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Market awaits North American jobs numbers

USD

Both sides sound optimistic that the trade war between America and China is heading towards a satisfactory conclusion. The US president said yesterday "we're getting very close to making a deal" while Chinese vice premier Liu He spoke of a "new consensus". The sense is that a trade deal could be agreed by early May.

That was the main dollar-sensitive news on Thursday. The US economic data added little to the debate. Challenger jobs cuts numbered 60,587 in March, making up the highest quarterly total since 2015, while initial and continuing jobless claims were fewer than forecast. Investors expect today's nonfarm payrolls figure to have returned to trend with the addition of 180k jobs.

EUR

Having lost ground during the London session yesterday the EUR spent the New York day clawing back some of the lost ground. It is unchanged on the day against the USD.

There were no pan-Euroland data this morning and the national data were not of massive importance. German industrial production rose 0.7% in February, a stronger result than the forecast no-change. Production is down by just 0.4% from a year ago, a result that will have relieved the euro's supporters. France's trade deficit was all but unchanged on the month and Spanish industrial output was down by an annual 0.3%.

CAD

The Loonie was also unchanged against the USD, having spent the day within a quarter-cent range. WTI crude was 0.2% lower on the day, as close to no-change as oil ever gets.

Thursday's Canadian statistic was the broadly-based Ivey purchasing managers' index. Four points higher on the month at 54.3 it looked considerably prettier than Monday's narrower manufacturing PMI from Markit. Today's data relate to employment. Analysts expect that up to 10k jobs will have been created in March.

GBP

Sterling spent Thursday on the retreat, earning itself last place among the major currencies for the third time in six days. It gave up 0.6% to the USD. Halifax, a mortgage lender, said this morning that UK house prices had fallen by an average of 1.6% in March, leaving them 3.2% higher on the year.

It was fairly quiet on the Brexit front until this morning. The prime minister's people were talking to the leader of the opposition's people about how to proceed with Brexit but there was no sign of any meeting of the minds. This morning EU president Donald Tusk suggested that a flexible 12-month delay to Brexit would be possible, but not a shorter one. Britain's prime minister responded by asking for a 12-week delay, perhaps in an attempt to assuage her base.

JPY

An improvement in risk-appetite among investors dampened their appetite for the safe-haven yen. It is down by 0.3% against the USD.

The Japanese Cabinet Office's business conditions index shed the only illumination on the economic picture. Its coincident index was three quarters of a point higher at 98.8 while the forward-looking leading index was up by a point at 97.4.

USD: China trade deal "in four weeks"

USD: China trade deal "in four weeks"

EUR: German production up, euro relieved

EUR: German production up, euro relieved

CAD: Higher Ivey PMI keeps it steady

CAD: Higher Ivey PMI keeps it steady

GBP: Loses ground as Brexit narrative goes quiet

GBP: Loses ground as Brexit narrative goes quiet

JPY: Lower on reawakened risk-appetite

JPY: Lower on reawakened risk-appetite

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