Risk appetite dipped sharply on Tuesday as reservations over coronavirus trends and the global outlook triggered a clear-out of positions.

Risk appetite dipped sharply on Tuesday as reservations over coronavirus trends and the global outlook triggered a clear-out of positions. There was fresh demand for bonds with the US 10-year yield at 4-month lows.

Equities posted sharp losses during the day, although selling eased later in the day. Risk conditions stabilised on Wednesday with fresh demand for reflation trades amid increased uncertainty.

After initial losses, the dollar regained ground with an element of defensive demand. EUR/USD failed to attack 1.1900 and retreated to near 1.1800 before stabilising. USD/JPY retreated to below 110.50 before recovering. Sterling lost some ground as risk appetite dipped with GBP/USD dipping to below 1.3800 before stabilising. Commodity currencies slumped on dollar gains as volatility spiked, but recovered some ground on Wednesday.

The German ZEW economic expectations index declined to 63.3 for July from 79.8 previously and below consensus forecasts of 75.2. The current conditions component, however, strengthened to 21.9 from -0.1 the previous month and above market expectations of 5.0. The Euro-zone expectations index retreated to 61.2 from 81.3 previously and the data overall sapped confidence in the outlook with a retreat in equities.

Euro-zone retail sales increased 4.6% in May with a 9.0% annual increase. After a firm tone in Asia, the Euro was unable to make further headway and there was a sharp reversal soon after the European open with a rapid EUR/USD retreat towards the 1.1850 area as the dollar secured fresh support.

The US PMI services-sector index was revised marginally lower to 64.6 for the final June reading from 64.8 previously.

The ISM non-manufacturing index declined to 60.1 for June from 64.0 previously and below consensus forecasts of 63.4. There was a notable slowdown in the rate of growth in new orders and business activity growth also slowed. The employment component dipped into contraction territory for the month after five successive increases which triggered unease, while the rate of price increases slowed marginally from the previous month, although remained close to record highs.

The dollar maintained a firm tone after the data with a weaker tone surrounding risk conditions while commodity currencies also reversed sharply. As selling in commodity currencies gathered pace, the US currency secured further gains with EUR/USD retreating to near 1.1800 and close to 3-month lows.

German industrial production declined 0.3% for May which provided some relief after the slide in orders. The dollar maintained a firm tone in Europe, but EUR/USD edged higher to 1.1825.

The dollar was unable to make any headway ahead of the New York open on Tuesday and USD/JPY was held below 111.00. Treasuries posted significant gains following the US data releases with the 10-year yield dipping to 2-week lows around 1.37%. Lower yields undermined the dollar and there was a significant retreat in equity markets which provided an element of yen support.

In this environment, USD/JPY retreated to lows near 110.50. There was an element of stabilisation in equities later in New York, but the dollar secured only limited respite. Markets will monitor the Federal Reserve minutes closely on Wednesday for further evidence on potential Fed tightening plans with commentary on conditions for a tapering of bond purchases watched closely.

China’s economic daily issued an opinion piece warning markets not to bet on further yuan depreciation which suggests some unease within the authorities over currency trends. Treasuries secured further gains with the 10-year yield at fresh 4-month lows which sapped US currency support and USD/JPY dipped to 110.40 before stabilising around 110.50 while EUR/JPY weakened to near 130.50 with underlying risk conditions remaining under close scrutiny.

The UK PMI construction index strengthened to 66.3 for June from 64.2 in May which was above consensus forecasts of 63.8 and the strongest reading for 24 years. There was a further growth in new orders, but the main feature was further supply-side difficulties with delivery times lengthening by a record amount on the month. Employment increased at a strong rate for the month while prices paid increased at the fastest rate on record which reinforced underlying inflation concerns.

GBP/USD was unable to break above the 1.3900 level following the UK data and there was a sharp reversal ahead of the New York open.

Sterling support was undermined by the weaker tone surrounding risk appetite, especially with UK equities moving lower during the day.

The UK government announced that there would be a further easing of restriction in August with attempts to boost employment levels by reducing the number of people needing to self-isolate. Markets were wary over the risk posed by a further increase in infection rates. Overall, GBP/USD retreated sharply to lows near 1.3775 while GBP/EUR hit resistance just above 1.1700.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
07:00 German Industrial Production (M/M)(MAY) 0.50% -0.30%
08:30 GBP Halifax HPI (M/M)(JUN) 1.20% 1.30%
15:00 USD JOLTs Job Openings(MAY) 8.300M 9.286M
15:00 CAD Ivey PMI(M/M)(JUN) 64.7

*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.