The US dollar was off to a good start but wound up retreating when the FOMC minutes were released. Even though policymakers judged that a rate hike is appropriate “fairly soon” they did specify that this hinges on whether or not incoming jobs and inflation reports turn out strong or at least in line with their expectations. Some policymakers also warned about the risks of a higher dollar. Initial jobless claims and a speech by FOMC member Kaplan are lined up today.
The euro took a sharp tumble at the start of the European session as debt concerns in Greece and Italy weighed on sentiment. However, the shared currency enjoyed a strong bounce when headlines suggested that Le Pen would be facing stiff competition from newcomer Macron who gained support of popular French politician Bayrou. The German IFO business climate index also beat expectations by rising from 109.9 to 111.0 instead of dipping to 109.6. Euro zone final GDP and German GfK consumer climate are due next.
The pound was dragged lower by the rest of its European peers but managed to hold some ground thanks to an upward revision in its preliminary GDP from 0.5% to 0.7%. However, preliminary business investment tanked 1% versus the projected flat reading. Only the CBI realized sales index is due today and traders could put their attention back to the Brexit discussions in the House of Lords.
The franc was also reacting to uncertainties in the European region as it performed poorly against most of its peers. The Credit Suisse economic expectations index rose from 18.5 to 19.4 to indicate an improvement in outlook. There are no reports due from the Swiss economy today.
The yen enjoyed safe-haven flows from the European currencies and was also able to catch some gains versus the dollar. There were no major reports out of Japan yesterday but the currency seems to be taking advantage of anti-dollar action in the midst of risk aversion.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
Canadian retail sales turned out much weaker than expected as the headline figure printed a 0.5% drop instead of the estimated 0.1% uptick while the core reading showed a 0.3% decline instead of the estimated 0.8% gain. Australia’s private capital expenditure report showed a surprise 2.1% drop versus the projected 0.4% dip. Crude oil inventories are due next and a large buildup could be bearish for the Loonie.