EUR bounces, GBP gains limited

Eurozone stress, particularly in Spain continues to act as a weight on market sentiment, with equity markets ignoring a relatively strong US retail sales report. My risk barometer remains at elevated levels and is unlikely to ease anytime soon, suggesting that a cautious tone towards risk assets remains warranted.

Mixed US data releases (firm retail sales but weak Empire Manufacturing) did little to help the USD overnight but the EUR managed to register gains despite ongoing Spanish worries. Fitch ratings stating that Italy’s austerity measures were credible and Moody’s noting that there would not be an imminent change in its ratings outlook for France may have helped the EUR which rose solidly from lows just below 1.30 versus USD.

I continue to see plenty of support for EUR/USD around this level. A heavy data slate today will give further direction but the news will not be so positive out of the Eurozone, with a small drop in the German April ZEW survey expected. Meanwhile, a subdued reading for US housing starts and small increase in industrial production will do little to perk the USD up.

There are plenty of data releases in the UK for markets to get their teeth into including inflation data today, Bank of England minutes tomorrow and March retail sales on Friday. Ahead of the data releases GBP continues to trade with a positive bias against the EUR but has failed to extend gains against the USD.

I do not expect the data to result in a significant change in GBP’s tone, with the MPC minutes in particular likely to reveal a divided view on the need for more quantitative easing. Although we look for a rebound in retail sales in March overall spending is only growing modestly.

After predicting the latest drop EUR/GBP my quantitative model reveals that there is limited scope for further gains in GBP versus EUR over the short term. I had also anticipated gains in GBP versus AUD but there is now limited room for further GBP upside.

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