Last week FX markets were held in a holding pattern as overarching themes failed to deliver any further clarity. President Trump continues to challenge the result of the election and hinder President Elect Biden’s transition to power. This continues to drag on but is having very little impact on the FX market. In the meantime, the US Dollar made gains on a risk aversion move as new COVID cases in the nation escalated to a new record high of almost 200,000 in a single day. The escalation forced New York to close its schools.

There has been positive news surrounding a COVID vaccine; Pfizer upgraded its assessment of the effectiveness of its vaccine to 95%, almost matching the Moderna product, while the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine also reported promising results in phase-two trials. However, question marks remain about the timing of both the vaccines being signed off and the subsequent roll out.

Sterling continued to trade within its ranges and fluctuated on UK/EU trade talk  developments. News remains mixed, depending on what news source you decide to read. There were source reports that a Brexit trade deal could be reached by early as this week, although there was still a high degree of uncertainty around the outlook.

However, reports from the EU suggested that several members had asked to European Commission (EC) to publish it’s “no deal” contingency measures as difficulties remain. On Thursday, Brexit trade talks had been halted due to a positive Coronavirus case for one of EU Chief Negotiator Barnier’s team.

Looking forward to the week ahead, economic data is likely to remain on the side-lines COVID headlines, UK /EU trade talks and US Thanksgiving. Markets will once again keep a close eye out for a new trade deal between the EU/UK, with time running short before the end of the transition period on 31st December. US Thanksgiving on Thursday means all economic data releases and events are squeezed into the first three days of the week. In the meantime, COVID developments and vaccines will monitored for signs of hope.

Sterling has nudged higher this morning as it has been stated that the UK/EU trade agreement is 95% complete and the US Dollar is on the backfoot after US officials said vaccinations may start in less than three weeks.

Monday

  • UK/EZ/US PMI Manufacturing
  • UK/EZ/US PMI Service

Data set for release today includes manufacturing and service sector data. These figures measure economic activity and whether we see growth or contraction in the sector. Given lockdown and increasingly restrictive measures being put into place several of these indicators are expected to show contraction or a slowing in the pace of expansion.

Tuesday

  • GER IFO Survey
  • UK CBI Realised Sales
  • US Consumer confidence

German IFO is a composite index based on surveyed manufacturers, builders, wholesalers, services, and retailers, this is measured on the current climate and expectations (6 months). Given the current situation and the more recent news of a vaccination, the expectations could be watched closely. In the meantime, consumer data will be monitored.

Wednesday

  • UK budget review
  • US GDP
  • US Durable Goods
  • FOMC Meeting minutes

The Chancellor will provide a one-year Spending Review, together with updated economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The fact that the Spending Review will cover only 2021/22 rather than the usual three or four years is testament to the high levels of uncertainty about the economic outlook.  Given that it is Thanksgiving tomorrow, the economic docket is crammed with US data. The FOMC meeting minutes will be closely monitored for clues on future policy.

Thursday

  • US Thanksgiving

It is likely to be a quieter day in the financial markets as the US celebrate Thanksgiving. This normally results in a 4-day weekend for the majority of the US.

Friday

  • UK Nationwide House Price Index
  • French GDP
  • Black Friday Sales

Following US Thanksgiving we have Black Friday sales that tend to dominate headlines. Retail a has big focus on this day. The story goes after an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise. In the meantime, UK house prices and French GDP are also released.

November FX forecast

Read our Monthly FX Forecast for a longer-term view of currency movement.

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