Sterling took advantage of a weaker Euro and secured limited net gains on Thursday as risk stabilised.

Gains in oil markets had a limited positive impact on risk appetite with global equities also securing tentative gains as volatility eased slightly.

There was caution ahead of Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting and PMI data releases. The dollar was mixed with limited net gains as the Euro lost ground with EUR/USD near 1.0800 before a slight recovery.

Sterling took advantage of a weaker Euro and secured limited net gains on Thursday as risk stabilised.

The dollar gradually lost ground ahead of the New York open with a dip in defensive demand as global equity markets rallied. EUR/USD advanced to highs around 1.0885, but failed to move above yesterday’s peak and struggled to generate any traction amid a lack of underlying confidence in the outlook.

There was further unease over potential divisions within the Eurogroup with reports that there are big divisions between member states on whether longer-term support should be in the form of subsidies or loans. There was, however, evidence of potential compromise between Italy and Germany accepting that crisis funding should be through the EU Commission rather than direct issuance of coronabonds.

Euro-zone consumer confidence declined sharply to -22.7 for April from -11.6 previously which was below expectations of -19.5 and very close to record lows registered in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis as lockdown measures inevitably had a negative impact.

Overall confidence in the Euro remained fragile, especially with the ECB under pressure to increase bond buying in order to alleviate upward pressure on Italian bond yields. The central bank made limited changes after the US close on Wednesday with the bank loosening collateral rules to accept bonds which were investment grade.

There was also still residual US currency demand as oil remained vulnerable to selling pressure. As the dollar regained ground, EUR/USD retreated steadily to lows just above the 1.0800 level. The latest Euro-zone and US PMI business confidence data will be released on Thursday with expectations of further weakness, especially in the services sector, with EUR/USD securing a marginal recovery to the 1.0830 area amid expectations of choppy trading later in the day.

According to source reports the Bank of Japan is likely to ease monetary policy next week, although the overall market impact was limited. Risk appetite held a solid tone during the day which limited potential yen support on defensive grounds, although there was still an important element of unease surrounding trends in the energy sector. Narrow ranges prevailed with USD/JPY consolidating around 107.75 amid a generally firmer US currency.

The US House of Representatives is set to approve the latest $500bn support package on Thursday, although it was overshadowed by further debate over a loosening of US lockdown restrictions.

There were further concerns that China’s domestic economy was recovering only slowly which will hamper the global trade outlook.

Japan’s flash manufacturing PMI index retreated slightly to 43.7 from 44.8 the previous month while the services-sector index declined to a fresh record low of 22.8 from 33.8 previously. The survey indicated that GDP was likely to decline 10% for the second quarter of 2020. Equity futures were little changed and oil prices secured a tentative recovery, but risk conditions remained fragile with USD/JPY little changed around 107.75 at the European open.

There was little impact from the latest inflation data with the core CPI rate at 1.6% from 1.7% previously and in line with consensus forecasts. The immediate implications for monetary policy are extremely limited, although there was some relief that there was not a steeper fall in the headline rate.

Sterling attempted to regain ground during the day with an element of bargain hunting after recent losses, especially with a net improvement in risk appetite also helping to underpin sentiment.

There were still underlying concerns surrounding the outlook with the economy contracting sharply in the short term. The latest PMI business sentiment releases are due on Thursday with a fresh record low expected for the dominant services sector. There were also concerns over the EU/UK trade talks with negotiations on-going this week and a press conference from EU chief negotiator Barnier scheduled for Friday. GBP/USD retreated to near 1.2300, although this primarily reflected a firmer dollar tone. The UK currency recovered ground on Thursday with a fresh GBP/USD move above 1.2350.

Economic Calendar

07:00GBP Public Sector Net Borrowing(MAR)2.30B-0.39B
07:00German GfK Consumer Confidence (MAY)-1.82.7
08:15Markit Mfg PMI(APR)4243.2
08:15Markit Serv PMI(APR)4227.4
08:30EUR German Manufacturing PMI (M/M)(APR)-45.4
08:30EUR German PMI Services(APR)-31.7
08:30EUR German PMI Composite(APR)40.635
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Manufacturing(APR)3944.5
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Services(APR)3926.4
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Composite(APR)38.829.7
09:30GBP PMI Services(MAR)-34.5
09:30GBP PMI Manufacturing-47.8
11:00GBP CBI Industrial Trends Orders (APR)--29
13:30USD Initial Jobless Claims4.150K5.245K
13:30USD Continuing Jobless Claims16.476K11.976K
14:45USD Manufacturing PMI(APR)42.848.5
14:45USD Markit PMI Composite-40.9
14:45USD Markit Services PMI(APR)4239.8
15:00USD Michigan Consumer Sentiment(APR 01)9071

*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.