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Sterling presses ahead on Brexit hopes

USD: The failure of the White House to announce any new import tariffs on Monday led investors to think there would be no immediate follow-through to the weekend's threats.  Add to that a report that Trump is planning - or at least considering - a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un and the wary mood of investors subsided.  The main victims of the swing towards risk-on were the safe-haven JPY and CHF and the USD itself.  The franc and the yen were hardest hit, losing about 1.0% to the dollar.  The USD and EUR  were just about unchanged against one another and the Greenback fell by an average of 0.2% against the other ten most actively-traded currencies.

The "commodity" dollars - CAD, AUD and NZD - all made some headway, though none of them put in a better than average performance. ZAR moved into the front half of the pack as it shaved its seven-day loss to a still considerable 2.4%, while MXN added 0.3%.

EUR: Euroland had little to offer either in terms of economic data or political developments.  The sole statistic from the euro zone was the Sentix index of investor confidence.  It was two and a half points lower on the month at 12.0, continuing a downward trend that has been in place for more than three months. The word on the street in Rome was that finance minister Giovanni Tria will not bust the 3% limit on deficit spending in his upcoming budget.  America's Morgan Stanley investment bank recommended buying Italian financial assets ahead of that budget on September 27.

CAD: Canada's Loonie added a third of a cent on the day, not through any  efforts of its own but simply on the mood swing towards risk-on. It did fractionally less well than the AUD and NZD but the difference was negligible. No progress was reported on the NAFTA negotiations but the assumption is still that an accommodation of some sort will be achieved.

GBP: UK economic data told a mixed story: July's trade deficit was one of the narrowest in two decades and growth in the three months to July exceeded forecasts at 0.6% (an annualized 2.4%), while manufacturing and industrial output fell short of forecast.

By far one of the most important factors was a statement by EU negotiator Michel Barnier that a Brexit deal should be achievable within six to eight weeks. As if to underline that projection, a European Council meeting has been called for November 13. The prospect of a workable deal was positive for the GBP, which was the days' top performer among the majors. It strengthened by a cent and a quarter, 1.0%, against the USD.  

JPY: The rush into riskier assets left the safe-haven JPY at the rear of the pack. It gave up two fifths of a yen to the USD, falling by 0.4%. Just as investors could see no merit in Monday morning's respectable Japanese growth data, nor did they give any credit to the 5.3% annual increase in machine tool orders which was announced this morning.

USD left behind as tariffs fail to materialize and Kim/Trump meeting mooted

USD left behind as tariffs fail to materialize and Kim/Trump meeting mooted

EUR helped by promise of fiscal prudence in forthcoming Italian budget

EUR helped by promise of fiscal prudence in forthcoming Italian budget

CAD steady against AUD and NZD as NAFTA agreement awaited

CAD steady against AUD and NZD as NAFTA agreement awaited

GBP leads the way after EU negotiator talks of Brexit deal in six to eight weeks

GBP leads the way after EU negotiator talks of Brexit deal in six to eight weeks

JPY stranded as renewed risk-on sentiment reduces demand for safe-havens

JPY stranded as renewed risk-on sentiment reduces demand for safe-havens

ZAR and MXN among the winners as risk-aversion fades

ZAR and MXN among the winners as risk-aversion fades

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