The US dollar chalked up a mixed performance on the lack of top-tier data from the US. Total vehicle sales was weaker than expected while reports released earlier in the week signaled a slowdown in the consumer sector. ADP non-farm employment change and ISM non-manufacturing PMI are lined up today, but the FOMC statement could lead to stronger movement for the dollar. No actual policy changes are expected but a change in their bias could influence dollar trends.
The euro held on to its gains against the yen but caved to comdoll strength. Medium-tier reports were mostly in line with expectations, save for the region’s unemployment rate which was unchanged at 9.5% instead of improving to the 9.4% consensus. Spanish and German unemployment change figures are lined up today, along with the region’s flash GDP reading which could show a slightly faster pace of growth at 0.5%.
The pound was able to advance, thanks to stronger than expected UK manufacturing PMI. Analysts expected to see a fall from 54.2 to 54.0 but the actual reading surged to 57.3 to reflect a much stronger pace of industry growth. Construction PMI is due today and a dip from 52.2 to 52.1 is eyed, although this report doesn’t normally trigger a large reaction from the pound.
The franc gave up some ground when the Swiss manufacturing PMI turned out weaker than expected. The reading fell from 58.6 to 57.4 versus the estimated drop to 58.2 to reflect a slower pace of industry expansion. There are no reports due from Switzerland today so the franc could take its cue from euro zone reports or market sentiment.
The yen continued to slide lower against most of its peers on risk appetite. Japanese banks are closed for the holiday so liquidity is down. Yen pairs could react to changes in US bond yields following the release of leading jobs indicators, namely the ADP report and ISM non-manufacturing PMI, and the FOMC statement.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The Kiwi led the pack in terms of gains when the GDT auction and quarterly jobs report yielded strong results. Dairy prices rose 3.6% to mark its fourth consecutive gain while employment rose by 1.2% in Q1 versus the 0.8% consensus. Crude oil dipped below $47.50 per barrel on talks of ending the conflict in Libya and Saudi Arabia entertaining the idea of $45/barrel Brent crude oil.