Currencies

German data fails to sink euro as US tariffs eyed

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The euro rose from a three-month low on Thursday as hopes of progress in China-U.S. trade talks lifted risk appetite towards major currencies across the board, with the British pound the only laggard before a parliamentary debate on Brexit.

Even economic data showing Germany's economy stalled in the fourth quarter of 2018 with Italy already in recession failed to pull the euro significantly lower in quiet trading.

"If we had a negative print on German growth that may have hit the euro but we need to await for more details on his strategy towards the European auto sector before pushing the euro higher," said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in London.

Market analysts fear that U.S. President Donald Trump could turn his attention to European imports after China and potentially impose tariffs on European automakers in the coming days.

The United States is the main export destination of European Union cars, well ahead of China, and the impact is significant especially for Germany, which has the biggest value added in exports of cars to the U.S.

Massive option expiries amounting to $1.2 billion around $1.13 were expected to keep the euro spot market in a tight range.

Risk appetite grew after China reported dollar-denominated exports rose 9.1 percent in January from a year earlier and imports dropped 1.5 percent.

The strong trade data fueled gains by the Chinese currency in the offshore market. The yuan gained 0.17 percent to 6.7711.

The , a barometer for global risk appetite, was up 0.23 percent at $0.7104 and on track for its best three-day rising streak so far this year.

Bloomberg reported President Donald Trump was considering pushing back by 60 days a March 1 deadline for resolving trade disputes with China, citing people familiar with the matter. On Wednesday, Trump had said the talks were "going along very well."

Elsewhere, German data showed its economy stalled in the final quarter of 2018, narrowly avoiding recession. But the numbers were in line with forecasts and weak eurozone GDP data for the quarter had already tempered expectations.

Broadly, the euro zone economy slowed as expected year-on-year in the last three months of 2018.

The euro was up 0.28 percent at $1.1297.

The pound fell 0.33 percent to $1.2801 before a parliamentary vote that could give investors a sense of which way a forthcoming vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's deal with Brussels will go.