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Brexit setback balks pound

USD: Friday's US import and export price index readings showed a divergence.  

Export prices were unchanged in September while import prices increased by 0.5%. Although in theory that implies upward pressure on domestic inflation, petroleum accounted for all of the import price increase so the Fed will not worry overmuch. The provisional Michigan index of consumer confidence was down by a point at 99.0. On the political front the president was trying to figure out what - if any - sanctions he might impose on Saudi Arabia in punishment for the presumed murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi was promising to react to whatever Trump does. Investors sat back to wait and see what happens, leaving the USD unchanged on average against the other major currencies.

EUR: It was more of the same for the euro, which fell by half  cent against the USD. Investors were not actively selling the currency - hence the relatively modest decline - but they were certainly giving it the cold shoulder. On Friday it was the ongoing worries about Italy's deficit. In the Far East this morning it was the regional elections in Southern Germany, where Chancellor Merkel's sister party got a bloody nose yesterday: Its share of the vote plunged from 47% to 37%, sounding warning signals about the future of Merkel's coalition in the longer run.

CAD: Canada's dollar was becalmed in the same doldrums as the USD.  It, too, was on average unchanged against the other majors. There were no central bank or political announcements to affect it and no Canadian economic data. There is a chance it could do something today though: This morning the Bank of Canada will publish the results of its quarterly Business Outlook Survey. The Loonie's supporters will be hoping for an upbeat report.

GBP: The Brexit story took a turn for the  worse on Friday and again over the weekend. Internal opposition to the prime minister's plan led to more washing of dirty Conservative party linen in public as extremist Brexiteers called on ministers to resign rather than support the premier. At the weekend Brexit minister Dominic Raab flew to Brussels for a previously unscheduled meeting with Michel Bernier, raising hopes that a deal might be close: Those hopes were dashed when he returned home empty-handed, reviving fears of a no-deal divorce. The GBP gapped lower this morning, booking a net loss of 0.8% to the USD.

JPY: The yen was the major currency winner on Friday and overnight but it was not a crushing victory: It had to share first place with the South African rand, which was helped by a delay in the publication of Moody's latest report on the country. The two strengthened by 0.3% against the USD. It was the usual risk aversion that took the JPY ahead. At the IMF conference in Bali there was a good deal of sobering talk about trade wars and rising interest rates.  Indonesia's President Joko Widodo summed up the mood when he said "Winter is coming" for the global economy if countries cannot reconcile their differences.

USD static as Trump ponders Saudi sanctions

USD static as Trump ponders Saudi sanctions

EUR drifts lower on Italy's debt and Germany's coalition

EUR drifts lower on Italy's debt and Germany's coalition

CAD awaits today's BOC business survey

CAD awaits today's BOC business survey

GBP knocked by revived fear of no-deal Brexit

GBP knocked by revived fear of no-deal Brexit

JPY profits as safe haven amid IMF gloom

JPY profits as safe haven amid IMF gloom

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