The dollar recovered slightly from its earlier selloff when the Trump administration sounded open to exempt Canada and Mexico from higher tariffs on steel and aluminum on account of national security. Data was mostly upbeat, with the ADP non-farm employment change beating expectations for February and enjoying an upgrade for January. However, the trade balance showed a wider deficit on weaker ex-port activity. There are no major reports due from the US today so the focus could be on tariffs and pre-NFP positioning.
The euro gave up some ground to its higher-yielding rivals when risk appetite improved. Traders also likely lightened up on their EUR holdings ahead of the ECB decision today. No actual policy changes are expected but any change in rhetoric could influence tightening expectations. Emphasis on the negative impact of euro strength on inflation could drive the shared currency down.
The pound also slid lower against its higher-yielding counterparts as Brexit jitters remained in play. There were no reports out of the UK economy but more details on the EU draft agreement didn’t look positive for the UK economy. There are still no reports lined up today so the focus could stay on Brexit-related headlines.
The franc gave back most of its recent gains when risk appetite returned to the markets. SNB foreign currency reserves ticked up from 732 billion to 733 billion, hardly giving any evidence of intervention. The Swiss jobless rate is due today and a dip from 3.0% to 2.9% is eyed.
The yen also gave up some ground on risk-taking and dollar strength. Japan’s leading indicators missed forecasts but today’s set of medium-tier data came out mostly better than expected. There are no other reports due next so sentiment could push yen pairs around from here.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The Loonie was able to recoup its earlier losses when the BOC was slightly more upbeat, with the ex-ception of uncertainties from the Trump administration. Still, the likelihood of seeing exemptions from higher tariffs also proved positive for commodity currencies. Australia reported a higher than expected trade surplus of 1.06 billion AUD versus the 0.21 billion AUD consensus and China is set to report its own next. A deficit of 70 billion CNY is eyed, though. BOC Governor Poloz also has a speech coming up.