Disappointing Eurozone service sector and manufacturing purchasing managers’ confidence indices as well as a contraction in Chinese manufacturing confidence sets the scene for a drop in risk assets. In addition in the US, existing home sales rose less than expected taking into account revisions to previous data.
Meanwhile scepticism over Greece’s ability to implement agreed upon reforms and reported resistance from Germany to increasing the firewall around peripheral Eurozone countries has delivered a further dose of negativity to markets. The market was probably looking for an excuse to sell after a strong rally and found plenty in yesterday’s news.
GBP has followed on the coat tails of the EUR over recent weeks, with the currency showing little independent direction. Reflecting this is the fact that EUR/GBP had until recently been trapped in a 0.83-0.84 range. As with the EUR I see downside risks to GBP over the short term against the USD.
Against the EUR, GBP will largely track the movement in yield differentials as it has done over recent months. Relatively dovish MPC minutes, with two members voting for bigger amounts of quantitative easing helped to put GBP under further pressure but the move higher in EUR/GBP look overdone.
My medium term view continues to show GBP appreciation versus EUR and current levels highlight a good opportunity to go short EUR/GBP. Markets are rewarding central banks that are proactive in their policy prescriptions. I exect this to result in some GBP resilience even if the BoE announces more QE.
EUR/CHF has continued to hug the 1.2000 line in the sand enforced by the Swiss National Bank. Ongoing Eurozone doubts even after the agreement of a second bailout for Greece mean that the CHF remains a favoured destination for European money. This is reflected by the fact that EUR/CHF has been highly correlated with Risk Aversion over the past 3-months.
It will take also take a relative rise in German yields versus Swiss yields for EUR/CHF to move higher. This is certainly viable given the deterioration in Swiss economic data over recent months. Indeed, as reflected in the KoF Swiss leading indicator and manufacturing PMI data, the economy is heading downwards. Assuming that there will be an eventual improvement in risk appetite, CHF will weaken given the strong correlation between EUR/CHF and risk aversion over the past 3-months.