Weekly brief

Weekly brief

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Currency update

USD: The dollar was among the back markers for the second day in succession. Once again it was prices which did the damage. Hard on the heels of Wednesday's decline in producer prices, Thursday's consumer price index data caught investors by surprise.  Headline inflation slowed from 2.9% to 2.7% and "core" inflation, which ignores food and energy, was down from 2.4% to 2.2%. Whilst the numbers on their own do not scupper the case for ever-higher interest rates, neither do they help the case for continued tightening by the Fed. The USD lost an average of 0.4% to the other ten most actively-traded currencies, giving up three quarters of a cent each to the EUR and GBP.

EUR: At his press conference the European Central Bank president adopted a tone which most commentators interpreted as hawkish. He was "confident" that inflation will head to 2%, "comfortable" with the growth outlook and described the risks as "broadly balanced". Because his speech came immediately after the US inflation figures it is tricky to split the two effects but on balance Sig. Draghi seems to have helped the EUR. Once again it was unchanged against the GBP; it also held steady against the CHF.

CAD: Although it enjoyed an immediate mark-up after the US inflation data the Loonie had moved back into position by midday. The only domestic factors to affect it were the new housing price index readings from Statistics Canada, which showed an annual increase of 0.5%. The CAD ended up with a daily profit of less than a dozen ticks against the USD. The only item on its agenda today is the Bank of Canada's quarterly Review of the economic and banking scene.

GBP: Sterling remained in investors' good books, continuing to benefit from the prospect of a Brexit deal with the EU in "six to eight weeks". GBP came away unscathed after overnight reports of Bank of England governor Mark Carney's meeting with government ministers. He told them that house prices could fall by more than a third and that rising inflation would mean higher, not lower interest rates in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit. Yet investors see little chance of that happening, especially in view of the recent media coverage of the dangers of no deal. GBP was left with a gain of three quarters of a US cent.

JPY: Though the USD was hurt by the inflation data it was not the day's biggest loser. Having initially firmed against the USD the yen turned tail an hour later and spent the rest of the day on the retreat. There was no obvious cause for the rout: commentators ascribe it to a further deterioration in investors' appetite for safe-havens (though the CHF was unaffected by the shifting mood). JPY lost one and a third yen to the USD, a round 1%.

TRY: Whilst few of them will have had skin in the game, the investors' hero on Thursday was the Turkish lira. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey raised its one-week lending rate from 17.75% to 24%, a 625-basis-point increase, and the TRY jumped higher, strengthening by a net 3.5% against the USD. It might not yet be out of the wood but, following the central bank's decisive demonstration of independence, it is at least not further in.

 

USD falls after below-forecast inflation print

USD falls after below-forecast inflation print

EUR supported by hawkish tone of ECB chief

EUR supported by hawkish tone of ECB chief

CAD receives only brief benefit from US data

CAD receives only brief benefit from US data

GBP enjoys continued support following Brexit deal pledge

GBP enjoys continued support following Brexit deal pledge

JPY takes a knock as flight to safety goes full astern

JPY takes a knock as flight to safety goes full astern

TRY up by 3.5% after CBRT delivers 625-basis-point hike

TRY up by 3.5% after CBRT delivers 625-basis-point hike

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