Speculators still short Euro

Since I wrote “Beware of EUR short covering” EUR/USD has gained around 4%. EUR/USD is trying to gain a foothold above 1.3200 but failed overnight. Further gains will be more gradual. Helping the EUR is the fact that short positions hit an all time high according to IMM data for last week. However, data releases are unlikely to provide much impetus to the EUR, with most attention on the monthly series of PMI manufacturing confidence indices as consumer confidence readings.

At best the data will show some stabilisation but market will focus instead on the EU Summit beginning today and ongoing Greek debt talks as well as Italian debt auctions today. Greek debt talks are expected to be finalised this week including writedowns of around 70% but tensions over a German proposal to create a “budget commissioner” could yet hit the EUR.

The major release of the week in the UK is the January PMI manufacturing survey although there will also be attention on housing data including mortgage approvals and house price surveys from the Nationwide and Halifax. Overall the data will do little to dispel fears about the UK economy following the contraction in Q4 GDP revealed last week.

GBP will likely remain resilient to any bad economic news however, but its gains look limited especially given the revelation in the BoE MPC minutes that some members thought that more quantitative easing will be required. Having strengthened against the USD but weakened against the EUR over recent days, GBP continues to trade in a middle of the road manner. GBP/USD sellers will likely emerge around the 1.5870 resistance level while EUR/GBP is set to consolidate around 0.8350.

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