The US dollar was off to a strong start this week on risk-off vibes in the markets. Traders seem to be shrugging off the impact of Trump’s first press conference but are still wary ahead of the inauguration later this week. US reports were mixed, as headline retail sales and PPI beat expectations while core figures fell short of consensus. US banks are closed for Martin Luther King Day today.
The euro gapped down to most of its counterparts to start the week as traders are anticipating more bearishness with all the catalysts lined up. Data from the euro zone was actually stronger than expected on Friday but Brexit-related fears seem to be dominating price action. Euro zone trade balance is due today and a wider 23.2 billion EUR surplus is eyed.
The pound also started the week lower against its peers as traders are bracing themselves for UK PM May’s Brexit speech midweek. Any indication that a “hard Brexit” would be a possibility could send the currency crashing lower. BOE Governor Carney has a speech lined up today and he could attempt to shore up confidence in the UK economy.
The franc had a volatile run on Friday as it was also dragged down by the rest of its European peers. There were no reports out of the Swiss economy then and none are due today so the franc could be pushed and pulled by market sentiment and country-specific action once more.
The Japanese yen is taking advantage of the jitters in the European region, raking in gains against the euro and pound while gapping up against most of its counterparts. Over the weekend, Japanese data turned out mixed as core machinery orders posted a sharper than expected 5.1% fall while PPI showed a smaller than expected 1.2% drop. Tertiary industry activity data and preliminary machine tool orders figures are due today.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The comdolls are still able to hold on to their gains despite the risk-off vibes, possibly supported by speculations that China is poised for stronger growth and the pickup in commodity prices. However, the Chinese trade balance turned out weaker than expected on Friday due to a larger fall in exports. Australia posted a 0.5% gain in its MI inflation gauge, higher than the previous 0.1% uptick, while New Zealand printed a 0.8% decline in FPI.