Safe-haven currencies rally as Trump cancels North Korea summit

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25 May 2018


The US Dollar fell against the safe-haven Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc on Thursday, after President Trump cancelled his long-awaited summit with North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un.

n an open letter, Donald Trump, claimed that he would now not be attending the summit, scheduled for 12 June, due to ‘tremendous anger and open hostility displayed’ in the Korean leader’s most recent statement. This proved a fairly major blow to risk assets, with investors fleeing to the relative safety of lower yielding currencies and gold, as is customary during times of uncertainty. The decision came only a matter of hours after the news that North Korea claimed to have destroyed a number of nuclear weapons testing sites.

The Euro was able to eke out some gains against the US Dollar, which was broadly weaker against most currencies, with the notable exceptions of the Turkish Lira and South Korean Won, the latter of which sold-off on the news of the cancelled summit. Yesterday’s meeting accounts from the European Central Bank was mostly a non-event. The minutes mainly reiterated comments from Draghi out of the May meeting, stating that there was confidence that inflation would rise towards target and that risks to growth remained broadly balanced.

The main focal point of currency trading today will be a number of speeches from Federal Reserve members, including Chair, Powell, at 14:20pm BST. US Durable goods orders data will follow, and could also shift the greenback if it surprises consensus.

Pound gives back gains, despite solid retail sales figures

Sterling failed to notch any meaningful gains for the day, ending London trading more-or-less where it began. The UK currency briefly edged back above the 1.34 level against the US Dollar after retail sales data beat expectations. Sales in UK retail stores rose by a much better-than-expected 1.6% in April versus the 0.7% consensus, one of the few bright spots in a very bleak few weeks that has caused investors to fret about the overall health of the UK economy. Yet, with investors still wary of another soft reading from this morning’s revised GDP figures, gains for the Pound proved short lived.

MPC member Dave Ramsden, spoke yesterday, noting that he also thought the slowdown in the UK economy in the first quarter of the year was likely temporary. Governor Carney, is scheduled to speak this afternoon.