Despite some positive Brexit headlines, Sterling unable to hold gains amid economy concerns.

There was some relief over Friday’s Euro-zone PMI data releases despite weak data for services. The Euro made fresh gains amid longer-term expectations of US currency losses. US equities also posted limited gains despite a lack of fiscal headway. Risk appetite was more fragile on Monday, especially with unease over US and European coronavirus developments.

The dollar regained some ground on defensive grounds with EUR/USD below 1.1850. Despite some positive Brexit headlines, Sterling was unable to hold gains amid concerns over the UK and global economy. Commodity currencies reversed net gains seen on Friday amid weaker equities and US currency gains.

There was a significant impact from October Euro-zone flash PMI business confidence data released on Friday. French data recorded a contraction in activity in both services and manufacturing. The German services-sector data also dipped into contraction at 48.9 from 50.6 previously, but the manufacturing index strengthened to 58.0 for October from 56.4 previously which was above expectations and the strongest reading for over two years. The Euro-zone manufacturing index edged higher to 54.4 from 53.7 while the services index retreated further into contraction at 46.2 from 48.0 previously.

Although there were further concerns over trends in the service sector, the data overall provided an element of relief and the Euro moved significantly higher on the data with a EUR/USD move above 1.1850. The US currency also lost ground amid a lack of confidence in longer-term fundamentals.

The US manufacturing PMI index increased marginally to 53.3 from 53.2 and close to consensus forecasts while there was strengthening in the services sector to a 20-month high of 56.0 from 54.6. New business growth slowed slightly, however, and there was a dip in export orders and there was a slowdown in employment growth.

The dollar regained ground after the data, although there EUR/USD support close to 1.1825 before a recovery to 1.1850.

CFTC data recorded only a slight decline in long Euro positions, maintaining the risk of position adjustment and Euro selling. S&P held the Italian credit rating at BBB, but raised the outlook to stable from negative which provided some relief.

There were further concerns over Euro-zone coronavirus developments with a surge in cases in Italy and France while further restrictions came into force. The dollar gained some fresh demand despite US fears with EUR/USD retreating to the 1.1830 area.

US equities posted further net gains on Friday despite a lack of positive signals on the outlook for near-term policy stimulus. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated that there were still significant differences with House Speaker Pelosi. Overall, USD/JPY settled around 104.70 after failing to make an attack on the 105.00 area.

There were no major developments surrounding a fiscal stimulus during the weekend with markets less confident of support measures ahead of the elections while Pelosi noted on Sunday that she expected a White House response to the latest proposals on Monday. Democrats will be less willing to compromise if they are confident in securing an election victory next week. Political rhetoric and opinion polls will be watched closely in the short term.

Markets were watching coronavirus cases closely as the number of US cases continued to increase and several aides of vice-president Pence also tested positive. Overall risk appetite was more cautious with a retreat in US equity futures. The yen secured slight net gains on the crosses while USD/JPY advanced to near 105.00.

According to flash data, the UK PMI manufacturing index declined to 53.3 for October from 54.1 while the services-sector index retreated sharply to 52.3 from 56.1 as confidence weakened further. Inevitably, there was particular weakness within the hospitality sector. There were further sharp declines in employment for the month, but manufacturing confidence strengthened. The data maintained concerns over the outlook with fears that the economy would stall for the fourth quarter which hurt Sterling.

The UK currency did spike higher following reports that France was preparing to make concessions on fishing in the Brexit trade talks. GBP/USD failed to hold the gains above 1.3100 and dipped to 1.3050 as the US currency recovered some ground. EUR/GBP also made notable losses to the 1.1000 area.

CFTC data recorded a decline in short Sterling positions to a 4-week low of 2,000 contracts for the latest week from 10,000 previously, reinforcing evidence of a lack of confidence in direction. S&P held the UK credit rating at AA and also maintained a stable outlook.

A UK government spokesman stated that the trade talks had been extended until Wednesday and there was an element of optimism. Sterling, however, was hampered by the more fragile risk tone and GBP/USD retreated to test 1.3000 while GBP/EUR weakend to near 1.1000. Trade rhetoric and risk trends will continue to be watched very closely in the short term.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
09:00 German Business Expectations(OCT) 98 97.7
09:00 IFO - German Current Assessment(OCT) 89.5 89.2
09:00 German IFO Business Climate Index(OCT) 93.8 93.4
12:30 USD Chicago Fed National Activity Index(SEP) - 0.79
14:00 USD New Home Sales(SEP) - 1011B
14:00 USD New Home Sales Change(SEP) - 4.80%
14:30 USD Dallas Fed Manufacturing Business Index(OCT) - 13.6
22:45 NZD Trade Balance (M/M)(SEP) - -353M
22:45 NZD Trade Balance (Y/Y)(SEP) - 1340M

*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.