Overnight, the euro initially rose against the dollar after better-than-expected GDP prints out of Germany and France, but lost ground after a weak ZEW survey and a much stronger-than-anticipated US July retail sales report.
As expected, overall eurozone GDP contracted by 0.2%, dragged down by negative growth in Spain and Italy, but Germany’s 0.3% quarterly growth (versus 0.2 consensus) and France’s flat growth (versus -0.1% decline) provided some cheer that Europe’s core was holding firm.
The euro initially rallied on this news touching a high of 1.2386, but fell after the German ZEW survey economic sentiment index fell to -25.5 (consensus was for -19.3) in August from -19.6 in July. The euro continued to pull back from session highs after July US retail sales growth was reported at 0.8%, well in excess of the 0.3% the market had expected. This had an immediate impact across all asset classes. US treasuries fell with the 10-year bond yield, moving back above 1.7%, the USD index strengthened pushing risk currencies such as the pound, the euro and the Aussie lower, while gold also slipped from US$1610 to just below $1600.
Immediately questions were being asked whether this data (on top of August’s improved jobs report) would see the Fed backing away from further quantitative easing. The currency markets seem to suggest so. Having ended yesterday’s Australian session around the 1.2360 level, the euro touched a high of 1.2386, before ending US trade at 1.2322. Upon reopening for Asian trade, the euro is essentially unchanged.