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FOREX: Euro, Major Currencies Still Looking to Greece for Direction

FOREX: Euro, Major Currencies Still Looking to Greece for Direction

Ilya Spivak, Head Strategist, APAC

Talking Points

  • Markets Positioned for Successful Greek Accord as Stock Index Futures Rise
  • German Industrial Production May Surprise Higher After Pickup in PMI Data
  • Australian Dollar Soars as RBA Unexpectedly Holds Interest Rates Unchanged
  • Japanese Yen Down After MoF Reveals Five "Stealth" Interventions in Q4

Most major currencies were little changed against the US Dollar (ticker: USDollar) in overnight trade as markets waited for clarity on the status of negotiations between Greece and the so-called “troika” of the ECB, the EU, and the IMF on the debt-strapped country’s second bailout package. The Australian Dollar outperformed after the Reserve Bank of Australia left benchmark interest rates unchanged at 4.25 percent, disappointing widespread expectations for a 25bps reduction. The Japanese Yen declined after the Ministry of Finance revealed it intervened five times in the USDJPY exchange rate in the fourth quarter.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos set a deadline of 10:00 GMT yesterday for ruling coalition party leaders to decide if they were prepared to signed on for more austerity – which the troika demands in exchange for an additional tranche of aid – to avert a default looming as soon as March 20 when €14.5 billion in debt is due to mature. That deadline passed and was extended seemingly without incident, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy ominously warned that “time was running out” and reiterated that no deal on additional funding would be possible without Athens’ assent the troika’s demands.

Greek labor unions are preparing to stage yet another strike as negotiations continue to drag on, adding to the tension quotient. Still, traders appear to believe that the potential consequences of a disorderly default will compel all parties to reach agreement before the point of no return. Indeed, European and US stock index futures are inching higher in late Asian hours, suggesting risk appetite is relatively well-supported. On the economic data front, German Industrial Production figures are in focus, with expectations calling for output to print flat in December, though a pickup in the more timely Manufacturing PMI reading over the same period suggests there may be room for an upside surprise.

Asia Session: What Happened

GMT

CCY

EVENT

ACT

EXP

PREV

21:45

NZD

Average Hourly Earnings (QoQ) (4Q)

0.0%

0.5%

1.3%

21:45

NZD

Private Wages ex Overtime (QoQ) (4Q)

0.7%

0.5%

0.5%

21:45

NZD

Private Wages inc Overtime (QoQ) (4Q)

0.7%

0.5%

0.5%

22:30

AUD

AiG Performance of Construction Index (JAN)

39.8

-

41.0

23:50

JPY

Official Reserve Assets ($) (JAN)

1306.7B

-

1295.8B

0:01

GBP

BRC Sales Like-For-Like (YoY) (JAN)

-0.3%

-0.8%

2.2%

3:30

AUD

Reserve Bank of Australia Rate Decision

4.25%

4.00%

4.25%

5:00

AUD

Foreign Reserves (A$) (JAN)

46.8B

-

A$46.1B

5:00

JPY

Coincident Index (DEC P)

93.2

93.1

90.3

5:00

JPY

Leading Index (DEC P)

94.3

93.8

93.7 (R+)

Euro Session: What to Expect

GMT

CCY

EVENT

EXP

PREV

IMPACT

7:45

EUR

French Trade Balance (€) (DEC)

-5350M

-4412M

Low

8:00

CHF

Foreign Currency Reserves (CHF) (JAN)

-

254.2B

Low

11:00

EUR

German Industrial Production (MoM) (DEC)

0.0%

-0.6%

Medium

11:00

EUR

German Industrial Production (YoY) (DEC)

4.3%

3.6%

Medium

Critical Levels

CCY

SUPPORT

RESISTANCE

EURUSD

1.3055

1.3226

GBPUSD

1.5753

1.5910

--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for Dailyfx.com

To contact Ilya, e-mail ispivak@dailyfx.com. Follow me on Twitter at @IlyaSpivak

To be added to Ilya's e-mail distribution list, send a note with subject line "Distribution List" to ispivak@dailyfx.com

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

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