Risk appetite has held steady amid expectations of pro-growth global polices.

Risk appetite has held steady amid expectations of pro-growth global polices. Wall Street equities posted gains as Treasury Secretary Yellen reiterated the case for strong fiscal support.

Currency markets struggled for traction, but the dollar edged lower overall amid expectations of sustained negative US real interest rates. EUR/USD posted measured net gains to the 1.2150 area as near-term euro-zone coronavirus reservations curbed support to some extent.

Sterling maintained a solid tone amid hopes for a recovery in the global economy with GBP/USD above 1.3650. Despite an intra-day retreat, commodity currencies eventually posted net gains on a weaker US dollar and solid risk conditions.

The German ZEW economic sentiment index strengthened to 61.8 for January from 55.0 the previous month and above consensus forecasts of 60.0. The current conditions index recorded only a marginal recovery to -66.4 from -66.5, although slightly stronger than market expectations. The Euro-zone ZEW index strengthened to 58.3 from 54.4 the previous month. The Euro was hampered to some extent by reports that the ECB would pursue a yield-control policy.

The Euro continued to make limited headway ahead of the New York open, primarily under the impact of a weaker US dollar. EUR/USD moved above the 1.2100 level to highs around 1.2145 with expectations that the US would pursue aggressive monetary and fiscal policies.

German Chancellor Merkel reached a deal with state leaders to extend the national lockdown measures until February 14th which was in line with market expectations.

The Euro was unable to make further headway in New York trading, but the dollar also failed to secure a significant recovery and EUR/USD held above the 1.2100 level.

There were strong expectations of reflationary policies by the US Biden Administration, especially with strong expectations of further fiscal support. US inflation expectations increased to the highest level since October 2018 which implied a further erosion of real yields and contributed to a weaker US dollar.

The Italian government survived a Senate confidence vote which capped domestic bond yields, but there were further near-term concerns over euro-zone coronavirus developments. Dollar weakness dominated on Wednesday with EUR/USD edging just above 1.2150 as commodity currencies posted net gains.

US equity futures held gains into the New York open, although markets were unable to extend gains and USD/JPY was held below the 104.00 level.

In prepared comments, Treasury Secretary Nominee Yellen confirmed the smartest thing to do right now is to act big in support measures for the economy, especially with interest rates at historic lows. Yellen also noted that she and Biden had appreciation for the national debt burden. As far as currencies are concerned, she commented that she wanted market-set exchange rate and would not seek a weaker US dollar and reiterated opposition to competitive devaluations by other countries.

The rhetoric overall confirmed market expectations that there would be no opposition to a weaker US currency provided the retreat was orderly. Unease over near-term coronavirus developments also continued with the US death toll passing 400,000 as vaccination delay fears had a slight impact in curbing risk appetite.

The Bank of Japan is not expected to make any significant changes at the latest policy decision due for announcement on Thursday.

US equity futures were little changed on Wednesday with USD/JPY around 103.80 as the yen resisted significant net losses despite gains in global equities.

Sterling was confined to relatively narrow ranges on Tuesday as global developments tended to dominate. The UK currency was protected by underlying optimism over vaccine developments, but there were also concerns over the near-term outlook, especially with expectations that the UK lockdown would be extended.

The UK also reported a record high number of coronavirus deaths of just over 1,600 for the day, but markets drew some solace from the decline in new cases.

GBP/USD strengthened above 1.2600 and held above this level into the European close while GBP/EUR settled just below 1.1250 from highs close to 1.1256. Sterling was supported by expectations of global reflation would help underpin the UK economy.

Bank of England chief economist Haldane stated that the bounce back from the covid pandemic may be sharper than that for the financial crisis and also commented that the UK does not need higher inflation that would cause borrowing costs to increase. Sterling nudged higher following the relatively optimistic comments, although reaction was limited given that negative rate speculation has faded.

Economic Calendar

07:00GBP Core CPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)1.40%1.10%
07:00GBP CPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)0.50%0.30%
07:00GBP CPI (M/M)(DEC, 2020)0.20%-0.10%
07:00EUR German PPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)-0.30%-0.50%
07:00Euro-Zone PPI (M/M)(DEC, 2020)0.30%0.20%
07:00GBP PPI Core Output (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)0.9
07:00GBP PPI Output (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)-0.60%-0.80%
07:00GBP PPI Input (M/M)(DEC, 2020)0.70%0.20%
07:00GBP PPI Input (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)1.00%-0.50%
10:00Euro-Zone CPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)-0.30%
10:00Euro-Zone CPI (M/M)(DEC, 2020)-0.30%-0.30%
10:00Euro-Zone Core CPI (Y/Y)(DEC 01, 2020)-0.50%
13:30Bank of Canada Core CPI (M/M)(DEC, 2020)0.20%
13:30Bank of Canada Core CPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)1.50%
13:30CAD CPI (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)1.00%
13:30CAD CPI (M/M)(DEC, 2020)0.10%
15:00NAHB Housing Market Index(JAN)8886
15:00CAD BoC Rate Decision0.25%0.25%
23:45NZD CPI (Q/Q)0.90%0.70%
23:45NZD CPI (Y/Y)1.70%1.40%
23:50JPY Exports (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020)0.5-4.2
23:50JPY Merchandise Trade Balance Total(DEC, 2020)529.8B366.1B

*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.