The UK managed to reach another milestone in its bid to vaccinate citizens over the weekend, with 30 million people now inoculated with their first dose. It's hoped that non-essential retailers can reopen on April 12th, which should help to boost the economy, while the entire economy is expected to reopen on June 21st. After rumours of a vaccine supply shortage, the UK has enlisted a third vaccine, Moderna, to combat fewer supplies in April, having secured 17 million doses. Additionally, UK economic sentiment has been somewhat positive given some sectors have fared better this year than they had last, after having the opportunity to adapt to coronavirus pressures. Against other currency majors, the Pound to US Dollar exchange rate dipped below the 1.37 mark for the first time since the beginning of February, while struggling to maintain gains above 1.17 versus the Euro. In the week ahead, UK growth data will be released, as well as house price information and manufacturing statistics. The long weekend will also likely impact trade volumes this week.
The European coronavirus situation has seemingly worsened, with the potential to overwhelm the health system with another wave of cases. Germany seems to be faring particularly poorly, with case numbers reaching 100,000 per day. The Eurozone economic recovery is expected to lag behind other nations this year—Spain recently downgraded its growth forecasts—despite two new vaccine production facilities being approved in Germany and the Netherlands. In the week ahead, German labour market and inflation data will be released, while French inflation and Italian manufacturing stats will print elsewhere.
Comments from Fed speakers last week encouraged the US Dollar to strengthen against a host of other currency majors. Meanwhile, last week saw Joe Biden increase his vaccine ambitions to 200 million doses in his first 100 days as US President. While the UK has a rate of 47.5 doses per 100 people, the US isn't far behind, with 40 doses per 100. A swifter vaccination rate means a quicker reopening of the economy, which could bode well for currency sentiment. One of the highest influence data points will be released this week—Change in Non-Farm Payrolls—which is due out on Friday. The data is expected to show a bumper number of people found employment in March, around 633K, after 379k in February. Unemployment is expected to fall as a result.
AUD and NZD
Pound hits highs
Last week, the Pound hit its highest level since early December versus the Australian Dollar, while reaching its strongest level versus the New Zealand Dollar since late October. Australian Building Permits, Home Loans, Retail Sales, and Manufacturing data will all be released in the week ahead. Meanwhile, New Zealand will see the release of Building Permits data, which could provide some moderate influence to the Kiwi Dollar.
Growth data ahead
The Pound fell to its lowest level since the end of December against the Canadian Dollar last week. Markets digested a host of central bank meetings, and the US Dollar took some strength from positive comments from the Fed regarding economic growth, which drove the Loonie lower. In the week ahead, Canadian data will include wage figures, growth numbers, building stats, and the latest Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.