Global risk appetite failed to sustain an initial boost from further positive Pfizer vaccine trial data.

Global risk appetite failed to sustain an initial boost from further positive Pfizer vaccine trial data on Wednesday s shorter-term fears eroded confidence. US equities eventually closed significantly lower and Asian markets retreated slightly from record highs.

The dollar initially retreated before regaining ground as risk appetite and the Euro faded. EUR/USD again failed to challenge 1.1900 and retreated to around 1.1850.

Sterling made net gains on further optimism that a EU/UK trade deal was very close before being hit by a significant correction. Commodity currencies faded from their best levels as equities dipped.

The Euro maintained a firm tone into the New York open as the dollar remained on the defensive. Expectations of an UK/EU trade deal also provided an element of support to the single currency. There was further EUR/USD resistance on approach to the 1.1900 area with speculation that the ECB would look to curb potential currency gains.

US housing starts increased to an annual rate of 1.53mn for October from 1.46mn previously and above market expectations of 1.46mn while building permits were unchanged at 1.55mn for the month. Although interest-rate sensitive areas of the economy remain strong, overall confidence in the outlook stumbled, especially with concerns over the impact of tighter restrictions on activity due to increased coronavirus cases.

New York Federal Reserve President Williams warned that a loss of fiscal support could slow the economy in coming months and he also noted that the central bank could take additional action if necessary. Richmond head Barkin warned over the risks posed by any early ending of emergency lending programmes. The jobless claims data on Thursday will be monitored closely for further evidence on labour-market trends.

The dollar overall retreated for the fifth successive session with commodity currencies making net gains on the day. The single currency was, however, again unable to sustain gains and EUR/USD faded. The US currency regained some territory on Thursday amid a more cautious stance towards the near-term outlook with EUR/USD edging just below 1.1850.

Japan reported a record high number of new coronavirus cases at close to 1,750 for Wednesday, although the figure is notably contained in relation to the US and much of Europe. Risk appetite briefly strengthened following another positive set of data from Pfizer on the coronavirus vaccine. The company announced that latest data indicated 95% efficacy and that it had met requirements to apply for emergency-use approval.

US yields edged lower which eroded potential dollar support and the yen remained resilient. In this environment, USD/JPY retreated to lows just below 103.70 with only a marginal recovery. There was speculation that a firmer Chinese yuan over the medium term would tend to push the US dollar weaker.

Wall Street equities closed lower with sentiment hampered by an announcement that New York schools would close temporarily before re-opening with additional safety measures. The US coronavirus death toll also increased to above 250,000 which undermined sentiment as further state restrictions came into effect.

Tokyo raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level as cases continued to increase and Asian equities lost ground which underpinned the Japanese currency. Markets remained on alert for verbal intervention from the Japanese Finance Ministry and USD/JPY settled around 103.80 with EUR/JPY just below the 123.0 level.

There was only limited reaction to the latest UK CPI inflation data, although Sterling edged slightly higher. Bank of England chief economist Haldane stated that the economy surpassed expectations for the third quarter, but that expectations for the fourth quarter were very uncertain. Economic prospects for next year appear materially brighter, although he also commented that the benefits of easing rates below the current lower bound of just above zero appears to be significant.

Sterling overall maintained a firm tone amid increased expectations that the EU and UK would conclude a trade deal within the next few days. GBP/USD strengthened to highs just above 1.3300 while GBP/EUR rallied to just above 1.1200.

There were indications that the UK and Canada were close to signing a trade deal. There were, however, also reports of pressure on the EU Commission to release contingency plans for a no-deal scenario.

Sterling was also hit by pressure for a correction after GBP/USD failed to hold 1.3300 with a retreat to below 1.3250 as a slightly more global cautious risk tone undermined support and GBP/EUR rallied to just above 1.1200. Rhetoric from the EU Summit will be watched closely on Thursday and vaccine developments will also be significant with some encouraging reports from the UK Oxford trial, but Sterling failed to gain fresh traction.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
07:00 CHF Trade Balance(OCT) 3.053B
08:00 European Central Bank President Lagarde Speaks
11:00 GBP CBI Industrial Trends Orders (NOV) ######## ########
13:30 USD Philadelphia Fed. Manufacturing Index(NOV) 32.3
15:00 USD Existing Home Sales(OCT) 6.30M 6.54M
15:00 USD Existing Home Sales Change(OCT) 9.40%
23:30 JPY National CPI (Y/Y)(OCT) 0.20%
23:30 JPY National CPI Ex-Fresh Food (Y/Y)(OCT) -0.40% -0.30%

*All rates shown are indicative of interbank rates and should only be used for indication purposes only. It is important to note that foreign exchange rates fluctuate and that rates may vary depending on the amount and the base currency that is purchased or sold. Rates are correct as of 8:00am UK time. CentralFX are not responsible for the rates shown.