Sterling reached a high for the week against USD and EUR yesterday afternoon, and has largely managed to hang on to its gains since then. Amid a lack of headline economic data and no momentous geopolitical developments, markets have a few stories of middling relevance to pick over this morning. These include a reshuffling of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, which looks unlikely to affect key positions and policies relevant for sterling. Chancellor Sajid Javid and foreign secretary Dominic Raab will reportedly remain in place. Incoming Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey made an appeal to the EU to grant the UK recognition of “equivalence” in the regulation of financial services. Speaking in testimony to lawmakers, Bailey said that trade arrangements with the EU needed to include a mechanism to discuss differences in regulation without resulting in “treats to withdraw equivalence” – exactly the sort of threats the EU has used in regulatory disputes with Switzerland.
EURUSD sank back through levels not seen since 2017 yesterday. With no clear marginal driver, the most obvious justification of the move is the ongoing malaise in eurozone macroeconomic data. Data released in the morning showed that the euro area’s aggregate industrial output fell for the 14th consecutive month on a year-on-year basis, equalling the worst outcome since the financial crisis. Market concerns around Italy’s economic health heightened as Deputy Finance Minister Antonio Misiani said in an interview in Rome that “it becomes more complicated today to reach the government target of 0.6% growth in the budget law.”, in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. Germany’s final harmonized consumer price indices from this morning reported a -0.8% change MoM, compared to the Dutch HCPI of -1.3%. The single currency has been slightly recovering since the release, but awaits tomorrow’s data releases on German GDP and eurozone GDP, employment and trade balance. Updated economic forecasts from the European Commission will be released at 10:00 GMT.
Yesterday saw the dollar come under pressure as risk appetite was improving, but this trend reversed overnight after China changed the way coronavirus cases are counted, resulting in an increase of more than 15,000 cases. The G10 currencies are mostly in the red against the dollar, as are many emerging markets. Among the G10 currencies JPY is the best performer. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker gave a speech on the economic outlook, and echoed comments from Jerome Powell by saying that he thought interest rates should be held steady “for a while” while the data unfolded. Today at 13:30 GMT, consumer price index data will be released for the US, accompanied by weekly unemployment claims.
The loonie rallied yesterday, and was surprisingly resilient to the overnight deterioration in risk appetite, holding on to yesterday’s gains. Yesterday’s gain came as crude oil prices also rallied, although the major indices have begun to pare back their gains this morning.