Dealers will be listening carefully to ECB President Trichet’s words at the post-meeting press conference Thursday for clues over whether the Frenchman is indeed sowing the seeds for a second rate increase in July. And while he did adopt the “magic phrase” hinting that monetary tightening is around the corner, the euro slid in response with rate expectations actually softening during the statement. A lackluster employment report in Australia once again hindered investors’ appetite for the local dollar and vilified the Reserve Bank’s choice of words when it said policy was set appropriately.
Click on link for updated table throughout the day at http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/general/education/FX-View.php?ib_entity=llc
Euro – The ECB left its main interest rate at an unchanged 1.25% at today’s meeting of its governing council. While most onlookers had already ruled out the chance of a monetary tightening today, most onlookers expect Trichet to cast the spotlight on inflation by adopting the phrase “strong vigilance” as a precursor to the second rate increase in three months when it meets in July. The euro was consequently higher on Thursday although fell sharply post-conference as investors nevertheless reined in rate expectations. Short-dated euribor interest rate futures and German bunds advanced sending implied yields lower. The euro at one point reached $1.4646 before sliding to buy $1.4525.
U.S. Dollar – The dollar remains clear of its lowest price during the last two days on an index basis and is weaker by 0.2% on the day at 73.80. Interest rate expectations continue to decline as dealers push out the timing of any possible rate increase. And while that is supposed to be an albatross around the dollar’s neck, the staunch sailor is refusing to buckle in the face of economic adversity just yet. Initial jobless claims for the prior week were revised higher meaning last week’s 1,000 rise to 427,000 first-time claims for benefits was worse than expected and confirming that job seekers are wading through molasses to find work.
Japanese yen – The dollar recovered from a lazy midweek performance against the yen when it dipped beneath ¥80 for the first time since May 5, and on Thursday regrouped back north of the round number. Investors felt less urgency to hold the yen following fresh data showing both indices of the economic watcher survey were far stronger than forecast. The current reading of the economic picture rose to 36.0 from a prior reading of 28.3 while the outlook index rose to 44.9 from 38.4.
British pound – An unchanged stance from the Bank of England on Thursday was as analysts had expected ahead of the two-day meeting. The pound earlier rose to $1.6465 against the dollar following a weaker than predicted trade deficit although dealers later sent the unit back to unchanged on the day at $1.6400.
Aussie dollar – An unchanged unemployment rate of 4.9% was in-line with expectations but the net addition of 7,800 jobs during May was well short of the predicted 25,400 employment gain. The April report was also revised lower leaving the most recent two reports short by a net 24,900. The data justified the RBA’s decision to leave policy unchanged earlier in the week with its short-rate sticking at 4.75% and also helps justify a subtle yet important shift of emphasis away from inflation and more towards challenges outside of the mining and energy sectors. The Aussie weakened to $1.0587 U.S. cents Thursday following the data.
Canadian dollar – Net trade swung to a deficit during April as did revised data for March highlighting the slowdown in demand for Canada’s export offering. New home prices rose by a little more than expected and although the data might have become lost in the melee following the ECB’s press conference, the Canadian dollar made headway despite a wider boost for the greenback. The Canadian dollar recently bought $1.0221 U.S. cents.
Andrew Wilkinson is a Senior Market Analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for informational purposes only and is based upon information that is considered to be reliable. However, neither Interactive Brokers LLC nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither IB nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.