EUR weekly currency update
The euro had a successful week, in large part because it kept an uncharacteristically low profile. Worries about the threat of Turkey's economic stability faded as the lira fell by "only" 5%. National politics in Italy and Germany remained mostly at no more than a simmer. Economic statistics elicited few surprises: inflation was on target at 2.1% and construction output increased by a monthly 0.2%, though the provisional purchasing managers' index reading for the construction sector disappointed with a half-point fall to 54.6. By keeping its nose clean the euro was able to add nearly two US cents and to strengthen by a cent against the pound.
Sterling's focus was on Thursday's publication of the first 25 of the government's 80-plus assessments of the risk posed by a no-deal Brexit. Investors were not unduly worried: the consequences of no deal are so alarming that they believe it will not be allowed to happen.
USD weekly currency update
Even more than usually, America's week was all about Trump. Two of his lieutenants, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, were convicted of a range of financial felonies, prompting renewed talk of the president's impeachment. Trump himself dismissed the idea, saying on TV "I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash". Investors are not so sure: a Pence administration would be unlikely to alter the broad thrust of the current economic stimulus. Even so, there was less support for the dollar than in recent weeks. It lost one cent to sterling and nearly two to the euro. US economic data did not really come into the equation.
The pound's week revolved around the no-deal-Brexit discussion papers released by the government on Thursday. Investors were relieved to see that the language of their content and presentation suggests that leaving the EU without a deal remains an unlikely outcome.
CAD weekly currency update
Economic statistics played more of a part for the Loonie than they did for most of the other major currencies. Last Friday's CPI inflation reading came in at 3.0%, surprising investors who had expected it to be unchanged at 2.5%. Although the other inflation details were more in line with forecast, the much higher headline rate took the currency higher. The reverse was the case for Tuesday's wholesale sales, where the forecast 0.8% increase gave way to the reality of a 0.8% decline. As well as the Canadian ecostats the Loonie also had to contend with ongoing uncertainty about trade with the United States and upward pressure on US interest rates. It added a third of a US cent but lost half a cent to the pound.
Thursday's release of the first of the UK governments no-deal-Brexit analyses did less damage than they might have done to sterling. Investors, rightly or wrongly, still see no real risk of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.
AUD weekly currency update
The survival rate of Australian prime ministers in recent years is such that they allegedly get their business cards printed by the dozen. For the last five of them the average tenure was 2 1/4 years. Malcolm Turnbull came to grief on Friday as a result of another power struggle within the ruling Liberal party, his place taken by Scott Morrison, the former finance minister. Investors were not impressed by the performance, especially as the Liberal coalition is only managing to hang on to power with a wafer-thin majority. The Aussie was able to squeeze a fifth of a cent from the US dollar, which was beset by political scandals of its own, but lost nearly a cent to the pound.
Sterling's week centred on the "no-deal-Brexit" papers, of which the government released the first two dozen on Thursday. Although theoretically negative for the pound, investors preferred to believe that they confirmed the impracticability of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.
NZD weekly currency update
Once again the NZ dollar remained mostly below investors' radar. New Zealand did not feature in the evolving trade war story and there were more interesting stories elsewhere for investors to focus on, notably Australia's political power struggle, which threw up the sixth prime minister in less than a decade. The few NZ economic statistics were positive: retail sales rose by 1.1% in the second quarter - almost three times the forecast increase - and July's trade deficit was narrower than expected. The Kiwi was unchanged overall against the pound and it added half a US cent.
The focus for sterling was Thursday, when the UK government released the first tranche of its 80-plus assessments of what will happen if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The alarming picture did less damage than it might, because it played to investors' beliefs that a no-deal Brexit will not be allowed to happen.