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USD: Back on a slippery slope

USD: Risk assets are starting the week on the front foot as investors focus on the news that some advisers in President-elect Biden’s virus-response task force are arguing against a national lockdown and upbeat industrial output numbers out of China overnight. Also in Asia, 15 Asian-Pacific countries signed the RCEP trade deal on Sunday, which may represent a step in the direction of further consolidation of China’s economic and diplomatic role in the region. At the same time, markets appear to be turning a deaf ear at reports suggesting President Trump may double down on his trade spat with China before leaving office by imposing more sanctions and trade restrictions. In FX, the usual risk-on picture is emerging: USD is underperforming other safe-havens and the rest of G10. Today, the US calendar only includes the Empire Manufacturing, which is expected to have modestly rebounded in November, but should have very limited market implications. Looking at the rest of the week, the US economic performance will come under scrutiny as retail sales, industrial production, and housing data are released.

CAD: All three of the September monthly sales releases feature in a busy week for Canadian data, though they will take a backseat to the rising COVID-19 case counts. Our tracking suggests that manufacturing (Monday, +1.5%), wholesale (Tuesday, +0.4%), and retail (Friday, 0.0%) sales should all match their earlier ‘flash’ estimates. Looking ahead, while activity has predictably slowed in the hospitality sector alongside greater restrictions across much of the nation, overall retail sales activity should be around flat in October as well. Loonie remains resilient in near term, but a more dovish BoC could see it lose ground in 2021.

EUR: EUR/USD is starting the new week by following the same upward trend shown in the second half of last week, now testing the upper half of the 1.18 region. USD may stay the main driver of the pair for most of this week, or at least until we see material developments on a Brexit trade deal as other idiosyncratic drivers for the EUR may remain scarce, with only consumer confidence on Friday standing out in the EZ calendar. A number of speeches (including a hearing at the EU parliament) by ECB President Lagarde may also generate limited EUR impact as she has recently shown reluctance to deviate from the Bank’s main rhetoric and the QE expansion in December is fully in the price.

GBP: Sterling is staying in wait-and-see mode as yet another unofficial deadline (yesterday) for a EU-UK trade deal has been breached. Our UK economist keeps noting that the prospects of a deal are looking slightly brighter, but also that (a) the core set of issues remains largely unresolved; (b) time for a deal is running out and while we see officials suggesting more than one week may still be needed, the technical time for ratification in the EU and UK is dangerously shrinking. In light of this, we could see both parts rushing into a deal already this week. This could have material implications for the pound, and a set of UK data (CPI, retail sales, PMIs) will play second fiddle this week.

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