Tag Archives: US Dollar

On Your Marks, Get Set, Manipulate

The G20 followed a similar line over the weekend to the one that was adopted by the G7 earlier last week, as finance ministers of the world’s largest economies commented in a joint statement: “We will refrain from competitive devaluation. We will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes”. The fact that the statement was of a rather generic nature, and importantly didn’t specifically refer to Japan, has effectively given Japan the green light to continue its unofficial policy of Yen depreciation, and has potentially opened the door for other countries to follow suit. This lead to the Yen dropping against the Dollar yet again this morning as USD/JPY hit 94.21, nearing the low it reached on February 11th of 94.46, its lowest level in over two and half years.

Some ministers have begun to comment on the potential for ‘currency wars’ in recent weeks as countries actively pursue a weaker currency. However, Japan has reaffirmed today that its monetary easing policies are specifically targeted at ending deflation rather than purposefully trying to devalue the Yen in order to improve the countries global competitiveness, though currency devaluation coincidentally will be an inevitable side effect of such policies. However leading economist, and Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman, notes that the currency war issue is “a misconception and it would be a very bad thing if policy makers take it seriously”, and that “the stuff that’s now being called “currency wars” is almost surely a net plus for the world economy”.

Sterling is not fairing any better this morning following the G20 meeting as GBP/EUR is currently trading at 1.1585, having slightly rebounded from a daily low of 1.1562. Similarly Cable has also rebounded from a seven month low of 1.5437 this morning and is currently trading at 1.5470. Whilst the Pounds decline has made imports more expensive over the last month, BoE Monetary Policy Committee member Martin Weale commented last week that the weakening Pound would help improve Britain’s export prospects.

It is Presidents day in the US today, a Public holiday which means trading volumes will be lower and the economic calendar if rather light. However, this afternoon ECB president Mario Draghi will be making a speech. Market participants will be keen to see whether Mr Draghi will make any reference to a potential future interest rate cut. Such a move, which could well happen within the next few months as looser monetary policies have now seemingly been tacitly warranted by the G20, would help Sterling recover some of its recent losses against the common currency.

Mark Webster

Currency Update

Positive UK data released this morning fuelled a moderate rally in the Pound, albeit a very short lived one. UK Markit Services PMI showed a substantial rise to 51.5 in January and caused Cable to spike upwards immediately following the release before dropping back off to where it is now, trading flat for the day at 1.5750. Similarly GBP/EUR rose slightly following the UK PMI figures, however the pair has now weakened and Sterling’s decline has seemingly resumed, with the pair now trading at 1.1630.

The Euro has strengthened against both the Pound and the Dollar this morning following the release of PMI figures. Whilst UK PMI data showed a positive increase, Markit Services PMI results for Spain, Germany and the Euro Zone were also positive. However, this data was soon contradicted by EU Retail Sales figures which showed sales were down -3.4% in December. As market participants digest the figures, it would appear that they have not yet decided that Sterling is oversold or the Euro has appreciated too far. However, one must recall the comments made several weeks ago by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who stated that the Euro is ‘dangerously high’ – if that observation was correct then, the Euro must now be in an extremely precarious situation.

Elsewhere this morning we saw the Reserve Bank of Australia commit to keeping interest rates at 3.0%. The Aussie Dollar dropped off against Sterling and the Greenback following the data release as RBA Governor Glenn Stevens gave an explicit indication that rates could well go lower in the future. Despite these comments, the outlook for the Australian economy would appear to be consistently improving as China’s rebounding growth continues to be confirmed. This morning the HSBC China Services PMI hit 54.0, up from 51.7 the previous month. GBPAUD currently trades at 1.5140.

How Low Can You Go

Sterling hasn’t seen a week as bad as last week for a long, long time and the outlook doesn’t look any rosier either. Cable (GBP/USD) recorded a new six month low on Monday after dropping to 1.5674, and GBP/EUR has continued to fall, hitting a new twelve month low yesterday at 1.1618. Sterling is continuing to suffer following a number of negative data releases last week. All in the same week we saw substantially weaker than expected UK GDP figures of -0.3%, fears of a triple dip recession, and David Cameron confirming his commitment to a referendum on Britain’s membership within the EU, all of which contributed to increasing uncertainty surrounding the UK economy and therefore a weaker pound.

Sterling has suffered right across the board recently, weakening against all major currencies last week. However, the pound has suffered the most against the Euro as weak UK data combined with the ever improving sentiment regarding the condition of the Eurozone and Europe as a whole (mainly because of data confirming that Germany is still an economic powerhouse) has sent GBP/EUR into free-fall. The pair fell to, and held at, a key level of support of 1.1722 on Friday before breaking this level on Monday. The pairs decline has continued throughout this week and a new twelve month low was reached on Thursday, before the pair recovered slightly to its current level of 1.1650.

Cable has fared slightly better in the past few days after a similarly horrific drop last week and early this week. The pair is currently trading at 1.5790 after hitting a key level of support, and a six month low, of 1.5674 on Monday before bouncing back up. GBP/USD is likely to target the next key level of resistance at 1.5911, however should momentum turn back to the downside, we could well see the pair drop back off to below 1.5675.

We could see significant movement in the markets tomorrow as economic data will be released in China in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Chinese Manufacturing PMI figures could increase volatility due to the emphasis that is placed on the Chinese economy’s role in the global recovery. Tomorrow is also everybody’s favourite Friday of the month – Nonfarm Friday. US Nonfarm Payrolls will take on greater importance tomorrow after US GDP figures released yesterday surprised markets by showing that the world’s largest economy had contracted 0.1% in the final quarter of 2012.

The Runaway Euro Train

The Euro keeps going from strength to strength. Despite a small setback yesterday following Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker’s comments that the Euro is “dangerously high”, the common currency returned to its advance today. GBP/EUR had managed to hold at 1.2010 earlier in the week and began to recover slightly yesterday, however this morning the pair broke below this level hitting a daily low of 1.1980. Following the bullish comments by Mario Draghi last week regarding the Eurozone, a drop in Spain’s borrowing costs this morning after the sale of 4.5 billion Euro bonds further catalysed the Euros strengthening. This has also led to EUR/USD pushing back up to 1.3350+ this morning, heading back towards the heady heights of 1.34 which we last saw on Monday, when a new 11 month high was established.

There is very little economic data out this morning other than employment figures coming out of Australia. The Australian Employment Change for December was recorded at -5.5K, a substantial decrease from the previous month and well below market expectations of 2.3K. This led to the Aussie Dollar dropping off against the Yen and AUD/USD also dropped off, recording a daily low of 1.0493 immediately following the data release.

Markets will have to wait until this afternoon for the next instalment of economic data, in which we will see figures from the US regarding Housing Starts, Building Permits and Initial Jobless Claims. Whilst the data this afternoon could well stoke some movement in the markets, it is likely that any substantial moves will be delayed until after crucial data is released in China tomorrow. In the early hours of tomorrow morning Chinese GDP, Industrial Production and Retail Sales figures will be released and could spark significant market movement.

Mark Webster

Currency War

It would appear that the world is on the brink of war. Currency war that is. According to the Russian central bank we are anyway. The comments come following Japans recent commitment to devalue its currency by increasing monetary easing within the country, in an effort to increase the country’s global competitiveness. Whilst at first sight the comments from Russia may seem alarmist, they raise a good point. If Japan is going to commit themselves to a policy of currency devaluation, it would appear inevitable that other countries will follow suit.

This follows comments made yesterday by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who described the Euro as “Dangerously High”. This sparked a Euro sell off which led to EUR/USD dropping off to 1.3261 this morning after reaching a high of 1.3403 on Monday, its highest point since February 2012. Similarly the Euro weakened against Sterling as GBP/EUR reached 1.2097 this morning. This followed the pairs fall to 1.2011 yesterday, which was its lowest point in nine months, as the Euro had continued to strengthen on the back of ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference last Thursday.

Cable finally broke below 1.6030 this morning after having been held at that level for the previous two days. The pair went on to hit 1.6003, testing a key Fibonacci level at 1.6010, before rebounding back to 1.6030+. The pair is again currently trading on the six month upward trend line after having briefly broken through this late last week. Continued downward pressure on Sterling following the World Bank growth rate downgrade and David Cameron’s persistent attempt to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership could see Cable fall back to 1.5911.

EU economic data released this morning showed Consumer Price Index figures for the region remained constant at 2.2% for December, as had been expected. We may well see further movement in the Dollar this afternoon as CPI figures are released at 13:30 in the US, along with US Industrial Production at 14:15 and the Fed’s Beige book at 14:15.

Mark Webster

Euro Appreciates

The Euro has continued to appreciate following Thursday’s European Central Bank press conference where ECB President Mario Draghi failed to meet market expectations by not hinting at a rate cut in the coming months.

GBP/EUR is currently trading at 1.2070, a key level of support, after having broken through 1.2168 on Friday, a level which had held for the previous nine months. Todays’ weakening continues a seven day trend for Sterling, as Britain’s position within Europe becomes more and more ambiguous. David Cameron’s attempt to tread a fine line between Conservative Eurosceptic’s and pro-European business leaders is proving difficult and his bid to negotiate a reduction in powers held by Brussels over Britain, whilst maintaining the UKs membership, would appear impossible. Any concrete signs of a full withdrawal of the UK from the EU could prove very negative for Britain and would likely stifle economic growth for the country. Leaders from across Europe and even the US have warned Britain of the damaging effects such a move could have, and the markets would appear to be making their feelings clear too as the Pound continues to weaken.

Elsewhere in the world today, the Yen has continued to weaken as newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, looks set to elect a central bank chief who will continue to expand monetary easing in the country. In a further attempt to increase the countries competitiveness internationally, it is hoped that weakening the country’s currency will help drag Japan out of decades of economic stagnation.

EUR/USD broke above a key Fibonacci level of on Thursday and has continued its appreciation since. The pair is currently trading at 1.3368 and should the Euro continue to strengthen the next price level we are likely to see will be at 1.3487, however should momentum dissipate the pair may well fall back to 1.3143.

Cable is currently trading at 1.6124, a significant price level that has been mentioned in previous blogs. We are likely to see the pair trade between 1.6010 and 1.6309 until a consistent break is made either side of this channel. We may have to wait until next month until we actually see this though, when the effects of the delayed fiscal cliff remerge in Washington and US politicians once again commence battle, this time over government spending.

Please find a summary of this week’s economic calendar below:

14.01.13
10:00 EU Industrial Production
15:30 Bank of Canada Business Outlook Survey
21:00 US Fed’s Bernanke Speech

15.01.13
01:00 UK RICS Housing Price Balance
07:00 German Consumer Price Index
08:00 German Gross Domestic Product
09:30 UK Consumer Price Index
09:30 UK Producer Price Index
09:30 UK Retail Price Index
13:30 US Producer Price Index
13:30 US Retail Sales

16.01.13
10:00 EU Consumer Price Index
13:30 US Producer Price Index
14:15 US Industrial Production
19:00 US Fed’s Beige Book

17.01.13
00:30 Australian Unemployment Rate
09:00 ECB Monthly Report
13:30 US Housing Starts
13:30 Building Permits
13:30 US Initial Jobless Claims

18.01.13
02:00 Chinese GDP
02:00 Chinese Industrial Production
02:00 Chinese Retail Sales
09:30 UK Retail Sales
14:55 Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Cable is trapped. GBP/USD has been trading pretty much sideways for the last couple of days and appears trapped in a clearly defined channel, a break either side of which could be very significant. Fibonacci levels show clear support at 1.6010 and substantial resistance at 1.6124, with a further key level found in between at 1.6067, which is where the pair is currently trading. A break above the upper price level would suggest a move back towards 1.6309 and potentially a test of the recent sixteen month high of 1.6381. Conversely, should the lower end of the current price channel give way, the pair is expected to fall back to the next area of key support at 1.5909 and below this the four month low of 1.5825 could be tested once again.

The key question is obviously; which way will the pair break? Cable is currently in a six month upward trend and what could make or break this trend could well be economic data released later this week. Tomorrow we will see the Bank of England release their interest rate decision at 12:00 GMT. Whilst rates are expected to remain at their current levels, any increase, or even a suggestion of an increase, would be very bullish for Sterling. As we saw last week in the US where the FOMC minutes suggested there could be an earlier than expected end to monetary easing policies and interest rate increases – the Greenback immediately strengthened right across the board. Whilst we will also see various figures released in both the UK and US on Friday, the crucial variable could come from outside both of these countries. On Thursday and Friday this week we will see crucial data coming out of China, including Chinese; Trade Balance, Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index. Should these results prove favourable, this would be extremely positive for the global economy and invariably lead to increased optimism globally and consequently a weakening Dollar.

This Morning we saw the release of UK Goods Trade Balance figures that showed there is now a £-9.164B deficit, worse than what markets had been expecting. GBP/EUR did drop off slightly immediately following the release, however the Pound has recovered and is currently trading up for the day at GBP/EUR 1.2282. EU GDP figures for Q4 were released at 10:00 GMT and had little bearing on the markets as they showed that GDP for the region remained at -0.1%. EUR/USD is currently trading flat at 1.3067, only marginally above a key level of support at 1.3064.

Mark Webster

Bungee Jumping Cable

Bungee Jumping Cable

Cable dropped off a cliff last week. Whilst it had climbed
in the week leading up to the New Year as the US edged ever closer to the fiscal cliff, it was actually the FOMC
minutes, released last week that hinted of a potential reduction in monetary
easing and interest rate rise, which pushed the pair over the edge. As the
bungee cord held late last week, today we will see whether the Pound can
actually catapult itself back up towards the 16 month highs that the pair had
experienced ‘pre-jump’.

With the Christmas period now over and the fiscal cliff
disaster averted, or at least slightly postponed, economic data releases should
now begin to take on more of a key role in influencing market movements this
week. With little data due out of the US, key figures from Europe and notably
China could add to market volatility this week. The Bank of England will make
an interest rate decision on Thursday and whilst rates are expected to remain
at their current levels, any increase would substantially strengthen the Pound
and could help Cable rebound after paring its gains last week following the
FOMC minutes. Furthermore Chinas dominance in the global economy means that any
positive data released from the country this week would also help strengthen
Cable as confidence around the world would be increased, stocks would
inevitably be buoyed and demand for safe havens such as the Greenback and Yen
would fall.

Please find
a summary of this week’s economic calendar below:

 

07.01.13

08:00 UK
Halifax House Prices

09:30 EU
Sentix Investor Confidence

10:00 EU
Producer Price Index

 

08.01.13

07:00 German
Trade Balance

10:00 EU
Consumer Confidence

10:00 EU
Retail Sales

10:00 EU
Unemployment Rate

11:00 German
Factory Orders

20:00 US
Consumer Credit Change

 

09.01.13

Chinese
Industrial Production

Chinese
Retail Sales

09:30 UK
Goods Trade Balance

10:00 EU GDP
Q4

11:00 German
Industrial Production

 

10.01.13

Chinese
Trade Balance

12:00 UK BoE
Interest Rate Decision

12:00 UK BoE
Asset Purchase Facility

13:30 ECB
Monetary Policy Statement

 

11.01.13

01:30
Chinese Consumer Price Index

09:30 UK
Manufacturing Production

09:30 UK
Industrial Production

13:30 US
Trade Balance

13:30 US
Import Price

15:00 UK
NIESR GDP Estimate

19:00 US
Monthly Budget Statement

 

Mark Webster

Bye Bye Stimulus

There was little movement in the markets yesterday afternoon following the mixed employment data that came out of the US. That was until the FOMC dropped a bombshell yesterday evening. At 19:00 GMT yesterday the Federal Reserve released their FOMC minutes which suggested there could be an earlier than expected end to the current quantitative easing program. The Dollar strengthened right across the board following the release and both the Euro and Pound pared gains they had made earlier in the week against the Greenback following the fiscal cliff deal.

The announcement slightly panicked equity markets as concerns grew over potential interest rate increases and whether the US economy is actually capable of continuing its recovery without the steroid like effect that the QE program has had. However the comments represent a vote of confidence in the US economy by the Fed and the potential decrease in money supply and rise in interest rates are clearly bullish for the dollar. This was evidenced by the Greenbacks rise against the majority of its counterparts following the FOMC minutes release.

Earlier this morning we saw the release of UK economic data that showed the Markit Services PMI for last month fell to 48.9 and Net Lending to Individuals has dropped to £-0.1B. This caused a momentary spike lower in GBP/EUR as the Pound dropped off 20pips before recovering slightly, however the pair have continued to fall since and is currently trading at 1.2315.

Today is also Non-Farm Friday! We all know what this means – there could once again be some potentially market moving data coming out of the US. At 13:30 GMT the US Nonfarm Payrolls and Unemployment Rate will be released and both could trigger further movement in the Dollar. Cable is currently trading at a key price level having fallen through several areas of support this morning, before breaking beneath a six month upward trend line, as can be seen in the chart below. The next key level of support is at 1.6010 and should this price level be tested, and give way, this would be a strong indication that the rate will continue to drop below 1.60.

The Clock is Ticking

After recovering some of its losses from the previous week yesterday, Cable (GBPUSD) has dropped off once again after hitting its 16 month high last week as an agreement regarding the fiscal cliff remains nowhere in sight.

After returning early from his Christmas holiday in Hawaii, President Obama has summoned Congressional leaders to a meeting at the White House in a last ditch attempt to salvage negotiations regarding the necessary tax hikes and spending cuts if the fiscal cliff is to be avoided. With the January 1st deadline literally now just days away, it would appear inevitable that the compulsory tax hikes and spending cuts enacted under George Bush, due to take effect in 2013, will now come into force early next year. These measures are expected to lead to increases in US household taxes by an average of $3,446, substantially cut defence spending, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, send the US economy back into recession in early 2013.

It is precisely these fears, that the fragile US recovery at present is nowhere near strong enough to cope with these shocks without avoiding falling back into recession, that are causing concern in the markets. Inevitably, such a scenario would negatively impact the world economy, especially Europe which had seemed to be very slowly pulling itself away from the abyss recently – all of these factors are helping create a rather toxic outlook for the global economy. This has therefore led to a substantial decrease in risk appetite and an increase in safe-haven demand over the last few days.

Today the Dollar has strengthened against the majority of its counterparts and GBPUSD is currently trading at 1.6078. Having fallen close to a key level of support at 1.6067 this morning, this could create a safety net for the pair, preventing further losses.