USD: After two weeks on the retreat the USD pulled itself together on Friday. Domestic developments had little to do with its new-found stability. The only relevant economic statistics were the provisional purchasing managers' index readings, which provide an up-to-date picture of activity in the private sector. They showed manufacturers less upbeat in September than in August and services businesses fractionally more so. The main boost to the dollar came from America's geographical and economic distance from the imbroglio surrounding Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. It added a quarter of a cent against the EUR and two cents against the GBP.
EUR: The provisional purchasing managers' indices from the euro zone showed a similar pattern to those from the States, with services up and manufacturing down. There were no other pan-Euroland statistics but the shape of the German data matched those of the US and the euro zone. There was better news from the IFO figures released ahead of New York's opening today: all three measures of German business confidence were higher on the month. As for the long-running Brexit battle between London and Brussels, it was the GBP that took by far the biggest hit but the EUR could not avoid collateral damage.
CAD: The Canadian dollar, like its Australian and NZ cousins, is feeling the heat of a tilt towards risk-aversion among investors. The Brexit brouhaha at the end of last week sowed the seed of nervousness and it was nourished by the activation of new tariffs in the Sino-US trade war this morning. A cent-and-a-quarter jump in oil prices following the weekend's OPEC meeting has been moderately positive for the CAD but its effect is muted by risk-off sentiment. The CAD is a third of a cent lower on the day.
GBP: Britain's diplomatic disaster in Salzburg on Thursday did not immediately make itself felt by the GBP, but as London got into its stride on Friday the picture looked very different. Investors were already marking down the pound when prime minister Theresa May made a combative statement in which she implied that Britain and the EU are so far apart that no agreement can be acceptable to both parties. At the weekend the bookies' odds of a no-deal Brexit narrowed from 4/1 to 5/4, and investors are more worried by that prospect than they have been for many a week. GBP fell by an average of 1.3% on Friday, losing two US cents, two Canadian cents and one and a third euro cents.
JPY: For the first time in two weeks the JPY was the leader among the major currencies, though the gap between it and the USD and CHF in joint second place was not wide - just a dozen or so ticks. There were no Japanese economic statistics on Friday and none today, as Japan celebrates Autumnal Equinox Day. Tonight, however, brings the minutes of the Bank of Japan policy meeting and a speech by BoJ governor Kuroda. Investors are hoping that, between them, they will explain why the central bank unexpectedly slowed the pace of its quantitative easing asset purchases last week.