firm on Friday with the Euro retreating to around 1.1285.
US Congress reached a deal to fund the government until the second half of February which removed the immediate threat of another government shutdown. US Treasuries edged higher in early New York with the 10-year yield dipping to below 1.42%, but there was renewed selling as Wall Street opened and yields moved to above Wednesday’s closing level which provided an element of dollar support.
Cleveland Fed President Mester stated that the Omicron variant risks fuelling further inflation pressure due to the impact on supply chains and she also noted that there could be an impact in deterring people from re-entering the labour force. Wall Street equities also posted a strong recovery which underpinned dollar sentiment and curbed potential defensive yen demand, although there was still a high degree of uncertainty. After finding support close to 112.80, the dollar moved above 113.00.
Chinese Caixin PMI services index dipped to 52.1 for November from 53.8 previously, reinforcing reservations over Chinese domestic demand. Risk appetite was slightly less confident due to Omicron US cases and commodity currencies edged lower, although regional bourses made headway. The dollar, however, held a firm tone and traded around the 113.30 area in early Europe with the Euro held below the 128.0 level.
Sterling edged higher during Thursday with the currency responding to a more constructive global risk tone as equities posted significant gains. Markets were still wary over the threat of fresh setbacks given high volatility during the past few sessions with UK coronavirus cases also causing some concern.
Irish Foreign Minister Coveney stated that there are significant gaps between the UK and EU on the Northern Ireland protocol. There was little market impact, but markets remained wary over underlying tensions, especially with the US pulling back from any trade deal with the UK.
Sterling traded above 1.3300 against the dollar for most of the day, although it was unable to gain significant traction while the Euro dipped below the 0.8500 level.
Sterling retreated to near 1.3280 against the dollar on Friday as US gains dominated while the Euro held close to the 0.8500 level.
The Swiss franc was again resilient on Thursday despite the stronger tone in risk appetite. There was fresh speculation that the National Bank would tolerate a stronger currency while the further increase in Swiss coronavirus cases did not have a significant impact.
The Euro settled just above the 1.0400 level with the dollar trading just above the 0.9200 level. The franc held steady on Friday with markets continuing to monitor any action from the National Bank while underlying franc demand remained strong. The dollar posted a net advance to near 0.9220.