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Various EU Member States to Suspend AstraZeneca Vaccinations

USD: The decision of various EU countries to halt AstraZeneca vaccinations has not impacted the broader risk sentiment as it has delayed rather than derailed eurozone recovery while expectations of a strong U.S. recovery has pushed equities and other risk assets higher. There is unlikely to be much action today with all eyes on the FOMC tomorrow.  Data-wise, both US February retail sales and industrial production should be softer vs the January reading, the former affected by a high January base due to the $600 Federal stimulus payment for people earning less than $75k and both being affected by bad weather.

CAD: The loonie continued its ascent against the USD yesterday, setting a yearly new high. The gain keeps the broader trend intact and reflects fairly solid Canadian fundamentals—stellar jobs data—and the simmering speculation about what that might mean for BoC policy going forward. We have been bullish on the CAD outlook in recent months but feel that CAD gains are starting to “push the envelope” of valuation at the moment. Further strength is not to be excluded but we need clear justification to support additional CAD gains from here. At the same time, the risk of a snap higher in the USD may be rising.

EUR: The decision of various EU states to suspend the use of AstraZeneca vaccinations is yet another policy decision that is likely to create a larger divergence between the U.S. and the eurozone’s near term economic recovery prospects.  With EUR/USD trading in a fairly undervalued territory (around 2%) based on short-term financial fair value models, currency positioning suggests limited near-term upside rather than another dip in EUR/USD lower. Data-wise, the German March ZEW index is set to rise today but, this should prevent EUR/USD from declining rather than sending it higher given current conditions.

GBP: The British pound has not reacted to the news that the EU is commencing legal action against the UK's recent moves to unilaterally override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. As any imminent decision seems unlikely and the process may take time, any negative impact on GBP should be limited. Equally, with many EU countries suspending AstraZeneca vaccinations, yet no such signals coming from the UK the narrative of GBP continuing to reap the benefits of the fast vaccination programme remains intact and should keep the GBP attempting to reach higher levels against most of its peers.

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