The US dollar was off to a weak start in the absence of upgrades in its Q4 GDP reading of 1.9% but soon recovered upon seeing stronger Chicago PMI and Richmond manufacturing index readings. Dollar traders appear to be holding out for Trump’s speech during which is is set to unveil infrastructure spending and security spending plans. As for data, US personal spending and income, along with the core PCE price index, are lined up today. The ISM manufacturing PMI is also up for release and a rise from 56.0 to 56.2 is expected.
The euro was able to hold on to its recent gains as more polls indicated that French candidate Le Pen is losing her lead, thereby reducing odds of a Frexit. Medium-tier reports from France and Italy printed mixed results, with French consumer spending and GDP meeting expectations and Italian CPI beating consensus with a 0.3% gain. German preliminary CPI and Spanish manufacturing PMI are lined up today, along with German unemployment change data and final manufacturing PMI readings.
The pound slid lower to its peers when the odds of a Scottish referendum happening soon increased. UK manufacturing PMI is due today and a small dip from 55.9 to 55.7 to reflect a slower pace of industry growth is expected. A larger drop could confirm that Brexit risks are starting to take their toll on economic performance and set the tone for the rest of the PMIs due later in the week.
The franc continued to advance against its European counterparts and even chalked up some wins to the yen. The Swiss KOF economic barometer rose from an upgraded 102.0 reading to 107.2, outpacing the consensus at 102.2 to reflect a strong improvement in current conditions and outlook. The UBS consumption indicator is lined up today and a climb from the earlier 1.50 figure could be positive for the franc.
The Japanese yen gave up ground to most of its counterparts, except for the Canadian dollar. Japanese housing starts came in stronger than expected at 12.8% versus 3.3% while capital spending for the previous quarter rose 3.8% versus 0.6%. The final manufacturing PMI was downgraded from 53.5 to 53.3 instead of being upgraded to the 53.6 consensus.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The Loonie was the big loser for the day even with mixed underlying inflation reports, as traders appear to be bracing for a downbeat BOC statement later today. In their previous meeting, the central bank upgraded GDP forecasts but Governor Poloz warned that a rate cut is still on the table. Earlier today, Australia printed a stronger than expected 1.1% growth figure versus the 0.7% consensus while China’s PMI readings came in mostly stronger than expected. The official manufacturing PMI rose from 51.3 to 51.6 while the Caixin version improved from 51.0 to 51.7 versus the consensus at 50.9. RBNZ head Wheeler also has a speech coming up.