EUR Bounces on Cautious Optimism as Italy Readies to Release 2019 Budget

Sept. 6, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions) – The U.S. dollar was mostly flat as declines versus the euro, sterling and Norwegian crown offset gains against the Swiss franc and Australian dollar. Canada’s dollar hovered near late July lows with firmer oil above $68 helping to slow its descent. Market players are cautiously dipping a top into riskier waters, partly on signs that Italy might pursue fiscal prudence when Rome releases its 2019 budget in coming weeks. Easing concerns about the fiscal shape of the euro zone’s third biggest economy helped to eclipse ongoing trade war concerns that have rattled markets. Norway’s crown was a session standout performer after hotter than expected area inflation increased the risk of an interest rate hike from 0.50% next week. While steady, the greenback retained a bullish bias after strong U.S. jobs data last week validated Fed plans to raise interest rates a few more times this year.




Sterling firmed as it built on last week’s gain that came from reduced uncertainty related to Brexit. While Brexit remains a source of uncertainty for the pound, optimism is cautiously on the rise that Britain and the EU might ultimately find enough middle ground to agree on a trade deal in time to avert a potentially disorderly divorce. Sterling’s nascent upturn could hinge on U.K. unemployment data Tuesday and Thursday when the Bank of England issues a policy decision. No change in rates from 0.75% is expected but the tone of the central bank minutes could impact the pound.




The greenback was mostly flat after a jobs-inspired rally Friday. Dollar fundamentals remains bullish after data showed the U.S. economy added more than 200,000 jobs in August while unemployment kept below 4% and the nearly 3% rise in wages marked the fastest pace in years. The data cemented expectations for the Fed to raise rates to 2.25% from 2% on Sept. 26 and keep the door wide open for further increases in December and 2019. The buck this week will take its cues from consumer prices Thursday and retail sales Friday.




Canada’s dollar underperformed and kept within arm’s reach of late July lows. The loonie lost ground after disappointing jobs data last week somewhat clouded the outlook for an imminent rise in domestic interest rates from 1.50%. Canada unexpectedly shed more than 50,000 jobs in August. But the fact that all the job losses came from less meaningful part time positions didn’t torpedo prospects of a rate hike to 1.75% as soon as Oct. 24.




The euro firmed after an overnight flirt with three-week lows. The euro bounced above multiweek lows on signs that Italy’s new coalition government would respect EU rules when it unveils its budget for next year some time over the coming weeks. Consequently, government borrowing costs declined, a sign of decreased investor worry that supported the euro. The ECB issues a decision Thursday. While area borrowing rates are expected to remain anchored at zero well into 2019, the central bank’s assessment of the growth outlook, if brighter, could be positive for the euro.




A 0.5% decline in the Swiss franc pulled the Alpine currency down from 5-month peaks hit last week. Haven assets are underperforming their riskier counterparts, like stocks, partly on diminished concerns about fiscal uncertainty in Italy, the euro zone’s No. 3 economy. Downside for the swissie could prove modest given persistent worries about a global trade war.

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