The US Federal Reserve announced a further extremely large support package on Thursday which supported risk appetite.

The US Federal Reserve announced a further extremely large support package on Thursday which supported risk appetite. US equity markets posted strong gains last week and, although there was a retreat on Monday, futures posted gains on Tuesday to 1-month highs.

Better than expected Chinese trade data for March reinforced the more positive risk tone with global equity markets strengthening. The dollar was mixed, but with net losses as the global US supply increased with EUR/USD above 1.0900.

Sterling was also lifted by a stronger global risk appetite despite domestic coronavirus deaths increasing to above 11,000.

US initial jobless claims declined only marginally to 6.60mn in the latest week from an upwardly-revised 6.87mn the previous week with an increase over 18.5mn in the latest 3-week period, maintaining fears over the outlook and deep GDP contraction in the short term.

After the New York open, the Federal Reserve announced a further $2.3trn support package for the economy. There will be a new $600bn loan package for small businesses with interest and principal payments suspended for 12 months. The Fed will also buy further assets including mortgage-backed securities and Chair Powell reiterated that the bank was prepared to take further action if necessary. The dollar moved lower after the announcement, especially as risk appetite improved further.

The Eurogroup eventually approved a EUR540bn support package for the Euro-zone economy. There was no official backing for coronabonds, but the rhetoric was sufficiently flexible to secure Italy’s support. The ability to reach some form of agreement supported Euro sentiment with a EUR/USD move back above 1.0900.

US consumer prices declined 0.4% for March with the year-on-year rate at 1.5% from 2.4% previously and below census estimates of 1.6% as energy prices declined sharply. The core rate declined to 2.1% from 2.3% previously. With a weaker dollar tone, the Euro pushed to highs above 1.0950.

CFTC data recorded a further increase in net long positions with the dollar short position at a 2-year high, limiting the potential scope for further dollar selling.

The Euro was unable to make headway on Monday in thin markets with EUR/USD retreating to the 1.0900 area. The single currency was hampered by reports that travel restrictions could remain in place until at least October. The dollar did lose traction on Tuesday as commodity currencies made gains and EUR/USD advanced to near 1.0950 with the dollar index at 10-day lows.

US equity markets moved higher following Thursday’s fresh support package and US indices for the week as a whole posted the strongest weekly gain since 1974. The dollar dipped lower following the Fed announcement on Thursday and was unable to regain any traction on Friday with USD/JPY selling interest in the 108.50 area.

Chinese data recorded a much larger than an increase in new loans which helped underpin risk appetite. CFTC data recorded a small increase in long yen positions, limiting the scope for Japanese currency buying.

Fed Vice-Chair Clarida stated that the central bank will keep interest rates near zero until the economy is back on track. US equity futures declined on Monday and USD/JPY dipped below the 108.00 level.

Chinese trade data for March was also better than expected with exports declining 6.6% in the year to March compared with expectations of a 13.9% decline with the decline in imports held at 0.9% compared with consensus forecasts of 9.8%. The data helped underpin global risk appetite, although USD/JPY was held around 107.70 amid a wider softer tone with only a slight recovery from 107.50 lows.

Sterling held a firm tone on Thursday with support from the robust tone in global risk appetite. GBP/USD moved above 1.2400 as the US dollar lost ground. UK markets were closed for a holiday on Friday with limited moves, but the UK currency held a firm tone as global moves dominated.
The total UK death toll has increased to over 11,000, but there were also some positive developments as Prime Minister Johnson was discharged from hospital.

Sterling made net gains on Monday with a 1-month GBP/USD high above the 1.2500 level in thin trading conditions as further gains in commodity currencies helped support the UK currency.

Markets remained uneasy over the outlook with expectations that the economy would decline very sharply for the second quarter. Although there has also been increased pressure from the Treasury for lockdown measures to be eased in order to protect the economy, the lockdown will continue. Sterling, however, gained support from the stronger tone in risk appetite and GBP/EUR was held just around 1.1460 in early Europe on Tuesday with GBP/USD at fresh 1-month highs above 1.2550.

Economic Calendar

13:30USD Export Price Index (M/M)(MAR)-1.9%-1.1%
13:30USD Export Price Index (M/M)(MAR)-3.00%-0.50

*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.