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Euro Volatility Likely on German ZEW Survey, EU FinMin Summit Outcome

Euro Volatility Likely on German ZEW Survey, EU FinMin Summit Outcome

2010-03-16 04:58:00
Ilya Spivak, Sr. Currency Strategist

Key Overnight Developments

Australian Dollar Sold on Lackluster RBA Meeting Minutes
Euro Slightly Higher, British Pound Flat in Overnight Trade

Critical Levels

euro open 03162010 1

Euro edged slightly higher, adding 0.1 percent against the US Dollar, while the British Pound consolidated in a narrow range below 1.5070 to the greenback. We remain short EURUSD at 1.4881 and GBPUSD at 1.5765.

Asia Session Highlights

03162010 2

The Australian Dollar tracked lower against the spectrum of major currencies after the Reserve Bank of Australia published minutes from its March monetary policy meeting. The release didn’t seem to contain any overtly dovish commentary, with markets apparently responding to the lack of urgency in the central bank’s approach to removing stimulus. Indeed, the RBA argued that the prompt start to the tightening process in the aftermath of the 2008-09 global downturn allowed it “flexibility in the pace at which [normalization] proceeded” and reiterated that it was appropriate for interest rates to move “gradually” towards normal levels. Meanwhile, Glenn Stevens and company expressed concern that “fiscal problems in Europe, if not resolved satisfactorily, could result in renewed turmoil in markets and fresh weakness in the global economy, which could have implications for Australia.” A Credit Suisse gauge tracking priced-in policy expectations declined to show traders now see a 35 percent chance of another RBA rate hike in April, down from 42 percent before the meeting minutes crossed the wires.

Euro Session: What to Expect

euro open 03162010 3

Germany’s ZEW Survey of investor confidence tops the economic calendar in European hours, with the headline Economic Sentiment index set to decline for the sixth consecutive month amid signs that economic recovery is losing momentum in the Euro Zone’s largest economy as well as lingering concerns about a possible credit default in southern Europe. Separately, the final revision of the Euro Zone Consumer Price Index is set to confirm flash estimates that showed the annual pace of inflation eased to 0.9 percent in the year to February. Economic data is unlikely to prove market-moving in its own right however as markets hone in on the final outcome of a two-day summit of Euro Zone finance ministers that is set to conclude today. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker told reporters yesterday that policymakers had “clarified the technical arrangements that would enable us to take coordinated action” to offer aid to Greece should Athens ask for assistance. Traders will be keen to size up the details of the plan, which presumably will also serve as the blueprint for how to deal with fiscal crises should they arise elsewhere within the currency bloc. The net impact of the outcome on the Euro will be dependent on whether markets believe the framework is adequately robust to deal with the outbreak of a sovereign risk flare-up in a larger country like Portugal or Spain, though prices may lack directional conviction ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate announcement.

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