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Daily Currency Update

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USD Gains Broadly as Risk Appetite Slides on Virus Concerns.

USD: Has maintained yesterday’s firm tone overnight, though moves have been small compared to yesterday. US 10yr yields have slipped below 1.6%, but slightly weaker equity futures are dominating FX moves in the absence of significant news flow. Fed speakers late yesterday (Brainard, Bullard) emphasised a “patient approach” to policy tightening, while BoC Deputy Governor Gravelle said the Bank was “evaluating how the process of adjusting [asset purchases] could unfold.” Day ahead: Today’s data releases are dominated by the flash PMIs in the Eurozone and UK (see EUR and GBP). The calendar is otherwise filled with central bank‐speak, with at least four more Fed speakers scheduled Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appear before the Senate banking panel today, though with the main text already released, the only interest will be in the Q&A sessions.

CAD: The CAD has been pulled by weak risk appetite, sharply lower WTI prices (-3.5%) and broader losses in the commodity bloc. USDCAD has struggled to extend much above the low/mid 1.25s in the past few days. Given the focus on domestic housing affordability, CAD price action might also reflect investor concerns that the Federal government will mimic the NZ government’s moves to curb house prices, even though Ottawa has shown little appetite for major measures in the past. While the risk mood and softer crude prices are clear headwinds for the CAD. USD/CAD is inching toward a key resistance trendline at 1.2637 that will have to be breached in order to reverse the 1‐year downtrend in the pair. Support is located at 1.2546 and 1.2504.

EUR: This month saw two major changes in euro area lockdown restrictions. Firstly, Germany allowed the reopening of a limited number of non‐essential shops. Secondly, on the March 15, Italy re‐imposed full lockdown measures on over half of the country. We see the effects of these two changes roughly balancing each other and therefore look for the euro area wide services PMI to be little changed from last month at 45.8. As for the manufacturing PMI, robust new domestic and foreign orders point to another strong month.

GBP: Today brings March CPI and, more importantly, PMI data. There was a surprise improvement in the PMI surveys in February, particularly in services. However, we think that is giving a misleading picture of the movement in underlying activity. The rise in the headline PMI number was driven mainly by higher prices. For this month we look for an improvement in the services PMI to 52.3 and a slight easing of the manufacturing PMI to 54.3. The next significant move higher in CPI inflation will come in April. Between now and then we expect a gradual drift higher in CPI.

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