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FOREX: Euro Threatened with Portugal Debt Sale in Focus After Rating Cut

FOREX: Euro Threatened with Portugal Debt Sale in Focus After Rating Cut

2011-03-16 07:31:00
Ilya Spivak, Sr. Currency Strategist
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Overnight Headlines

  • Aussie, NZ Dollars Outperform as Asian Stock Exchanges Rebound
  • New Zealand Consumer Confidence Hits 2-Year Low, Says ANZ
  • Euro, British Pound Retrace US-Session Gains in Overnight Trade

Critical Levels

CCY

SUPPORT

RESISTANCE

EURUSD

1.3876

1.4033

GBPUSD

1.5977

1.6137

The Euro and the British Pound fell as much as 0.3 and 0.2 percent respectively against the US Dollar in overnight trade, correcting to retrace close to half of the rally in US trading hours. We remain short NZDUSD and EURUSD.

Asia Session: What Happened

GMT

CCY

EVENT

ACT

EXP

PREV

23:30

AUD

Westpac Leading Index (MoM) (JAN)

-0.1%

-

0.9% (R+)

23:50

JPY

BSI Manufacturing (QoQ) (1Q)

-3.2

-

-8.0

23:50

JPY

BSI Large All Industry (QoQ) (1Q)

-1.1

-

-5.0

0:30

AUD

Dwelling Starts (4Q)

-5.3%

-1.4%

-13.0% (R+)

2:00

CNY

Conference Board Leading Index (JAN)

155.0

-

154.6

2:00

NZD

ANZ Consumer Confidence Index (MAR)

101.4

-

108.1

2:23

NZD

ANZ Consumer Confidence (MoM) (MAR)

-6.2%

-

-7.7%

The Canadian and Australian Dollars outperformed in quiet overnight trade as Asian stocks rebounded following yesterday’s brutal selloff, boosting the sentiment-sensitive currencies. The MSCI Asia Pacific regional benchmark equity index rose 3 percent with Japan’s Nikkei leading the way higher. Bargain-hunting was tipped as the catalyst behind the move after yesterday’s staggering 10.6 percent decline.

The New Zealand Dollar lagged behind its commodity bloc counterparts after a report from the ANZ Banking Group showed Consumer Confidence dropped for a second month in March, down 6.2 percent from the previous month to hit the lowest level in two years.

Euro Session: What to Expect

GMT

CCY

EVENT

EXP

PREV

IMPACT

7:00

EUR

EU 25 New Car Registrations (FEB)

-

-1.4%

Low

9:00

EUR

Italian CPI (NIC incl. tobacco) (YoY) (FEB F)

2.4%

2.4%

Low

9:00

EUR

Italian CPI (NIC incl. tobacco) (MoM) (FEB F)

0.3%

0.3%

Low

9:00

EUR

Italian CPI - EU Harmonized (MoM) (FEB F)

0.2%

0.2%

Low

9:00

EUR

Italian CPI - EU Harmonized (YoY) (FEB F)

2.1%

2.1%

Low

9:30

GBP

Jobless Claims Change (FEB)

1.3K

2.4K

High

9:30

GBP

Claimant Count Rate (FEB)

4.5%

4.5%

Medium

9:30

GBP

ILO Unemployment Rate (3M) (JAN)

7.9%

7.9%

Medium

9:30

GBP

Weekly Earnings ex Bonus (3M/YoY) (JAN)

2.2%

2.3%

Low

9:30

GBP

Average Weekly Earnings (3M/YoY)

2.1%

1.8%

Low

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Consumer Price Index - Core (YoY) (FEB)

1.1%

1.1%

Low

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Consumer Price Index (MoM) (FEB)

0.4%

-0.7%

Medium

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Consumer Price Index (YoY) (FEB)

2.4%

2.3%

Medium

10:00

CHF

ZEW Survey (Expectations) (MAR)

-

-17.2

Medium

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Labor Costs (YoY) (4Q)

1.0%

0.8%

Low

Sentiment trends have steadied a bit after yesterday’s brutal selloff. Stock index futures tracking the S&P 500 – a proxy for market-wide risk appetite – stand little changed ahead of the opening bell in Europe, hinting outright panic has given to a cautious stand-still. While shares rebounded in Asia recovered as the Nikkei retraced arguably overdone losses, equity markets (and correlated currencies) face significant headwinds in the coming session as Portugal sells 1 billion euro in 371-day debt in the aftermath of a credit rating downgrade earlier today. Traders will closely watch the outcome of the auction, with the threat of another flare-up in sovereign risk seeming very real after EU policymakers produced the outlines of the much anticipated “grand bargain” on dealing with the debt crisis last week that appears woefully inadequate.

On the data front, UK Jobless Claims figures headline the calendar. Expectations are calling for benefits applications to rise 1,300 from the previous month while the Claimant Count – a proxy for the jobless rate – holds steady at 4.5 percent. On balance, the report falls well within the range of outcomes recorded since July, pointing to relatively stable labor-market conditions. To that affect, the figures are unlikely to meaningfully dislodge investors’ priced-in outlook for UK growth and monetary policy, yielding a muted reaction at best. Separately, Euro Zone Consumer Price Index figures are due to confirm the flash estimate released two weeks ago, putting the annual inflation rate at 2.4 percent.

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