Daily Currency Update
Sterling romped higher across the board on Thursday as investors responded positively to the UK’s outperforming retail sales report. The rate of retail sales growth exceeded forecasts on both a monthly and annual basis, indicating that low consumer prices and higher average earnings are having a positive impact on people’s spending habits. However, the Pound gave up gains against several of its peers as the session progressed and a dovish policy statement from the European Central Bank (ECB) drove a number of currencies higher. The GBP/EUR exchange rate managed to hold its one-month high above the 1.38 level despite German and French Services PMIs exceeding forecasts.
After ECB President Mario Draghi asserted that the central bank is considering a range of instruments to bolster the Eurozone’s output the Euro dropped dramatically. The ECB chief indicated that new measures could be introduced as early as December. With the EUR/USD exchange rate sliding, the US Dollar was buoyed against a number of its rivals and the GBP/USD pairing gave up its earlier gains. However, if today’s US Manufacturing PMI shows the decline in output forecast by economists the ‘Greenback’ could slip back before the weekend.
Investors had been braced for a dovish policy statement from the ECB, but the references to additional easing being deployed as soon as December had a dramatic impact on demand for the common currency. The Euro fell across the board and held declines overnight. While a combination of profit taking and positive Services/Composite PMIs for the Eurozone and its largest economies gave the Euro a bit of a boost, the currency remains trending at lower levels than before the ECB announcement.
With the prospect of looser fiscal conditions in the Eurozone increasing the appeal of commodity-driven currencies, the Australian Dollar advanced on peers like the Pound. The ‘Aussie’ extended gains during the Australasian session, with the asset striking a two-month high against the Euro. Additional support came in the form of China’s Conference Board Leading Index, which climbed from 334.2 to 339.5 in September.
New Zealand Dollar
The dovish ECB policy statement shoved the New Zealand Dollar higher overnight, with the ‘Kiwi’ recouping losses sustained off the back of the week’s disappointing dairy auction. Next week we can expect to see significant ‘Kiwi’ volatility, with the currency primed to fluctuate notably in the days leading up to and following the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) interest rate announcement. The central bank isn’t expected to make any alterations to fiscal policy at this juncture but should it hint that another rate cut is on the way, the ‘Kiwi’ is likely to fall. Conversely a neutral statement from the RBNZ would lend the New Zealand Dollar support.
After falling off the back of the Bank of Canada’s (BOC) negative revisions to Canada’s growth forecasts, the ‘Loonie’ was able to claw back losses thanks to the ECB policy statement driving demand for commodity-driven assets. The Canadian Dollar also benefited from Canada’s retail sales figure for August printing more strongly than expected, with sales up 0.5% on the month rather than the 0.1% expected. Today’s Canadian inflation print could spark additional CAD movement before the weekend.
South African Rand
A downbeat domestic budget sent the Rand spiralling lower earlier in the week but the South African currency managed to stabilise against its major peers as the week drew to a close despite concerns relating to the week-long student protest over University fees. Nest week the South African data to focus on includes the nation’s unemployment rate and trade balance numbers.