Trading conditions were subdued on Monday with low volumes and a lack of major data releases.

Trading conditions were subdued on Monday with low volumes and a lack of major data releases. Risk appetite was boosted by hopes for progress on coronavirus treatment and vaccines.

The dollar lost ground initially before posting marginal net gains with EUR/USD little changed around 1.1800

Sterling lost ground amid trade fears, although equity gains pulled it higher from intra-day lows with slight gains on Tuesday. Commodity currencies gradually retreated as the US dollar made limited headway.

The Euro edged higher ahead of Monday’s New York open, although ranges were narrow amid a lack of data releases and low trading volumes. Underlying Euro sentiment was still hampered by the weaker than expected business confidence data on Friday.

The Chicago Fed National Activity index declined to 1.18 for July from 5.33 in June with the 3-month moving average strengthening to 3.59 from -2.78 as very weak April data came out of the calculation. There was a positive contribution from production and employment, although there was a negative contribution from sales and inventories. Markets continued to debate the US outlook with further uncertainty over the coronavirus outlook on both sides of the Atlantic.

The market focus was on Federal Reserve Chair Powell’s speech on Thursday with traders anxious for hints on next moves by the central bank and potential guidance for the September policy meeting. Overall, markets were slightly less confident of further near-term monetary easing.

EUR/USD was unable to move back above the 1.1850 level and gradually lost ground in New York trading as the dollar was able to make limited headway.

The pair dipped to lows just below 1.1800 after the European close with a lack of impetus in currency markets. There were further concerns over Euro-zone coronavirus developments with Germany recording a further increase in new infections.

The German IFO index will be released on Tuesday and a stronger than expected reading would help restore confidence to some extent. The US dollar was unable to make further headway on Tuesday and EUR/USD traded just above the 1.1800 level with German second-quarter GDP revised to -9.7% from -10.1%.

Coronavirus developments remain an important focus during the day, especially with a lack of major economic data releases. There was further positive rhetoric on the potential for a vaccine with the potential for a key trial to be speeded up which helped underpin risk conditions.

Markets were expecting that President Trump would talk up the economy and prospects for coronavirus treatment at the Republican convention which would tend to underpin risk appetite and potentially support the dollar against the yen.

US equities posted gains, although there was an element of profit taking from intra-day highs. With a firmer net tone, USD/JPY edged towards the 106.00 level against the Japanese currency. Domestic developments were limited with the Bank of Japan core inflation rate at zero.

Risk appetite held firm on Tuesday with an element of relief of US-China trade relations. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Trade Representative Lighthizer and Chinese vice-premier Lui He held a conference call and there was some effort to project a positive tone with China calling the talks constructive.

US equity futures secured further gains on Tuesday, although Asian markets were unable to make significant headway and USD/JPY traded fractionally above 106.00.

Underlying Sterling sentiment remained fragile following last Friday’s downbeat press conference from EU Chief Negotiator Barnier. There was fresh speculation that there would be no trade deal in place before the end of 2021 which would cause major dislocation to UK trade patterns and undermine the economy.

The UK currency also struggled to gain any significant support from the firm tone in global risk appetite.

Markets were waiting for comments from Bank of England officials this week with speculation that there would be a move towards further monetary easing during the Autumn. Chief Economist Haldane is due to speak on Wednesday, although the main focus will be on Governor Bailey’s comments on Friday.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
07:00 Germany GDP (Y/Y) -11.70% -1.90%
07:00 Germany GDP (Q/Q) -10.10% -2.20%
07:30 Employment Level - 5.102M
09:00 German Business Expectations(AUG) 93.7 97
09:00 IFO - German Current Assessment(AUG) 85 84.5
09:00 German IFO Business Climate Index(AUG) 89.3 90.5
11:00 CBI Distributive Trades Survey(AUG) -25 4
14:00 US House Price Index (M/M)(JUN) - -0.30%
15:00 USD CB Consumer Confidence(AUG) 93.6 92.6
15:00 USD New Home Sales(JUL) 750B 776B
15:00 USD New Home Sales Change(JUL) 4.00% 13.80%
23:45 NZD Trade Balance (M/M)(JUL) - 426M
23:45 NZD Trade Balance (Y/Y)(JUL) - -1200M

*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.