Risk appetite strengthened on Tuesday amid hopes that Congress would approve a fiscal stimulus package.

Risk appetite strengthened on Tuesday amid hopes that Congress would approve a fiscal stimulus package and reports after the US close suggested a deal had been reached.

PMI data indicated sharp downturns in the Euro-zone, UK and US, especially in services. US equity markets posted strong gains despite PMI data with the S&P 500 index gaining over 9% and all major global bourses made solid gains.

The US currency recovered from intra-day lows, but overall dollar demand remained lower as liquidity efforts increased dollar supply with EUR/USD above 1.0800.

Commodity currencies made significant net gains as risk appetite improved. Stronger risk appetite also helped underpin Sterling after recent heavy losses.

According to the March flash data, the Euro-zone PMI manufacturing index declined to 44.8 from 49.2 previously and above market expectations, although it was still the weakest reading for over 7 years. The services-sector index declined very sharply to 28.4 from 52.6, the fastest ever monthly decline and the lowest reading on record. There was a sharp decline in orders as exports also dipped rapidly amid border restrictions. Industrial and service-sector prices declined with selling prices overall declining at the fastest pace since 2010. The data confirmed that deep recession was likely in the Euro-zone economy.

ECB President Lagarde was reported as saying that she supported coronabonds, but EU finance ministers struggled to find common ground.

The US PMI manufacturing index declined to 49.2 from 50.7 previously, although, as was the case for Europe, the real decline was larger given that the figure was inflated by a jump in delivery times. The services-sector index declined sharply to a record low of 39.1 from 49.4 previously with the composite output index also at a record low. There will be strong expectations of a further sharp downturn for the April data.

The Philly Fed non-manufacturing index declined sharply to -12.8 from 36.1 the previous month with a sharp decline in new orders and small decline in employment.

There was still strong underlying dollar demand and it regained ground during the New York session, although swap spreads continued to narrow and were much lower than seen last week. After pushing to highs above 1.0880, EUR/USD was unable to sustain gains and retreated to below 1.0800.

Dollar demand eased on Wednesday as measures to boost credit had an impact and EUR/USD traded just above 1.0800 as commodity currencies rallied.

After posting strong gains ahead of the New York open, US equity markets opened higher and made further strong gains into the European close. Confirmation that the Olympics due to be held in Japan this year would be postponed until next year had a negative impact on the Japanese currency. Money markets also indicated that dollar demand from Japanese banks was still very high. Yen demand remained weak and USD/JPY pushed to highs near 111.50.

G7 members held a virtual meeting and reiterated that they will do whatever is necessary to restore confidence with little net impact.

Markets continued to monitor fiscal developments closely as Congress continued to edge closer to a substantial fiscal package. In Asia on Wednesday, there were reports that Administration and Senate Democrats had reached agreement on a $2.0trn package, but there will still need to be votes in Congress and President Trump’s signature.

There were also reports that the US Administration would defer trade tariffs for a 90-day period and Asian markets made strong gains. Minutes from the Bank of Japan meeting warned over a deep downturn and USD/JPY settled around 111.30 in early Europe.

The UK PMI manufacturing index declined to 48.0 for March from 51.7 the previous month which was above consensus forecasts, although the data was distorted by longer delivery times. The services-sector index declined to a record low of 35.7 from 53.2 the previous month as activity slumped in many sectors. Selling prices declined and employment was cut as business confidence dipped sharply. The headline CBI industrial orders index declined to -29 for March from -18 previously and business confidence declined to a 10-year low as export orders declined sharply and the underlying coronavirus impact intensified.

There was some speculation that the Bank of England would announce more aggressive quantitative easing measures at Thursday’s policy meeting which provided an element of Sterling support.

GBP/USD pushed to highs around 1.1800 before fading while GBP/EUR bounced from lows around 1.065 before consolidation around 1.0900. Stronger global risk appetite also underpinned the UK currency and GBP/USD traded close to 1.1850 on Wednesday. UK data will now be released at the European open and the headline CPI inflation rate edged lower to 1.7% from 1.8% with the core rate at 1.7% from 1.5%.

Economic Calendar

Expected Previous
07:00 GBP Core CPI (Y/Y)(FEB) 1.50% 1.60%
07:00 GBP CPI (M/M)(FEB) 0.30% -0.30%
07:00 GBP CPI (Y/Y)(FEB) 1.70% 1.80%
07:00 GBP PPI Input (Y/Y)(FEB) -0.90% 2.10%
07:00 GBP PPI Input (M/M)(FEB) -2.00% 0.90%
07:00 GBP PPI Core Output (Y/Y)(FEB) 0.5 0.2
07:00 GBP PPI Output (Y/Y)(FEB) 0.90% 1.00%
09:00 German Business Expectations(MAR) 92.2 93.4
09:00 IFO - German Current Assessment(MAR) 98.6 98.9
11:00 CBI Distributive Trades Survey(MAR) - 1
12:30 USD Durable Goods Orders (M/M)(FEB) -0.90% -0.20%
12:30 USD Durable Goods Orders Ex Transportation(FEB) -0.20% 0.80%
13:00 US House Price Index (M/M)(JAN) - 0.60%

*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.