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  • Yen up as markets turn cautious ahead of FOMC interest rate announcement
  • US Dollar may rise on haven demand even as the Fed turns more defensive
  • German ZEW, US factory and durables orders data may stoke growth fears

The anti-risk Japanese Yen edged higher in otherwise quiet trade amid a cautious tone on Asia Pacific bourses despite a positive lead from Wall Street. The defensive mood might reflect protective pre-positioning ahead of Wednesday’s much-anticipated FOMC monetary policy announcement.

The tenor of official commentary over recent months makes it seem all but certain that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and company will downgrade forecasts for economic growth and inflation. The projected rate hike path is likely to be made meaningfully shallower as well.

The priced-in outlook implied in Fed Funds futures calls for no rate hikes in 2019. For its part, the US central bank foresaw two 25bps increases in December. A climb-down to match the markets’ baseline is probably too drastic of a step to be expecting, but even that would hardly amount to a major dovish surprise.

With that in mind, the Fed’s backpedaling might prove to be more market-moving in its implicit reinforcement of global slowdown worries rather than its influence on near-term policy bets. In a somewhat counter-intuitive scenario, that may trigger broad-based risk aversion that offers the US Dollar haven-based support.

Worries about the trajectory of the global business cycle may be stoked the incoming German ZEW analyst sentiment survey as well as US factory and durable goods orders data. Results echoing a string of recent disappointments relative to forecasts might make already jittery investors even more so.

What are we trading? See the DailyFX team’s top trade ideas for 2019 and find out!


Yen Up, S&P 500 Chart Warns of Topping Before Fed Rate Decision

Clues hinting at an approaching downturn have appeared in near-term S&P 500 technical positioning. The four-hour chart reveals a bearish Rising Wedge pattern coupled with negative RSI divergence, a hint at ebbing upside momentum. If the setup is realized, that might bode well for JPY and USD while sentiment-geared commodity currencies face outsized selling pressure.


--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for

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