Market Overview

Euro retreats after early gains; Swedish crown falls after Riksbank QE expansion

The euro retreated on Thursday after briefly hitting a near three-month high against the dollar as concerns about rising coronavirus cases in Europe grew. The dollar had earlier been on the defensive on downbeat U.S. economic data and optimism about coronavirus vaccines, but later in the session riskier currencies found it hard to maintain gains as key near-term uncertainties held back directional trades.

Germans will face restrictions on public life for the foreseeable future as the country tries to suppress the spread of the coronavirus and prevent its health system becoming overburdened, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

The Swedish crown fell against both the euro and the dollar after Riksbank, the Swedish central bank, expanded its quantitative easing programme. Pressure had mounted on the U.S. currency earlier in the session also after Federal Reserve minutes on Wednesday signalled the central bank is likely to strengthen its quantitative easing programme at the next meeting in December.

Although a few Fed policymakers were hesitant to make near-term changes to the guidance, “many participants judged that the Committee might want to enhance its guidance for asset purchases fairly soon”.

Euro/dollar was last trading down 0.2% at $1.1895 after rising to $1.1941, its highest since Sept. 1. An index which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies was up 0.1% at 92.12, though earlier it had hit a near three-month low of 91.84

The Swedish crown was down 0.6% against the dollar at 8.5380 and 0.4% against the euro at 10.1585.

Sweden’s central bank said it would expand and extend its asset purchase programme to support the economy through a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic as it kept its benchmark rate on hold at 0% as expected.

Market watchers were wondering whether the European Central Bank will take a cue from the Riksbank and follow suit with its own QE programme.

The ECB’s chief economist said on Thursday that tolerating “a longer phase of even lower inflation” would hurt consumption and investment as well as cementing expectations for low price growth in the future.

The Norwegian crown was also down 0.5% at 8.8855 against the U.S. dollar, after rising earlier to a three-month high of 8.8160, and fell by the same extent against the euro to 10.5685.

The Australian dollar was down 0.1% at 0.7358, though earlier it rose to a near three-month high of 0.7374, and the Canadian dollar was neutral at 1.3007 against the U.S. dollar.

Sterling fell 0.4% to $1.3328 after rising to a three-month high of $1.3399, and was also down by 0.3% against the euro at 89.26 pence.

Euro retreats after early gains; Swedish crown falls after Riksbank QE expansion, Reuters, Nov 26

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