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Not for the first time, the single currency is waiting for a European summit to offer renewed hope and some light at the end of the tunnel.   As the past few weeks have shown, the ability of supposedly supportive events to prop up the single currency is getting ever weaker.  

At present, the expectations for the summit at the end of this week are fairly limited, some formalisation of the growth compact pushed by France (and others), together with some noises around a banking union. But both are likely to be lacking the details or the belief that they will make a material difference to the fortunes of the eurozone in the near future.

Guest post by Forex Broker FxPro


Euro flat-lined Friday. After Thursday’s volatility, EUR/USD flat-lined for most of Friday, the biggest blip caused by the ECB’s change in collateral rules.   This further relaxed the requirements that the ECB sets for securities offered in return for money in its liquidity-providing operations.   The blip higher on the back of this was soon sold though. The single currency enters the start of the European session softer, having initially broken through support around the 1.2515 area.

BRIC wall.   The currencies of the main emerging nations were on the back-foot towards the end of last week.   India saw its currency reach a new record low vs. the dollar, with weekly data showing further outflows from the domestic equity market. The Brazilian real also suffered, with stronger inflation data pressuring the currency. Inflation is running at around 5% in Brazil, so real interest rates remain comfortably positive, with the policy rate at 8.50%. This has not helped the currency though, the real being the weakest of the main emerging-market currencies since the beginning of March, down nearly 17% against the dollar. Although at 13%, it is at a record low vs. the dollar, the fall in the rupee over the same period has not been quite as steep. Meanwhile, the Russian ruble is not far behind the real in the weakening seen over the same period. Recent softness can be aligned to the decline in the oil price, the correlation of the ruble to the oil price having increased for most of the year to date (currently -0.62 for USD/RUB vs. oil).   The BRIC economies grew more than 25% between 2008 and 2010 during a time when the G3 economies stood still. Despite the currency weakness, it’s unlikely that this level of de-coupling will be seen again, should the US and European slowdown turn out to be more sustained.

US new home sales crawling out the hole. The pace at which new home sales are recovering in the US remains glacial compared to the more than 75% decline seen peak to through (2005 – 2010).   This is not a surprise, given the still anaemic conditions in the mortgage market and the renewed softness being seen in the labour market as a whole.   But with house prices having been falling for nearly two years now on an annual basis, there remains a reluctance to invest in new housing which is likely to remain in place for some time to come.   Offsetting this has been the further fall in mortgage rates, which is why home sales are still seen rising modestly in the May data released today, even after the 3.3% gain seen in April.