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Hard-Hitting News Moves Dollar to Fresh Highs

Hard-Hitting News Moves Dollar to Fresh Highs

Boris Schlossberg, Technical Strategist

Controversy regarding the Bank of Japan’s newly appointed officials has pushed the USDJPY to new yearly highs, while “atrocious” new data out of the UK have pushed the GBPUSD to fresh yearly lows.

It’s been another seesaw session in FX with yen crosses rising in Asian trade only to give up their gains by morning European dealing. The USDJPY hit a fresh yearly high in Asia, rising to 96.71 on speculation that incoming Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may call a special meeting before April in order to further expand the nation’s quantitative easing (QE) program.

However, as Europe came online, reports that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) may oppose the nomination of Deputy Governor Kikuo Iwata caused a quick and sharp selloff in yen crosses that dragged EURJPY below the 125.00 mark and sent EURUSD back below 1.3000. Iwata, who favors more government oversight over the BoJ, is the most controversial of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's appointments. Abe needs at least some support from the DPJ in Japan's upper house in order to confirm Iwata's nomination, and despite the comments today, it is likely he will get it.

USDJPY slipped below the 96.00 level as the European session wore on. Any forward progress in the pair is now likely to come from US news rather than any fresh initiatives in Japan. Mr. Abe’s plans and his policy team are now well familiar to the market and have already communicated their key intended actions when they take power. So there is little new information from Japan that could push the pair higher.

On the other hand, if US economic performance continues to surprise to the upside, it could provide further fuel to the rally in USDJPY, which is why tomorrow's US retail sales numbers could be the marquee event of the week.

See also: Key Data Looms Large for Dollar, Aussie

British Pound Hit by Latest “Atrocious” UK Data

Meanwhile, in the UK, another set of horrid numbers from the manufacturing sector sent GBPUSD to fresh yearly lows below the 1.4850 level. UK industrial production declined by -1.2% versus 0.1% expected while manufacturing production sank -1.5% versus 0.0% forecast. This was the worst reading since August of last year and suggests that the manufacturing sector will weigh heavily on Q1 GDP as the contraction accelerates.

Today's data shows that the massive divergence between the UK's manufacturing and service sectors continues to expand with the former contracting sharply while the latter remains relatively robust. Although manufacturing is a small part of the UK economy, it will nevertheless impact the overall growth, and as such, it remains an anchor across the neck of the British pound (GBP).

Despite the negative news, sterling found some bids underneath the 1.4850 level and stabilized in the aftermath of the release. Although the UK data is undeniably atrocious, the pair is so grossly oversold that the downside may be limited. Given the weakness in the PMI reading last week, some of the news may have already been factored in to the price, and we could see a short-covering rally as the day proceeds with longs targeting 1.4900 on a bounceback.

By Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.