Range bound Pound
Construction PMI plummeted to 39.3 from February’s 52.6, the lowest reading since April 2009. With contraction across the board at least the residential sector showed some resilience. April’s figures are set for a sharp decline because of pressure to shut down construction. New orders and overall business confidence fell to the lowest level since October 2008. The Pound shrugged off the data and actually gained on reassurances that Boris Johnson would leave hospital soon and improved risk appetite. The Pound rose to the 1.1410 area on the Euro and just above 1.2300 against the Dollar.
After the European market had closed the Pound dipped sharply lower on the news that Boris Johnson had been taken into intensive care. Sterling dipped below 1.2200 on the Dollar with the Euro peaking just above 1.1360. Sterling has corrected slightly this morning; near 1.2270 on the Dollar as markets await news on the Prime Minister’s condition.
Overall funding pressure remained lower in global markets which limited potential dollar buying as liquidity improved, although there was still an underlying reluctance to sell the US currency given a fundamental lack of confidence in alternative major currencies.
The US March employment trends index declined sharply to 60.4 from a revised 109.3 the previous month, but there was no significant impact from the data.
The Dollar overall lost ground last night amid hopes that the global coronavirus crisis could be approaching a peak which limited underlying defensive US demand and the Euro against the USD strengthened to 1.0830.
German factory orders declined for March to 1.4% following a revised 4.8% increase the previous month. The Eurozone Sentix investor confidence index also declined to -42.9 for April from -17.1 the previous month which was well below expected forecasts of -30.5 and the lowest reading on record.
Reports coming out from Germany suggesting they were set to outline a proposal of requirements to ease current lockdown measures with the transmission to pandemic control from lockdown as quickly as possible. To do so however, the infection rate would need to be below 1.0 and the current rate is well above this level. Austria will also relax restrictions slightly on April 14th
A further decline in the Spanish death toll also helped underpin confidence in the single currency and as of writing the Euro trades at 1.0870 against the Dollar.
Data to watch
All Day – EUR – Eurogroup Meetings