Volatility in oil prices and a shockingly bad unemployment report in the United States kept risk appetite at bay, limiting gains in the British pound and reigniting some demand for the franc as a haven.
It has been a strong week of gains with the currency pair hitting a new monthly high on Thursday on hopes that the UK might extend its Brexit transition period and as traders shifted out of the euro for fears over the lack of a coherent fiscal response.
GBP/CHF was down by 80 pips (-0.67%) to 1.1987 with a daily range of 1.1963 to 1.2087 as of 4pm GMT.
After coming shy of 1.21 in early hours, the currency pair fell back under 1.20 on Friday, leaving the week-to-date gain at a reasonable +1.11%.
Pound gives up some weekly gains as Boris Johnson remains in isolation
The huge volatility in the oil price, which saw the biggest daily gain on record on Thursday for WTI and Brent crude contracts, has weighed on risk appetite and on demand for pounds.
News that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will remain in isolation added to the downside in the pound on Friday. Johnson still has a fever but says he is recovering well with other symptoms seemingly gone.
The Swiss franc caught some haven flows on Friday amid the monthly job figures from the United States. The data confirmed what market participants had already known -that the record one hundred-month plus stretch of jobs growth in the US had ended.
The non-farm payroll figure for March swung from average monthly gains in the region of +200,000 to a monthly loss of -701,000. The figure was even worse than expected because the data was collected in the first half of the month so it was thought the bulk of the job losses would be in the tail end of the month as States began mandatory lockdown measures. It implies next month’s will be even worse than feared.