- Market optimism fades and suggests more USD strength
- Widespread calls for a break lower in Eur/Usd
- Key economic data and political risk ahead
- Focus for now on monthly US employment data
Although we have seen no clear breakouts in most of the major currencies, and although the Euro still remains locked in a very well defined 1.3000-1.3500 consolidation (that has defined trade for much of 2012), there is a growing sense that the markets are very close to a major pickup in volatility. For now, the breakout looks like it will be in the US Dollar’s favor, given the sharp downturn in risk sentiment this week, on the back of some very disappointing economic data across the globe. In fact, we can’t remember a time when so many were all at the same time, calling for a major US Dollar rally.
Relative performance versus the USD Friday (as of 9:30GMT)
It is with this in mind that we also find it somewhat surprising to see the Euro still so well supported. While it is true that the ECB were slightly hawkish on Thursday, we doubt that this alone will keep the Euro propped above 1.3000. Yet the market remains supported for now, despite the overwhelming bearish sentiment out there. Other currencies like the Australian and New Zealand Dollars have not been as fortunate, yet these markets are also holding up rather well when you consider a 50bp rate cut from the RBA this week and some disastrous employment numbers out of New Zealand.
There is a good deal of economic data and event risk over the coming days, and the results from these calendar events could very well influence the direction in the markets. Kicking things off is the monthly US jobs report, and many are now expecting a disappointment here following the softer ADP report earlier in the week. From there, the attention will turn to the political front, when all will be watching the highly anticipated election results out of France and Spain. The big issue will be if the election results compromise the current plan which involves the implementation of IMF austerity measures.
As far as currency strategy is concerned, we would recommend remaining on the sidelines until a clearer directional bias presents. The fact that everyone is calling for a major USD rally is certainly compelling, but not enough for us to test the waters.
EUR/USD: Overall, the market remains locked in a very tight directionless, choppy consolidation. Ultimately a break back above 1.3500 or below 1.3000 will be required for clearer directional bias. At this point, the market has stalled by some key resistance just ahead of 1.3300 to once again put the pressure on the downside towards the multi-day range lows down by 1.3000. Only back above 1.3500 would negate outlook.
USD/JPY: The latest pullback from the 2012, 84.20 highs is viewed as corrective and it looks as though the market could still see a bit more weakness before considering the possibility for the formation of a medium-term higher low. Overall, this is a market that has undergone a major structural shift in recent months and we now see the pair in the early stages of a longer-term up-trend. Ultimately, only a weekly close back under 78.00 would negate.
GBP/USD: Although the market had been very well bid in recent sessions, the rally looks like it might finally be closer to stalling out in favor of a bearish resumption. Look for a daily close back below 1.6150 to officially confirm, but aggressive traders may want to consider fading any strength beyond 1.6300 with daily studies starting to roll from overbought. Ultimately, only a daily close above 1.6400 would delay outlook.
USD/CHF: Our core constructive outlook remains well intact with the latest setbacks very well supported by psychological barriers at 0.9000. It now looks as though the market could be looking to carve a fresh higher low, and we will be looking for additional upside back towards the recent range highs at 0.9335 over the coming sessions. Above 0.9335 should then accelerate gains towards the 2012 highs by 0.9600 further up. Ultimately, only back under 0.9000 delays and gives reason for pause.
--- Written by Joel Kruger, Technical Currency Strategist
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