Risk appetite was underpinned by expectations of strong global policy action to cushion the coronavirus global impact.

Risk appetite was underpinned by expectations of strong global policy action to cushion the coronavirus global impact.

The dollar remained fragile on yield grounds with the 10-year rate near record lows, but resisted losses given rate cuts elsewhere with EUR/USD below 1.1150.

The Canadian dollar weakened after the Bank Canada cut interest rates by 0.50%. Sterling gained some ground as the Bank of England dampened expectations of an emergency rate cut.

The Euro-zone PMI services-sector index was revised marginally lower to 52.6 from 52.8 previously, but the composite index was unchanged at a 6-month high of 51.6. The German composite index dipped to a 2-month low amid export pressures with EUR/USD unable to re-test 1.1200.

US ADP employment data recorded an increase in private-sector jobs of 183,000 for February and above consensus forecasts of 170,000, although there was a sharp downward revision for January to 209,000 from the 291,000 reported previously. The latest release is likely to raise fresh doubts over the accuracy of the data ahead of Friday’s jobs data.

The ISM non-manufacturing index strengthened to a 12-month high of 57.3 for February from 55.5 previously and above consensus forecasts of 54.9. Although business activity faded slightly, new orders expanded at a stronger pace and the highest reading since June 2018. Employment increased at a faster pace, but the rate of price increases lowed on the month.

The Markit PMI services-sector index, however, was confirmed at 49.4 for February, the weakest reading for over six years. The sharp divergence between the two indices increased underlying uncertainty over underlying direction and there were expectations of a sharp downturn for March readings. The Fed’s Beige Book reported modest to moderate growth in the latest period, but the COVID-19 coronavirus was cited as a risk and already weighing on travel and tourism.

The Euro was hampered by renewed fears over the Italian coronavirus outbreak with all schools and universities closed for 2 weeks. The dollar remained vulnerable on yield grounds, however, with EUR/USD near 1.1130 and little change on Thursday.

US equity futures held gains into the New York open which limited potential defensive demand for the Japanese yen.

US Treasuries continued to move higher, however, with the 10-year yield held below 1.00%. Although there was a stronger ISM non-manufacturing reading, the dollar struggled to make headway and USD/JPY held below 107.50 into the European close.

US equity market strengthened sharply in late trading with increased confidence that Biden would win the Democrat Party nomination also a positive factor for stocks. The dollar still struggled to make any impression against majors.

The final UK PMI services index was revised marginally lower to 53.2 from the flash reading of 53.3 with a slowdown in the rate of growth in new business, primarily due to the impact of cancellations and project delays due to the coronavirus outbreak. There was a significant increase in cost pressures and charges increased at the fastest pace since November 2017. Higher inflation pressures will make the Bank of England’s policy balancing act even more difficult.

Incoming Bank of England Governor Bailey stated that the bank could take bank rate down to about 0.1%, but there is limited policy ammunition. He also commented that further evidence was needed before making a decision which curbed speculation of an emergency rate cut.

Sterling secured an element of support from expectations that the central bank had less scope to cut interest rates compared to other central banks while fiscal policy could be boosted significantly.

Economic Calendar

10:00OPEC Meeting--
13:00BoE MPC Member Haldane Speech--
13:30USD Continuing Jobless Claims1.715K1.724K
13:30USD Initial Jobless Claims212K219K
15:00USD Factory Orders(JAN)-0.10%1.80%
17:00BoE Gov Carney Speaks--
17:45BoC Gov Poloz Speaks--
21:30AUD AiG Performance of Service Index(FEB)-46.6
21:30FOMC Robert Kaplan Speech--

*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.