Risk appetite was more cautious on Friday amid fears that coronavirus restrictions would remain in place for longer.

There were no significant dovish elements in the ECB statement or press conference which provided underlying Euro support. EUR/USD peaked around 1.2170 with only a limited retreat on Friday amid gains on the crosses.

Risk appetite was more cautious on Friday amid fears that coronavirus restrictions would remain in place for longer. Wall Street equities posted record highs on Thursday, but there was a more cautious tone on Friday with a significant correction in Asia.

The dollar remained under pressure, but did manage to stem overall selling pressure, especially as risk conditions were more fragile. GBP/USD peaked at 32-month highs near 1.3750 before sliding on Friday after weaker than expected UK data and less confident risk conditions.

Commodity currencies failed to hold their best levels and dipped on Friday as equities retreated.

The ECB held interest rates at 0.0% following the latest council meeting and also made no changes to the asset-purchase programme with bond buying under the PEPP programme continuing until at the least March 2022. The statement did note that the full envelope of bond purchases did not need to be used if there was an improvement in financing conditions. The bank, however, was also ready to recalibrate policy if there is a negative inflation shock over the next few months.

The Euro moved higher on the policy announcement even though markets had not been expecting any further easing measures at this meeting.

ECB President Laggard stated that the bank was monitoring the forex rate very carefully and that currency appreciation is a drag on inflation.

As far as the growth outlook is concerned, Laggard stated that risks to the outlook were tilted to the downside, although the risk is now less pronounced. She added that an ambitious and co-ordinated fiscal stance remains critical. Euro-zone consumer confidence dipped to -15.5 for January from -13.8 previously.

Given the absence of dovish references within the meeting EUR/USD strengthened to highs at 1.2170 following the ECB meeting. The dollar was able to secure a limited recovery towards the European close, but faded again in New York amid negative underlying sentiment.

The Euro-zone PMI business confidence data will released on Friday with expectations that the services sector will contract. EUR/USD edged lower on Friday to 1.2160, although this was based on gains on the crosses rather than a fresh dollar retreat as the US currency secured some wider relief amid more fragile risk conditions.

US initial jobless claims declined slightly to 900,000 in the latest week from a downwardly-revised 926,000 previously and slightly below consensus forecasts of 910,000. Continuing claims declined to 5.05mn from 5.18mn. Despite a slight weekly retreat in claims, there were still concerns over near-term labour-market trends

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index strengthened to 26.5 for January from 9.1 previously and above consensus forecasts of 11.0. There was a strong rate of increase in new and unfilled orders while all indicators posted solid gains on the month. There was also further optimism over the six-month outlook.

Construction data was also stronger than expected with an increase in housing starts increasing to 1.67mn from 1.58mn previously and the highest reading since August 2006.  USD/JPY edged higher following the data with a move back above 103.50 as bond yields increased, although overall moves were limited.

Japan’s PMI manufacturing PMI index edged lower to 49.7 from 50.0 previously with the services index at 45.7 from 47.7. Risk conditions were slightly more fragile in Asia on Friday amid reservations over near-term coronavirus developments which underpinned the Japanese currency and USD/JPY traded around 103.65.

The CBI industrial orders index declined to -38 for January from -25 previously and weaker than consensus forecasts of -35. Output was broadly unchanged, but business confidence dipped and there was a dip in export orders which will cause significant concerns given evidence that global manufacturing was performing well. PMI business confidence data will be watched closely on Friday with a risk that trade disruption and the impact of stock building late last year will drag indices lower.

Sterling continued to gain an element of support from robust global risk conditions amid expectations of sustained global reflation policies.

GBP/USD broke above the 1.3700 level pushed to fresh 32-month highs just below 1.3750, but was unable to sustain the gains as the dollar attempted to recover ground. GBP/EUR rallied to 8-month highs around 1.1320 before a limited correction to near 1.1280.

UK GfK consumer confidence declined to -28 for January from -26, but slightly above consensus forecasts. The retail sales increase was held to 0.3% for December after a 3.8% decline the previous month and below expectations of 1.2%. Government borrowing was also higher than expected at £40.6bn for the month.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
07:00 GBP Retail Sales ex-Fuel (M/M)(DEC, 2020) 0.80% -2.60%
07:00 GBP Retail Sales ex-Fuel (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020) 7.00% 5.60%
07:00 GBP Retail Sales (Y/Y)(DEC, 2020) 4.00% 2.40%
07:00 GBP Retail Sales (M/M)(DEC, 2020) 1.20% -3.80%
07:00 GBP Public Sector Net Borrowing(DEC, 2020) 27.30B 30.84B
08:15 Markit Mfg PMI(JAN) 50.1 51.1
08:15 Markit Serv PMI(JAN) 40 49.1
08:30 EUR German PMI Composite(JAN) 50.4 52
08:30 EUR German PMI Services(JAN) 44 47
08:30 EUR German Manufacturing PMI (M/M)(JAN) 56.4 58.3
09:00 Euro-Zone PMI Services(JAN) 41.9 46.4
09:00 Euro-Zone PMI Manufacturing(JAN) 53 55.2
09:00 Euro-Zone PMI Composite(JAN) 45.8 49.1
13:30 CAD Retail Sales Ex Autos (M/M)(DEC, 2020) 0.20% 1.00%
13:30 CAD Retail Sales (M/M)(DEC, 2020) 0.20% 0.40%
14:45 USD Manufacturing PMI(JAN) 55.7 57.1
14:45 USD Markit Services PMI(JAN) 55.9 54.8
14:45 USD Markit PMI Composite(JAN 01) 55.3
15:00 USD Existing Home Sales(DEC, 2020) 6.53M 6.69M
15:00 USD Existing Home Sales Change(DEC, 2020) -1.00% -2.50%

*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.