The dollar remained close to 4-month highs amid expectations of a very strong US recovery.

Risk appetite was firmer on Friday as markets looked to refocus on global recovery prospects. Wall Street equities posted net gains to a fresh record high. Bond yields edged higher but did not destabilise global markets.

Equities were less buoyant on Monday amid sharp position adjustment. The dollar remained close to 4-month highs amid expectations of a very strong US recovery. EUR/USD was unable to regain 1.1800 amid negative Euro sentiment. Sterling posted significant net gains on UK recovery hopes, but GBP/USD hit selling near 1.3800. Commodity currencies posted net gains during Friday on firmer risk conditions before dipping again on Monday.

After posting gains on Friday, oil prices dipped on Monday amid hopes that the Suez Canal was close to re-opening. Precious metals tended to drift lower amid the firm US dollar and lack of underlying support.

The German IFO business confidence index strengthened to 96.6 for March from a revised 92.7 previously and significantly above consensus forecasts of 93.2. The current conditions component increased to 93.0 from 90.6 with a stronger increase in the expectations index to 100.4 from 95.0 in February.

Italian Prime Minister Draghi called for increased EU fiscal spending over the next few months with doing too little a bigger risk that doing too much.

Concerns over Euro-zone coronavirus developments continued with Germany classifying France as a high-risk area which limited any benefit from the German data.

The Euro edged higher following the data, although underlying confidence remained very fragile amid on-going concerns over the outlook.

US personal income declined 7.1% for February after a strong 10.1% surge the previous month and close to expectations while personal spending declined 1.0%.

The core PCE prices index increased 0.1% for February, in line with market expectations and the year-on-year rate declined slightly to 1.4% from 1.5%.

The University of Michigan consumer confidence index was revised up to 84.9 from the flash reading of 83.0 and optimism over the growth outlook remained strong.

The dollar faded slightly as risk appetite strengthened with a net advance for commodity currencies, but the EUR/USD hit selling interest just above 1.1800.

CFTC data recorded a slight increase in long Euro positions in the latest week, maintaining the potential for a renewed increase in Euro selling if the spot rate fails to recover.

The Euro was unable to gain significant support on Monday amid further tensions in Germany over coronavirus restrictions. EUR/USD traded around 1.1775 and very close to four-month lows as the US dollar also maintained a strong tone in global markets.

Overall risk conditions improved during Friday which dampened demand for defensive currencies and the Japanese yen lost ground. Although there was only a slight net increase in bond yields, USD/JPY strengthened sharply to 12-month highs around 109.95 before a limited correction.

The US goods trade deficit widened to $86.7bn for February from $84.6bn the previous month with exports declining at a faster rate than imports. The data reminded markets that the US dollar could be potentially vulnerable to unease over wide trade and budget deficits.

According to the latest CFTC data, there was a further increase in yen short positions to 53,000 contracts in the latest week from 39,000 previously. This was the largest short yen position for 13 months, lessening the potential for further selling.

Trade Representative Tai stated that the US is not ready to lift tariffs on Chinese imports soon which helped dampen risk appetite and US equity futures moved lower. USD/JPY settled around 109.50 with EUR/JPY just below 129.0.

Sterling maintained a solid tone in early Europe on Monday and gradually gained traction during the day. Bank of England MPC member Saunders stated that it was possible that the bank’s central outlook for possible performance in the year ahead may have been too negative. He also stated that the unemployment rate was likely to peak at a significantly lower rate, but there was major uncertainty over the amount of spare capacity in the economy. The overall demand/supply balance will be crucial for the policy outlook over the medium term. There was greater optimism over the economic recovery as the UK edged towards an easing of restrictions.

The firmer tone surrounding risk appetite also provided net support, especially with gains in commodities. GBP/USD tested resistance above 1.3800 while GBP/EUR retested the 1.1716 highs.

CFTC data recorded a further decline in long Sterling positions to 22,000 for the latest week from 29,000 which suggests a further cooling of hedge fund interest. Sterling failed to make headway on Monday amid a more cautious risk tone. GBP/USD dipped to 1.3765 and there will be month-end adjustment over the next few days.

Economic Calendar

06:00GBP Nationwide House Prices (Y/Y)(MAR)6.90%
06:00GBP Nationwide House Prices (M/M)(MAR)0.70%
09:30GBP Consumer Credit(MAR)-1.250B-2.392B
09:30GBP Mortgage Approvals(MAR)98.99K
16:30USD Dallas Fed Manufacturing Business Index(MAR)17.2
22:45NZD Building Permits (M/M)(FEB)2.10%
23:50JPY Retail Trade (Y/Y)(FEB)-2.60%-2.40%

*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.