The euro-dollar parity evolved in two phases last week: August 29th – September 2nd. On Monday, the euro appreciated, driven by the return of investor risk appetite and US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech, which left the door open to a QE3, which could lead to the weakening of the dollar.
Later in the week, the euro slipped gradually vis-a-vis the greenback in spite of disappointing US statistics most likely because of disappointing European job figures.
Fears of a worsening of the European sovereign debt crisis persisted last week. Greece’s growing difficulties to meet its budgetary obligations has penalized Spain and Italy, who are struggling to find their way on the bond market.
Spain has hardly raised 3.621 billion of Euros of 5-year bonds. The coverage ratio (ability to meet its obligations satisfactorily) was only 1.8, against 2.9 during a similar period in early July.
The Swiss franc, a safe haven since April 2011, increased in value again this week after a few sessions of respite. Nevertheless, the Swissy slightly lost value on Friday.
In Japan, the new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, came into office last week and will face the effects of a very strong yen. However, the Bank of Japan’s exceptional announcements last week seem to have had a positive impact on the Japanese currency.
After having lost value on Monday, gold has resumed its upward rush. In particular on Friday, when the disappointing US employment figures pushed gold higher than $1880. Gold, more than ever, remains a safe haven and the current market volatility is only reinforcing that role.
– Disappointing Nonfarm payrolls release on Friday underlined current volatility of markets.