The US dollar was unable to hold gains during Thursday as underlying sentiment remained negative on a lack of yield support.

Markets remained convinced of a very dovish Fed policy despite the relatively vague set of committee minutes which tended to dominate market action. The US dollar was unable to hold gains during Thursday as underlying sentiment remained negative on a lack of yield support.

EUR/USD found support near 1.1800 and secured net gains to 1.1880. Risk appetite held steady given expectations of very supportive monetary conditions. Sterling made notable gains with EUR/GBP trading at 5-week lows below 0.9000 as retail sales data beat market expectations.

The Euro remained on the defensive in early Europe on Thursday. ECB minutes from July’s meeting indicated that some members were unwilling to extend the PEPP bond-purchase programme, although the council overall expected that the full envelope of potential would be used. The ECB also noted that market developments might be based on overly optimistic expectations about the recovery package and vaccine developments. The council expects more clarity about the inflation outlook in September and, overall, there was a high degree of uncertainty over the outlook with a limited Euro impact.

US jobless claims increased to 1.11mn in the latest week from a revised 0.97mn the previous week and above consensus forecasts of 0.93mn. Continuing claims declined to 14.84mn from 15.48mn the previous week and below market expectations of 15.00mn. The data recorded weekly increases in pandemic unemployment assistance claims on the week and there was also an increase in continuing claims on this basis.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index declined to 17.2 from 24.1 the previous month and below consensus forecasts of 21.0.There was a small slowdown in new orders growth, but with a small decline in unfilled orders. There was a small increase in employees and workweek for the latest monthly data. Companies were slightly more confident over the six-month outlook with expectations of solid increases in employment and prices.

EUR/USD found support close to 1.1800 and advanced to the 1.1850 area at the European close at the US currency failed to hold its best levels and the dollar dipped further on Friday with EUR/USD at 1.1880. The latest batch of Euro-zone and US PMI business confidence data will be released on Friday.

The dollar edged lower following the US data releases with USD/JPY failing to hold above the 106.00 level. Overall selling pressure was limited with the Japanese currency unable to secure sustained support despite losses in European equities. There were some reports from China that there would be talks on trade within the next few days.

Federal Reserve policy will remain a key market talking point, especially with uncertainty triggered by Wednesday’s minutes. Chair Powell confirmed that he will be speaking on the monetary policy framework at next Thursday’s Jackson Hole symposium.

There were further concerns over the US fiscal stimulus situation with House Speaker Pelosi stating that now is not the right time for a smaller coronavirus relief bill.

Japan’s PMI manufacturing index improved to 46.6 from 45.2 previously with some concerns that the index failed to regain the 50.0 level. There was also a retreat in the services sector with an unchanged composite reading, maintaining concerns over the outlook.

There were reports that Chinese officials are looking to curb speculative trading amid fears over a backlash if there is a sharp decline in prices, but the Chinese yuan posted solid gains and USD/JPY dipped to near 105.50.

Sterling dipped lower in early Europe on Thursday, but was notably resilient during the day and posted strong net gains at the close. GBP/USD recovered from lows below 1.3100 to trade around 1.3170 at the European close while GBP/EUR rallied to test the 1.1150 level. Expectations of extremely accommodative monetary policies by the ECB and Federal Reserve provided an element of support to the UK currency even though European equities lost ground.

The UK currency pushed higher again late in US trading and GBP/USD strengthened to 1.3240 in early Europe on Friday. The GfK consumer confidence index was unchanged at -27 for August and weaker than the consensus forecast of -25. UK retail sales increased 3.6% for July, above consensus forecasts of 2.0% with a 1.4% annual gain. The July government borrowing requirement declined to £26.7bn from £29.5bn, but the deficit surged to over £150bn for the first four months of fiscal 2020/21.

Reaction to the data was muted with GBP/EUR at 5-week highs around 1.1160. The latest business confidence data will be scrutinised closely on Friday for evidence of the UK recovery profile and international comparison. Markets will also be monitoring trade rhetoric as the latest UK/EU negotiating round is completed.

Economic Calendar

07:00GBP Retail Sales ex-Fuel (Y/Y)(JUL)1.50%1.70%
07:00GBP Retail Sales ex-Fuel (M/M)(JUL)0.20%13.40%
07:00GBP Retail Sales (Y/Y)(JUL)0.10%-1.60%
07:00GBP Retail Sales (M/M)(JUL)2.00%13.90%
07:00GBP Public Sector Net Borrowing(JUL)34.30B34.80B
08:15Markit Mfg PMI(AUG)-52.4
08:15Markit Serv PMI(AUG)-57.3
08:30EUR German PMI Composite(AUG)50.355.5
08:30EUR German Manufacturing PMI (M/M)(AUG)4851
08:30EUR German PMI Services(AUG)50.655.6
09:30GBP PMI Manufacturing53.3
09:30GBP PMI Services(AUG)56.5
11:00GBP CBI Industrial Trends Orders (AUG)-35-46
13:30CAD New Housing Price Index (M/M)(JUL)0.10%0.10%
13:30CAD Retail Sales Ex Autos (M/M)(JUN)15.00%10.60%
13:30CAD Retail Sales (M/M)(JUN)24.50%18.70%
14:45USD Manufacturing PMI(AUG)51.950.9
14:45USD Markit PMI Composite(AUG 01)50.3
14:45USD Markit Services PMI(AUG)5150
15:00USD Existing Home Sales(JUL)5.38M4.72M

*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.