The dollar continued to advance during the day on expectations of US growth out-performance.

Overall risk appetite held firm on Thursday with expectations of further US fiscal support. Wall Street equities posted further gains with indices posting fresh record highs. Chinese equities, however, moved lower.

The dollar continued to advance during the day on expectations of US growth out-performance. Euro sentiment remained weak amid further reservations over the outlook amid vaccination difficulties. EUR/USD selling increased after a break below the 1.2000 level with fresh 2-month lows just above 1.1950. Sterling strengthened sharply after a more hawkish than expected Bank of England statement with GBP/EUR hitting 8-month highs above 1.1430

Commodity currencies retreated under the weight of US dollar strength even though sentiment held firm amid solid risk conditions.

Euro-zone retail sales increased 2.0% for December with a 0.6% annual decline from -2.2% previously, but with expectations of further setbacks in the first quarter of this year. The Euro overall was undermined by a lack of confidence in the vaccine programme and the single currency remained under pressure. The German IFO institute warned that it expects coronavirus restrictions to last until mid-September which also contributed to generally negative sentiment with expectations that the Euro-zone would under-perform relative to the US. EUR/USD also broke below the 1.2000 level which encouraged further selling and a paring of long positions.

US initial jobless claims declined to 779,000 in the latest week from a downwardly-revised 812,000 previously and below consensus forecasts of 830,000. Continuing claims also declined to 4.59mn from 4.79mn previously. There was also a decline in the numbers claiming pandemic assistance which provided some relief and maintained a more optimistic stance towards the monthly jobs data on Friday. Consensus forecasts are for an increase in non-farm payrolls of around 85,000 for the month with the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7%. Strong data would increase confidence in US out-performance.

Kansas City Fed President George stated that financial stability is an essential condition for Fed goals which suggested reservations over a prolonged period of very low interest rates, although St Louis head Bullard considered that there were no financial stability risks at present.

The dollar overall strengthened to fresh 2-month highs as underlying short covering continued and EUR/USD retreated to 2-month lows below 1.1960. Narrow ranges prevailed on Friday with the Euro hampered by a decline in German industrial orders and trading around 1.1960 as the dollar maintained a robust tone.

US dollar strength continued to dominate during Thursday with the US currency continuing to make gradual headway against the Japanese currency.

Wall Street equities moved higher and there was a slight net increase in bond yields which also helped underpin the US currency. USD/JPY posted a 7th successive daily advance with 11-week highs just above 105.50 against the yen with a further net covering of dollar shorts.

US Treasury Secretary Yellen reiterated that there were still tough months ahead until the pandemic was under control and that it was really urgent to act big on economic relief. President Biden withdrew the previous Administration’s nomination of Shelton as a Federal Reserve Governor.

Risk appetite was stable on Friday while the Chinese yuan traded in narrow ranges and USD/JPY settled just above 105.50.

The UK PMI construction index declined to 49.2 for January from 54.6 previously which was the weakest reading for 8 months and below consensus forecasts of 53.0. Residential activity remained strong, but civil and commercial activity contracted. GBP/USD continued to retreat to 1.3565 after the data.

The Bank of England made no policy changes with interest rates held at 0.1% and total asset purchases at £895bn with both decisions unanimous.

The bank now expects a GDP contraction of 4.2% for the first quarter compared with slight growth expected in the November report. There was a downward revision to the 2021 forecast, but the bank still expects a powerful recovery later in the year.

There will be preparations to allow negative interest rates as part of the toolkit, but there will be no move to introduce them for at least six months and there appeared little enthusiasm for their introduction with no intention of any short-term move and Governor Bailey played down the potential for any introduction.

Strong recovery expectations and reduced expectations of negative rates triggered a sharp Sterling rally following the decision with markets moving to price out the potential for any move this year. EUR/GBP dipped sharply to lows near 0.8750 while GBP/USD recovered to above 1.3650. Sterling was able to sustain the advance and GBP/USD strengthened to 1.3680 on Friday with EUR/GBP with GBP/EUR hitting 8-month highs above 1.1430.

Economic Calendar

07:00German Factory Orders (M/M)(DEC, 2020)-1.00%2.70%
08:30GBP Halifax HPI (M/M)(JAN)0.20%
13:30USD Average Hourly Earnings (M/M)(JAN)0.20%0.80%
13:30USD Average Hourly Earnings (Y/Y)(JAN)4.40%5.10%
13:30USD Private Nonfarm Payrolls (JAN)98K-95K
13:30USD Non-farm Payrolls(M/M)(JAN)-140K
13:30United States Unemployment Rate(M/M)(JAN)6.80%6.70%
13:30CAD Full Employment Change(JAN)36.5K
13:30CAD Employment Change (M/M)(JAN)-62.6K
13:30CAD Trade Balance(DEC, 2020)-3.50B-3.34B
13:30CAD Unemployment Rate (M/M)(JAN)8.60%8.60%
15:00CAD Ivey PMI(M/M)(JAN)46.7
20:00USD Consumer Credit(DEC, 2020)9.00B15.27B

*All rates shown are indicative of interbank rates and should only be used for indication purposes only. It is important to note that foreign exchange rates fluctuate and that rates may vary depending on the amount and the base currency that is purchased or sold. Rates are correct as of 8:00am UK time. CentralFX are not responsible for the rates shown.