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Things started on a positive note for the euro after markets returned on Tuesday from the long New Year weekend. The finalised manufacturing PMIs for December confirmed that the industry was expanding at the fastest rate ever recorded during the more-than two decades Markit has been collecting data.
Strong labour market data from Germany further supported the euro on Wednesday, showing a better-than-expected drop in joblessness of -29,000, when economists had only expected a fall of -13,000. This also brought November’s unemployment claims rate down to 5.5%.
The positive data just kept on coming on Friday, when PMIs showed the Eurozone’s services sector was expanding at its best rate in nearly seven years, pointing to 0.8% GDP growth in the fourth quarter 2016 the currency bloc.
However, all this strong data was not enough to provide long-term support for the euro, meaning the GBP/EUR and GBP/USD exchange rates closed on Friday much closer to the week’s lowest levels than to its highest.
There’s plenty on the Eurozone data calendar tomorrow to cause euro exchange rates to fluctuate, including German industrial production and trade balance figures, as well as the Eurozone unemployment rate, all covering November.
Thursday is the next and final day to contain any data releases. It promises to be a volatile end to the week, given that Germany’s annual GDP figure for 2017 will be released in the morning and the minutes from the European Central Bank’s (ECB) most recent monetary policy meeting will be published shortly after midday.
Should the minutes reveal that the Governing Council believes the Eurozone is moving away from the need for such loose economic stimulus, the euro could rise sharply.
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