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Third wave headaches will impact the loonie

USD: Global risk sentiment has been mixed after the Easter break, with signs of recovery in European sentiment leading to record highs in European equities while US equities stalled yesterday after a strong session on Monday. Expect very few data-related catalysts for the remainder of the week, while focus today should shift to the Fed, with a number of scheduled speakers and the release of the FOMC minutes for the 17 March meeting. Investors will be scanning the minutes in search of any “discomfort” among policymakers about rising inflation prospects. In parallel, any hint that the discussion is migrating towards defining a timeline for tapering asset purchases. The greenback has been showing signs of weakness this week, but it seems too early to conclude this is the start of a broader USD downtrend just yet.

CAD: A rebound in crude prices on lower perceived chances of a US-Iran deal were not enough to help CAD rebound as surging Covid-19 cases across Canada are forcing fresh restrictions in most provinces. Canada has also administered only half of the US vaccine doses (per-capita). With a strong economic rebound being the base of recent CAD strength, the impact of the third wave may prompt some short-term underperformance relative to other G10 FX.

EUR: The euro has had a small comeback against USD this week. The narrative of strongly diverging patterns on the virus and vaccination themes between the US and the EU has been absorbed to a certain extent by asset prices, and investors have been welcoming some timid signs of recovery in European recovery prospects. The EU Commission reportedly indicated that the immunity target in the region should be reached by the end of June. However, this appears to be conditional on a rise in confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine. A continuation of the euro’s good momentum is likely to need to rely on a tangible improvement in the EU’s virus/vaccine situation, which may still take some time to materialise.

GBP: Sterling corrected lower yesterday, possibly amid some profit-taking following a solid first quarter. But fundamentals – above all, upbeat recovery expectations thanks to the vaccine-backed reopening of the UK economy – remain strong and should limit the scope for further short-term GBP downside.

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