The dollar was broadly higher against the G10 currencies except for the Japanese yen amid a wave of risk aversion. Political disruptions in Europe, specifically in Greece, were in focus today as there was a lack of economic data. Concerns that Greece will be unable to form a government resulted in increased uncertainty that the nation will adhere to the strict austerity measures required to continue to receive aid from the troika. The New Democracy (ND) was unable to form a coalition and the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is now tasked to do so. Earlier this morning SYRIZA leader Tsipras said that pro-bailout parties no longer have a majority and that Greeks have voted against the bailout. Failure by the SYRIZA to form a government would give PASOK an opportunity to form one which is highly unlikely. The result may be a new election next month and speculation of Greece exiting the euro zone is mounting. Contagion risk is high and EU sovereign yield spreads were broadly higher.
Sentiment deteriorated as evident by a decline in equities and treasury yields as traders shifted out of risk and into safety. The DJIA finished in the red but was well of the lows of the session with a decline of -0.59% and the S&P 500 finished the day lower by about -0.43%. UST yields are lower across the curve and the 10-year yields have shed about -2.8bps to nearly 1.84%.
Commodities took a hit after breaking through key technical levels. Gold (XAU/USD) broke below a long term bullish trendline which dates back to late 2008. The yellow metal declined -1.95% at time of writing and is nearing the 1600 level. Silver is currently lower by -1.95% also and oil remains below the key 100 figure and is down about -0.54%.
The Canadian dollar outperformed the commodity currencies as economic data came out better than expected and as relative central bank policy expectations continued to be a supporting factor. April housing starts in Canada unexpectedly rose to 244.9k from the prior 214.8k (cons. 204.0k). USD/CAD rose above parity briefly and corrected lower ahead of key horizontal resistance and the 200-day SMA around the 1.0050 level.
There is relatively light data flow due out of the Asia/Pacific session tonight with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Financial stability report due out shortly. In Japan, the March leading and coincident indexes are due as well as April official reserve asset figures.