The EUR/USD's "Turbulent Tumble"
Surprising comments from Bank of Italy Governor Visco indicating that the ECB stands ready to cut rates again if necessary caused a sharp decline in the EURUSD during today’s European trading session.
A relatively quiet session for the EURUSD turned into a turbulent tumble after Bank of Italy Governor Iganzio Visco suggested that the European Central Bank (ECB) may be ready to cut rates again in order to stimulate the economy in moribund Europe.
Visco, who is also a member of the European Central Bank's Governing Council, said that lower sovereign bond yields have failed to translate into gains for the real economy, and stated that the ECB "stands ready to intervene again" if new information suggests action is necessary. His comments had an immediate impact on the EURUSD, with the pair falling to a low of 1.2975 before finding some support.
The euro has been remarkably robust over the past several days, rising through the key 1.3000 level primarily on profit-taking in dollar longs, but today's rhetoric by Mr. Visco suggests that the pair may find further gains much too hard to come by.
Visco's comments on monetary policy suggest that ECB officials remain deeply concerned about the state of economic activity in Europe and are actively looking for ways to stimulate demand. Today’s weak German retail sales data, which printed at -0.4% versus 0.3% expected, is just the latest data point to suggest that Eurozone growth is sluggish. The problems are most severe in the periphery economies, but the Italian monthly unemployment rate also rose to 12.0% from 11.6% expected.
There is no doubt that Italian officials are feeling tremendous political pressure, and today's comments by Mr. Visco—although very unusual for an ECB official given the central bank's official policy of never pre-committing on rates—may be an attempt to prod the ECB council to assume a more accommodative stance.
USD/JPY Threatens 100 Level…Again
Meanwhile, in Asia, the volatility in Nikkei futures continued to roil the USDJPY, which dropped through the 100.50 level in early-European dealing. Given the improvements in inflation and industrial production measures, the latest data suggests that “Abenomics” is starting to work, but currency traders are now focused on the price action in Japanese government bonds (JGBs) and equity markets, both of which remain highly volatile.
The USDJPY continues to correct its recent rally, and today's US economic reports could determine if the pair tests the key 100.00 level support.
The North American economic calendar is relatively bare, with only the University of Michigan consumer confidence data and Chicago PMI on the docket. While U of M is simply a revision and unlikely to have much of an impact on trade, the Chicago PMI release could affect the market, especially if it surprises to the downside, thus raising concerns about the US recovery in the manufacturing sector.
Last month, the PMI report printed at 49.0, just below the 50 boom/bust line, and if it remains there for the second month in a row, the pressure on USDJPY could accelerate, sending the pair towards 100.00 as the day progresses.
By Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management
DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.