USD - The greenback consolidated within its recent ranges overnight with the dollar index reaching its strongest levels in two years. Stocks and commodities are marginally higher, extending yesterday's late-day gains on increased hopes that European leaders will come together in an effort to backstop the region's fledgling economies. While this has eased some of the recent safe-haven demand for the dollar, risks remain elevated in the near term. Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims ticked lower to 370k, and durable goods orders registered in line with expectations at +0.2%. However, with the volatile transportation segment stripped out, orders for goods meant to last three or more years unexpectedly fell by 0.6% after last month's 0.8% contraction. While the drop in orders surely reflects a slowing global economy, US policymakers still appear confident that the domestic economy will weather the storm without further assistance, at least in the near term. Fed member Dudley told reporters this morning that if we continue to see improvement in the economy, in terms of using up the slack in available resources, then I think it's hard to argue that we absolutely must do something more in terms of the monetary policy front. The New York Fed Chief, who holds a permanent voting position on the FOMC, has changed his tone from a much more dovish stance voiced in previous years. What's changed...is that I'm a little more confident that the economy's going to keep growing.
EUR - The euro is within its recent ranges this morning after falling to a fresh 22-month low against the dollar in overnight trading. Much attention had been paid to the informal EU summit held in Brussels yesterday, but as expected, no major changes in policies were made. The common currency neared the key 1.25 handle against the USD as rumors arose that a Greek departure from the Eurozone could be imminent. However, the story later broke that an exit was not impending, but rather the EU finance ministers were being asked to consider perpetrations for such a departure, only slightly better news than the rumors. The majority of the summit appears to have been focused on the joint issuance of bonds with strong support coming from French President Hollande while the German contingency is in strong opposition to the notion. It appears that the ECB is not too keen on the idea either with Bank member Asmussen telling reporters that joint Eurobonds should not be a tool used to fight the present crisis.
GBP - Sterling is nearly flat this morning against both the USD and EUR after trading through a rather volatile overnight session. After declining for much of the week against the dollar, a rebound was to be expected, but the outlook for the pound remains rather negative. This morning, BoE member David Miles justified the Bank's loose monetary policy, saying that the existence of substantial slack and a high degree of dependence on productive potential upon demand are all uncertain...making an exceptionally expansionary monetary policy appropriate. However, the BoE left its policies unchanged at its last meeting with an apparent shift in focus towards taming inflation. However, it appears that further QE is not out of the question as Miles stated the recent non-action does not mean bringing inflation back to target very rapidly is the best thing to do.
JPY - The yen remains towards the top of its recent ranges this morning despite the early gains in stocks and commodities. The BoJ released its monthly economic assessment today and while the slowdown in Europe and China in particular are all weighing on the Japanese economy, it is doing better than twelve months ago.
Commodity Currencies - The commodity currencies are mixed this morning with both the CAD and MXN falling after the mixed data out of the US while the AUD and NZD gain. Raw goods are generally higher, with oil rising to $91/bbl, gold gaining to $1569/oz, and copper reaching $345/lb. The CAD remains under pressure as the disappointing numbers out of the US - the main destination for Canadian exports - weigh on demand for riskier assets. Similarly, the MXN is towards the bottom of its recent ranges, but after the Mexican central bank bought pesos for the first time in three years yesterday, further weakness may be limited. The AUD and NZD both pared recent losses as investors speculate that both South Pacific currencies are oversold. The NZD gained the most against the USD overnight after New Zealand posted a wider trade surplus in April as demand for exports was higher than expected.