Where do we start…? Sterling fell across the board last week as Prime Minister Theresa May struggled to gain support for her draft Brexit agreement with the EU amid speculation of a possible no-confidence vote. The resignation of UK Brexit Minister Dominic Raab on Thursday was the catalyst for several other senior ministers to hand their resignation letters in; a minister resigned every 90 minutes on Thursday. A cynic would say it was a co-ordinated attack against the PM.
Following Raabs resignation, GBP/USD proceeded to fall to a two-week low of 1.2724 although the pair has nudged higher today and currently sits above 1.28. GBP/EUR took a fall of 2.4% and has found support today above 1.12 mid-market. The relatively-unknown former health minister Stephen Barclay, replaces Raab.
David Davis, Raab’s predecessor spoke on Bloomberg this morning urging the Prime Minister to take the Withdrawal agreement to a parliamentary vote now, rather than after the EU vote on November 25th citing a lack of ‘time’ as his main concern.
Assuming Theresa May avoids a leadership challenge (several sources have the number of letters submitted at 42 with 48 required) we still believe that the EU will approve May’s Withdrawal agreement. However, we are confident that she will not receive the votes required for parliament to pass the bill, which leaves the UK with the option to amend the bill or face a no-deal Brexit.
Looking ahead, the fate of Theresa May and her draft Brexit agreement will be the main focus for investors this week although the Bank of England inflation hearings tomorrow will also be scrutinised.
It is Thanksgiving this Thursday 22nd November meaning US Dollars cannot be sent or received on this day.
The Dollar retreated last week with notable declines seen on Friday as US government bond yields tumbled on dovish rhetoric from the Federal Reserve. Next months interest rate hike is still expected to happen, although forecasts of two more in H1 2019 may be unrealistic, with a slowdown in global growth of concern to the Fed.
The Dollar Index has crept lower again today to a low of 96.32 ahead of the holiday-shortened trading week.
Looking ahead, we await housing data today and tomorrow while Wednesday’s slate include durable goods, jobless claims and Michigan sentiment followed by PMI on Friday.
The Euro made gains versus the both the US Dollar and Sterling last week although this was prompted by weakness in the aforementioned currencies rather than renewed demand for the Euro. We saw some weakness in the single currency after German GDP surprised to the downside while investors also remain cautious around the Italian budget dispute.
Euro Zone consumer confidence data is due on Thursday ahead of manufacturing and service PMI prints on Friday. The ECB minutes will also be closely watched for any signs that policymakers are close to downgrading their assessment of risks to the outlook.
USD/JPY is trading just below 113 this morning having tumbled below that level on Friday as US government bond yields did the same on dovish Fed speak. Softer-than-expected Japanese GDP data released on Wednesday provided a brief weight on the Yen as broader risk sentiment spent most of the week on the back foot.
Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda speaks tomorrow ahead of CPI data due for release on Wednesday.
EUR/CHF has seen more support and has held above the 1.14 level for the time being. Domestic impulses have been limited for the Franc of late with investors reacting to broader risk sentiment which was volatile last week.
A quiet week for data with only the trade balance due tomorrow.
The Australian Dollar touched a fresh eleven-week high versus the US Dollar on Friday at 0.7336, supported by stronger-than-expected jobs data and a rebound in commodity prices. The pair is just above holding above the 0.7300 level this morning.
The RBA minutes are out tomorrow plus possible comments from RBA Governor Lowe.
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR
The New Zealand Dollar has kicked off the week on the back foot with NZD/USD pulling back from Friday’s five-month peak of 0.6884. Trade sensitive currencies have struggled today after US-China relations seemingly soured over the weekend. Stronger-than-expected domestic PPI data released overnight was largely ignored.
No data releases of note this week.
CAD touched its lowest level versus the US Dollar since July 20th last Wednesday at 1.3265, weighed by sharp declines in crude prices and a warning from US lawmaker Parcell who said the North American trade deal would not pass Congress in its current form. The Dollar rebounded into the weekend however, aided by a similar bounce in oil prices and a stronger print for Canadian manufacturing sales on Friday with the pair back the 1.32.
Friday’s CPI and retail sales figures will be the main focus this week although we also expect comments from Bank of Canada policymakers Wilkins and Lane tomorrow.
Swedish CPI fell short of expectations last Wednesday and has prompted some economists to shift their rate bets to the February Riksbank meeting rather than December. The data also prompted some weakness in the Krona and lifted EUR/SEK up from Tuesday’s five-month low of 10.2100.
The data calendar for Sweden is empty this week.
The Norwegian Krone softened last week weighed by tumbling oil prices and soft data. Domestic GDP figures missed on Tuesday and prompted some selling while the Krone also fell in sympathy with the Krona after Swedish CPI fell short of expectations. EUR/NOK touched a fresh nine-week high on Friday at 9.6442.
Consumer confidence data is out tomorrow followed by unemployment on Wednesday.
To discuss how we can help protect your business against currency risk through Brexit negotiations, call us on 020 3876 5432.