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US Dollar Technical Analysis: Can USD Hold this Rebound?

US Dollar Technical Analysis: Can USD Hold this Rebound?

Tyler Yell, CMT, Currency Strategist
What's on this page

US Dollar Index (DXY) Key Points:

  • The ONE Thing: Sentiment Extremes in USD are not matched by a positive technical picture for the US Dollar. There appears to be a form of divergence in the works as the US Dollar is rising, but at a tepid pace despite the largest number of US Dollar bulls in 52-weeks per Paul Robinson’s breakdown of the CFTC report, CoT Update for US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Gold, and More.
  • Technical studies may be disheartening for US Dollar bulls as sentiment extremes are showing a lack of an impulsive follow through.
  • Make no mistake; the dire Emerging Market headlines tend to align with a strengthening US Dollar. If the US Dollar continues to strengthen, there will likely be more/ worse headlines coming from EM, but a reversal in recent US Dollar strength could bring massive relief to many global markets with a high stock of USD-denominated debt.
  • Technical Outlook on the US Dollar: The US Dollar has retraced 50% of it’s August drop, which followed bearish MACD (5,34,5) divergence. However, a break of the August low at 94 would open up a move likely to 93.79/92.9.

Unlock our Q3 forecast to learn what will drive trends for the US Dollar through the rest of 2018!

It’s a popular time to be hot US assets. The US stock market is running away with the record books while others bourses are steeped in bear markets. Traders in Foreign Exchange are also apt to talk about the virtues of being long the US Dollar.

Their arguments are sound when taking a snapshot of the current global macro environment that is ripe of the following headlines:

  • The Federal Reserve looks set to keep hiking despite other central banks having difficulty leaving negative rates
  • Britain’s Brexit progress looks uncertain at best despite Britain being set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019,without an agreement in place to define future relations
  • Emerging Markets are in crisis mode with Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, India, & Turkey seeing their currencies rapidly depreciating against the US Dollar.
  • China and the US are embroiled in a Trade War that seems to favor the US in the current atmosphere as China PMI recently slowed relative to expectations and the PBoC recently engaged in liquidity injections that may show a slowing economy.

More themes are going on right now, but you get the idea. We’re in an environment that one may think the US Dollar Index should be trading at or above the 2017 extreme or at least at 2018 extremes.

But, it’s not.

The US Dollar is working through a technical bounce right now with extreme sentiment, and technical traders should be aware that a flip in sentiment from bullish to bearishness could bring a sharp drop in the US Dollar that could lead into massive relief for emerging markets, commodities, and equities around the world.

A further rally in US Dollar would likely embolden the bears that are encircling multiple emerging market themes right now that could send us from theme to crisis.

Put simply, the strengthening US Dollar, despite being off the highs of 2018 and less than 50% of the 2017-2018 range remains a hamper to growth, and a coordinated move from the Fed to take some of the air out may “support the global market,” and lead to a falling USD into and through Q4.

Technically Speaking – A Weak Bounce On Extreme Sentiment

Chart Source: Pro Real Time with IG UK Price Feed. Created by Tyler Yell, CMT

Momentum per MACD (5, 34, 5) remains bearish at below zero, but bullish sentiment is at one-year extremes. That does not sound like an ideal recipe for a bullish breakout, and traders should be on the watch for a test and break below the August low near 94.

Such a break would likely align with a broad rally in emerging markets, I’m looking at you CSI300, and would also be signaled first and foremost by the USD/CNY that has made an argument for being The most important currency pair in the world (sorry, EUR/USD.)

Given the technical concern I have and the worsening macro global backdrop (it’s not pretty outside of US risky assets,) I am watching for a pullback toward 93.79/92.90 on the US Dollar Index. This comprises of two key pull-backs before the August high and the median line of the massive Andrew’s Pitchfork drawn from the key pivots in late 2017 and early 2018.

A break below this zone would argue for a broader regime shift and would likely be cemented through speculative futures positioning that you can track from Paul Robinson’s weekly wrap up.

My bearish these would be discredited on a break and close above 95.61, the 61.8% retracement of the August range. Such a move would technically favor a move toward 97, the top of the channel on the charts.

We’ll see.

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Are you looking for longer-term analysis on the U.S. Dollar? Our DailyFX Forecasts for Q3 have a section for each major currency, and we also offer an excess of resources on USD-pairs such as EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, AUD/USD. Traders can also stay up with near-term positioning via our popular and free IG Client Sentiment Indicator.

---Written by Tyler Yell, CMT

Tyler Yell is a Chartered Market Technician. Tyler provides Technical analysis that is powered by fundamental factors on key markets as well as t1rading educational resources. Read more of Tyler’s Technical reports via his bio page.

Communicate with Tyler and have your shout below by posting in the comments area. Feel free to include your market views as well.

Discuss this market with Tyler in the live webinar, FX Closing Bell, Weekdays Monday-Thursday at 3 pm ET.

Talk markets on twitter @ForexYell

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