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Here is what you need to know on Friday, December 18:

The American dollar was the biggest loser on Thursday, falling to fresh multi-year lows against most major rivals. Speculative interest kept pricing in an upcoming stimulus package in the US and a Brexit trade deal, despite no progress was reported on any of both.

Regarding Brexit,  EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier was reported saying that a deal can be achieved by Friday. Later in the day, hopes cooled after PM Boris Johnson’s spokesman said that the most likely outcome would be a deal on WTO terms. British Cabinet Minister Michael Gove repeated the comment and added that there still are significant differences in some areas. He also said that trade talks might go on until after Christmas. Barnier will brief EU’s member states early Friday.

Tepid US data fueled the dollar’s decline during the American session.  Initial Jobless Claims for the week ended December 11 jumped to 885K, worse than anticipated. The December Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey contracted to 11.1 from 26.3. On a positive note, Housing starts were up in November by 1.2%, while Building Permits increased by 6.2%

The Bank of England had a monetary policy meeting, but it was a non-event, as it maintained the status quo. Same could be expected from the Bank of Japan that meets early Friday.

Gold reached a December high of $1,896.20 a troy ounce, ending the day with solid gains around 1,885.00. Crude oil prices consolidated gains and settled at $48.50 a barrel.

Bitcoin price vertical blow-offs cannot be sustained, says trading veteran Peter Brandt