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Traders in wait and see mode ahead of weekend UK/EU meetings.

By Alex Edwards

GBP/USD was fairly steady for the most part yesterday as investors and traders remain in ‘wait and see’ mode. Theresa May made her way to Brussels shortly after PMQs and following a two-hour meeting with EU officials, said that progress was being made and that she would be returning on Saturday to continue the discussion, this ahead of Sunday’s much anticipated EU Summit.

With this in mind, it being a US public holiday, and calls for a leadership challenge starting to dissipate, we could be in for more of the same in the run up to the weekend i.e. a steady/quiet range in GBP/USD. Furthermore, there are no UK economic data releases due today.

We witnessed a bit of an improvement in risk sentiment yesterday, and with it the dollar weakened slightly. US headline core durable goods orders printed weaker than expected, further evidence of softer business investment, which didn’t do the greenback many favours either. Initial jobless claims also trended higher, while existing home sales rose for the first time in 7 months.

US stocks generally performed well, though, so the news from the US wasn’t all negative. Overall, moves in the dollar were muted as US traders eyed a long weekend, or at least a day of for Thanksgiving today. In this respect, it could well be a quiet day in FX.

There was less volatility in the euro yesterday, much like many other major currency pairs. This came despite news that the European Commission had rejected Italy’s revised budget and that the EC was considering disciplinary actions against the country for excessive debt.

However, this morning’s reports suggests that a budget agreement can be reached, at least according to comments by budget commissioner Pierre Moscovici, which is helping to calm a few nerves. With this, EUR/USD has made a 30 point gain overnight and into this morning and opens in London at 1.1405.

The Australian dollar managed to recoup some losses from Tuesday and clawed back towards the .3 big figure on Wednesday. With a recovery in US equities, a weaker greenback and a jump in European stocks, the aussie bounced from a low of 0.7202 to touch an eventual high of 0.7277 during the New York session.

There’s no Australian economic data due between now and the end of the week and with it being a public holiday in the US it could be a quiet next couple of days for AUD/USD.

The Canadian dollar crept higher throughout trade on Wednesday, recouping some of the weeks earlier loses as oil prices rebounded. Investors shrugged aside softer than expected wholesale sales data, instead focusing on the broader improvement in risk sentiment.

Risk appetite and oil continue to drive broader CAD direction and perhaps underline its depreciation through the last 6 weeks. As we look to the November 30 G20 summit for a possible US/China détente, long term hostilities will likely carry into the new year and continue to weigh on broader sentiment and commodity driven currencies.

With CAD trading at close to 5 month lows, our attentions remain fixed to fluctuating oil prices and shifting risk trends, while retail sales, inflation data and the National Budget will likely provide more colour into the end of the week.

NZD/USD lost ground overnight, this after riding a wave of improving risk appetite through the London/New York session on Wednesday. There was no stand-alone reason for the move lower, but it seems traders were keen to square up some of their positions ahead of the US holiday. There’s also been a bit of a decline in NZ short term yields overnight, which has no doubt weighed on the bird.