Overall, the market lacked any real momentum, and traded mostly side-ways during the Asian session and the early European trading hours. The only exceptions were the aussie and the yen, which saw a short-lived period of volatility during the Asian session. However, the market started to build momentum during the European session, as a number of releases from the Euro-area and the U.K. fueled expectations that the global economy may be bottoming. The dollar was sold during the European session, as the market prepares for the NFP release.
The Euro (Eur/Usd) struggled to move during the early part of the day, but saw momentum build during the European trading hours. On Thursday, the euro strengthened more than 200 pips as the ECB cut interest rates 25 basis points, even though the market expected a 50 basis point cut.
The service side of the economy in the Euro-area has been in contraction for the last nine months according to the latest PMI release. The released number of 40.9 is among the lowest read on record, as the economy is struggling to show any signs of growth amid the global slowdown. In February German import prices fell by 0.1%, extending the record pace of declines set over the last few months. From February 2008 the index is down by 6.4%, the biggest YoY decline since 1999.
The Pound (Gbp/Usd) also traded on very weak momentum during the Asian session, but was helped by better than expected economic news reports during the European session. Currently, the pound is trading near the highest value since February.
The U.K. Service PMI beat analysts’ expectations for a fourth consecutive month. However, the release still shows the service side of the economy has contracted for more than eleven consecutive months, but things are starting to look better. In March, house prices continued to tumble in the U.K. by 1.9%. From one year ago, U.K. house prices have fallen by 17.5%, down to the same level as in 2004.
The Aussie (Aud/Usd) made a new high for the last four months of trading during the Asian session, but soon after, the pair came down to a standstill. During the European session, the aussie started to head higher, once again, as traders began to sell the dollar.
The Australian AIG services sector activity declined again during the month, although the rate of decline has eased slightly. The index rose by 3.4 points to a 35.6. This is the twelfth consecutive reading below the crucial 50 level which denotes contraction for the country
The Cad (Usd/Cad) traded within the same range as in the late U.S. session, during the overnight session. As the pair headed higher, the pair the 100-day moving average provided resistance, while on the downside the low reached on Thursday acted as a support line.
The Swissy (Usd/Chf) only moved side-ways during the overnight session, unable to develop decent momentum. The swissy rose up to the neutral pivot point (1.1375) and at the same time near the high of the last U.S. session, but the move was easily rejected.
The Swiss CPI continued to decline in March. The released number of -0.3% is lower than the forecasted rate of 0.0%, while the year-over-year read fell to -0.4%. Inflation is set to continue its decline even more in the coming months, as the huge drop in energy prices and the lower demand should dampen price increases
The Yen (Usd/Yen) reached the highest value since November during the Asian session, as the pair extended the gains from the last few days and rose another 50 pips. However, the moves were retraced during the latter stages of the Asian session. After the London open, the yen started to move higher again.