Sterling maintained a firm overall tone given speculation over a deal within the next few days.

Risk appetite was caught between pessimism and optimism with vaccine hopes offering net support over the outlook. Wall Street equities moved lower on Friday amid short-term coronavirus fears, but US futures edged higher on Monday which underpinned global sentiment.

The dollar rallied at times amid a more defensive risk tone, but the US currency overall drifted lower amid expectations of sustained low yields.

EUR/USD was again unable to challenge the 1.1900 level to trade little changed around 1.1875. Sterling secured net gains amid on-going hopes for a UK/EU Brexit trade deal with GBP/USD above 1.3300. Commodity currencies retreated from their best levels on Friday before making tentative net gains on Monday amid solid risk conditions.

The Euro made net gains into Friday’s New York open, but was again unable to challenge the 1.1900 level against the dollar amid reservations surrounding the Euro-zone outlook. Another failure triggered a fresh correction weaker for the single currency with expectations of near-term economic vulnerability also important and the November Euro-zone consumer confidence index weakened to -17.6 from -15.5 previously.

Chicago Fed President Evans stated that the Treasury decision to stop some Fed measures from year-end was disappointing. As far as the economy is concerned, he suggested that the Fed was in a good place and could wait to see how things played out. The comments dampened speculation that the central bank could take further action at the December meeting, although there was still some speculation that there would be a move to increase bond purchases.

Overall, EUR/USD retreated to the 1.1850 area in lacklustre conditions with unease over near-term coronavirus vaccine developments limiting potential dollar selling.

CFTC data recorded no change in long Euro positions in the latest week, maintaining the potential for selling if confidence in the Euro-zone outlook deteriorates.

ECB chief economist Lane warned that current restrictions would lead to a drop in economic activity, but the impact would be less severe than in Spring.

The latest Euro-zone PMI business confidence data will be watched closely later on Monday with expectations that there will be further significant weakness in the services sector and a monthly manufacturing slowdown. The dollar overall drifted lower on Monday amid solid risk conditions with EUR/USD edging towards 1.1875.

Markets continued to monitor developments surrounding a potential fiscal stimulus bill in Congress. There was renewed scepticism that there would be significant stimulus, although with the possibility that some measures would be tacked on to a required funding bill. With the Fed warning over potential negative implications from the withdrawal of fiscal support, underlying dollar confidence remained fragile.

There was also a net decline in US bond yields during Friday which further eroded support for the dollar. In this environment, the US currency was unable to make significant headway with USD/JPY settling around 103.85 as the Japanese currency continued to resist selling pressure.

There were further concerns over a near-term increase in US-China tensions as the Administration looked to impose further restrictions on Chinese companies buying a range of US goods and technology. US equity futures edged higher on Monday, although overall activity was limited due to a holiday in Tokyo.

Overall, the dollar remained on the defensive and USD/JPY traded around 103.75 in early Europe with the yen still broadly resilient.

Just after Friday’s European open, the 27 country ambassadors to the EU were briefed on the state of Brexit trade talks. According to the negotiating team, agreement is very close in most areas, although there were still differences on the key areas of level playing field, fisheries and governance.

EU Commission President von der Leyen was broadly optimistic in her comments, although reiterated that there was still a lot of work to do.

Sterling maintained a firm overall tone given speculation over a deal within the next few days, although overall moves were relatively limited. CFTC data recorded a small decline in short Sterling positions in the latest week to 19,000 contracts from 22,000 previously, maintaining the potential for a covering of short positions if there is a short-term boost to confidence.

The UK and Canada agreed a trade deal, although this was effectively just a transitional roll-over of the existing deal with the EU and there were still expectations that a UK/EU deal would be secured. Sterling sentiment was underpinned by reports that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could be approved in the UK this week, although Astra-Zeneca trial results were mixed with lower efficacy rates overall, but no need for freezing. GBP/USD overall pushed to 11-week highs above 1.3300 and GBP/EUR rallying above 1.1200 with trade rhetoric still crucial.

Economic Calendar

08:15Markit Mfg PMI(NOV)51.3
08:15Markit Serv PMI(NOV)46.846.5
08:30EUR German PMI Services(NOV)49.249.5
08:30EUR German PMI Composite(NOV)53.255
08:30EUR German Manufacturing PMI (M/M)(NOV)55.158.2
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Services(NOV)4746.9
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Composite(NOV)49.350
09:00Euro-Zone PMI Manufacturing(NOV)53.154.8
09:30GBP PMI Manufacturing(NOV 01)53.353.3
09:30GBP PMI Services(NOV)52.352.3
13:30USD Chicago Fed National Activity Index(OCT)0.27
14:45USD Manufacturing PMI(NOV)53.453.4
14:45USD Markit PMI Composite(NOV 01)56.3
14:45USD Markit Services PMI(NOV)54.656.9

*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.