Bring on the FOMC !

FOMC 

The FOMC meeting next week has a hike fully priced in so the focus will be on the dot plots and the follow-up presser which has dollar bulls questioning their near-term positions.

The meeting will be overly scrutinised to see if there are any changes in the projections, with new Vice-chair Clarida voting for the first time. Also, Chair Powell will likely be quizzed on Fed Governor Lael Brainard view that US interest will probably need to be made more restrictive in the sense that at some point in the future if the unemployment rate remains low, policy rates should move above neutral and into the restrictive territory.

Dovish tail risk

And herein lies the dovish tail risk which has  USD Bulls erring on the side of caution. With 2 US rates hikes priced into  the rest of 2018 and in the absence of inflation, it’s almost impossible for the  Feds to bump up the 2019 curve. So, the markets will end up focusing on shifts in the longball forecast into 2020 which is not the best or brightest of signals for currency traders who tend to view markets in much nearer time horizons. Even if the Feds prod 2020 curve higher, its unclear how much of a USD fillip that shift could deliver given that Chair Jay Powell has contiued to de-emphasise 2020 dots. Unless we get an unexpected shift in the Feds terminal policy range of 2.75-3.00%, not sure the dollar ( X -JPY) goes anywhere but trades within well-worn ranges.

What else in G-10?

AS for the rest of G10, there will be no shift from RBNZ, but in the wake of the surprisingly strong data of late especially the monster GDP beat, we could see a subtle less dovish change in guidance.

It’s not a busy calendar next week per say but dotted by US PCE and EUR sentiment surveys. Canada delivers a GDP report, but NAFTA talks will continue to overshadow data as yet another NAFTA month-end deadline looms.

Brexit Blues 

It’s back to the Brexit drawing board after EU leaders “Chequers mated “and utterly humiliated May at the Salzburg meeting which sent the Pound tumbling below the 1.3100 before finding some composure. Of course, most believe a deal in some form or another will eventually happen. But in the nub of all this Brexit bluster, UK data has been surging with both CPI and Retail Sales beating expectations, but indeed  Brexit uncertainty has overshadowed.  Next week’s UK GDP data could be another strong point, however, with little to no breakthrough on Brexit likely to happen any time soon, The Bank of England will remain unwavering until clarity on Brexit it offered up so the market will likely look past next weeks UK data.

Great insights from our Senior Markets Analyst in London, Craig Erlam  

Sterling Down on May Brexit Warnings

OANDA Market Insights podcast (episode 32)

Craig reviews the week’s business and market news with Jazz FM Business Breakfast presenter Jonny Hart.

This week’s big stories: Sterling wobbles on Brexit fears, US/China tariffs tit for tat, Inflation hike against expectations.

China 

China PMI which will be closely monitored. Also, we should expect more trade headlines to come into play as both US and China tease with the idea of resurrecting trade talks.

USD Price Action 

Gauging this weeks price action in the wake of Trump tariff announcement, the markets overwhelming viewed the 10 % on 200 billion tariff levy and the measured responses from China as a smoke signal for further negotiation shortly. So the unwind of global USD hedges ensued as the market just found themselves far too long USD at not such grand levels. But the robust fundamental storyline in the US economy coupled with weak PMI data in Eurozone this week, I don’t think we’ve heard the last from the dollar bulls just yet.

Currencies in focus next week

EUR: a huge disappointment to the bulls with a close below 1.1750. While Fed forward guidance will drive the bus next week, the negative  EU PMI lean could hang like an anvil around the EURO neck.

CNH: It has to be on everyone’s radar especially after this weeks exodus of long USD hedge position on a combination of Trade war de-escalation, comments that mainland will not weaponise the Yuan as a tool in the trade war and offshore funding squeeze on the back Pboc to sell bills in Hong Kong. Despite the correction lower in USDCNH, given that China’s current account surplus is expected to shrink as a result of US tariffs and if the Feds signal clear dot plot sailing or even shift slight higher, CNH could sell off again.

Oil markets

Traders will pay close attention to Sunday headlines from Algiers as OPEC, and cooperating non-OPEC producers will meet on Sunday in Algeria

Likely seeking to appease President Trump, unnamed members of OPEC suggested they would discuss adding 500 K barrels per day, and while it gave cause to book some profit and reduce risk, its highly unlikely anything dealing with supplies will happen before the December 3 OPEC summit.

Despite wire reports suggestions otherwise, most of the oil traders in my circle, and despite the usual OPEC headline noise, think the meeting will be little more than the steering committee review of production and market data.

Please join me on Live on Monday discussing cross-asset markets 

BFM Radio Kuala Lumpur  7:35 AM SGT  on the Market Watch

938Now 9:00 AM SGT for an extended view  on global markets

France 24 TV at 12:15 SGT for the European Open coverage

Jazz FM London 1:00 PM SGT discussing the Asia markets today

 

 

 

 

Sterling lower as EU rejects May Brexit proposal

Investors in buoyant mood despite trade tariffs

Investors continue to brush off the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China, along with negative Brexit developments in Salzburg, with stocks in Europe trading higher to end the week.

Another winning day would cap a very good week for stock markets, with the Dow and S&P 500 both trading in record territory – the first time for the former since January – and those in Europe and Asia very much taking new US and Chinese tariffs in their stride. This may be a case of the tariffs already being priced in or being a little softer than was expected, but the important thing is it’s far from the end and investors may not be so buoyant if Donald Trump responds quickly and aggressively as he’s suggested he will.

Sterling slips as May is humiliated in Salzburg

The pound is paring its gains on Friday after the EU rejected Theresa May’s Chequers proposal, casting doubt on a compromise being found despite the UK being only months from leaving the block. Clearly traders don’t view this as too significant a setback or I would expect the drop off in the currency to be much larger and the rejection hardly comes as a surprise given that officials have publicly criticised the proposal in the past.

GBPUSD Daily Chart

OANDA fxTrade Advanced Charting Platform

That said, reports do suggest that EU officials have taken a harder line against May following her insistence that it’s Chequers or no deal. Clearly they believe this is a bluff and haven’t taken to kindly to such a stance so late in the day. May now faces a tough challenge in returning to the UK ahead of the Conservative party conference no closer to a deal than she was before, leaving her with a massive target on her back as certain colleagues look to position themselves as a better alternative.

Euro edges lower on weaker PMIs

The euro is also paring earlier gains after PMIs for September painted a slightly gloomier picture, particularly for the manufacturing sector where trade conflicts, Brexit and falling global demand contributed to a decline in optimism. Manufacturers are clearly a little nervous about the number of risks for the sector and the volatility and difficulties in emerging markets right now will not be giving them much reason for optimism.

EURUSD Daily Chart

The euro area has been experiencing something of a slowdown for much of the year but this hasn’t deterred the ECB which still plans to end its bond buying program in December and consider a rate hike in the second half of next year. The latter plans may be shelved though if the economic situation doesn’t improve, something policy makers hope will naturally follow an easing of trade tensions and resolution on Brexit. Right now though this feels a long way away.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

The morning after

The morning after

US equity market has wholly shrugged off yesterday’s back and forth on US-China trade, as the robust US economy continues to sway investors. However, when we look back at the 2018 stock market run, a lot of ink will be spilt about the benefits of US repatriation flows which are keeping balance sheet flush which could  lead to   higher levels of capital spending, and in a low rates environment, should continue to support a more robust corporate earnings narrative.

While there’s a whole lot that can go upside down in US trade negotiations with  China, Europe and Canada and despite the market taking the bluster in stride, history tells us that tariffs are detrimental for global trade and commerce. As such the current levels of market buoyancy belie the possible groundswell that could overrun markets.

The bottom line why the market didn’t react negatively was the lack of shock and awe given the tariffs were so well telegraphed.

Oil Markets 

Oil prices remain supported despite a larger than expected build in the API US crude inventories report, but stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point declined 1.6 million barrels according to the API.

Traders are ignoring today’s API data given while focusing on news from the middle east

Prices firmed when Russia pointed the finger at Israel when one of their reconnaissance planes was shot down, although it was later determined to be a  Syrian defence missle.  None the less any type of escalation in the middle east provided a fillip for oil prices.

But it was comments from Saudi oil officials that continues to resonate. It was only two weeks ago traders were assuming that OPEC was prepared to keep Brent trading between 70 and 80 per barrel. However, overnight chatter suggests that the Saudis are more than happy with a Brent price above $80 or that OPEC, more generally, is not considering raising output.

The September 23 OPEC+ meeting in Algiers turning into a significant affair with 20+ nation set to attend. It appears Saudis are putting their cards on the table ahead of the meeting and is currently being view through a bullish lens.

Gold Markets 

Continues to be driven by the USD, given the lack of clear direction overnight, the market continues to teeter-totter around the critical $1200 levels.

Currency Markets

JPY was the worst performing currency over the past 24 hours due to higher US yields and a more buoyant risk market, and of course, the Nikkei benefits through the weaker yen better for exports feedback loop.

Some focus on the BoJ meeting today. Expected to tow the line but forward guidance is the key after BoJ was discussing throughout the summer about tapering.

CAD was among the best-performing currencies globally on broader sentiment. Investors are waiting to restart conversations trader took the following in a very positive light House Majority Whip Steve Scalise stated. “While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement.”

AUD the return of global risk appetite has the Aussie bulls coming out of the woodwork. But with the A$ the main G-10 proxy to express China risk, I think the top side will be limited given the sheer volumes of headline risk.

MYR: Higher oil prices and a favourable risk environment should see the Ringgit trade more favourably, but the surge in US yields will temper trader’s expectations

Live FX analysis – 18 September 2018 (Video)

Senior Market Analyst Craig Erlam discusses the key market themes from the summer – most notably US tariffs and Brexit – and the events to watch out for this week.

Craig also gives his live analysis on EURUSD (17:48), GBPUSD (21:36), EURGBP (24:42), AUDUSD (25:44), USDCAD (28:33), GBPCAD (31:02), NZDUSD (32:41), USDJPY (34:16), GBPJPY (35:25) and EURJPY (36:31).

Copper melts

MANILA, Sept 18 (Reuters) – London copper drifted lower for a third session running on Tuesday as China vowed to respond to the latest U.S. tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese goods, exacerbating the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

In imposing the new tariffs, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that if China takes retaliatory action against U.S. farmers or industries, “we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”

China’s commerce ministry said the country has no choice but to retaliate against the fresh U.S. tariffs and hopes the United States would correct its behaviour.

“We know China can’t go tit for tat as they don’t have enough U.S. goods to tax,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at OANDA brokerage.

“So, if there is a more heavy-handed approach such as flat-out import restriction or overtly weakening the yuan, it could certainly bring the big market bears out of hibernation,” Innes said in a note to clients.

Commodities Weekly: Copper nears 15-month low as fresh tariffs announced

CNBC via Reuters

Seeing the forest for the trees

Seeing the forest for the trees

With trade war dominating the landscape, even more so after this morning’s US tariff headline, it’s easy to focus on markets from a one-dimensional perspective. But cross-asset trading is multidimensional and observing the more granular details can offer much-needed clarity in these difficult times.

US Markets

Certainly, Trade war worries are talking their tool on global equities with even the Teflon US markets showing some fraying at the edges. But today’s compass suggests trade-related global equity weakness is due to tech, as opposed to emerging markets or China. Apple, for example, does a booming bilateral business with China and with investors veering to the notion that recent weakness in U.S. tech is a result of administration earlier tariffs then a 200 billion wallop is being perceived particularly damning even for the remarkably resilient US heavyweights in the tech sector.

Ultimately equity markets remain in wait an see as big unknown remains Chinas response which will set the tone for risk sentiment. After all, much of this tariff headline was well telegraphed.

We know China can’t go tit for tat as they don’t have enough US goods to tax. So, if there is a more heavy-handed approach such as flat-out import restriction or overtly weakening the Yuan, it could certainly bring the big market bears out of hibernation.

With the US  implementing a graduated tariff hike, starting with 10 % on 200 billion and moving to 25 % at the start of 2019. The ball is clearly in China’s court. While the   US tariffs salvo is hardly middling, it’s not a bad as it could have been, so unless China hits with draconian measures, markets should remain supported after this morning knee-jerk reactions. Ultimately the graduated tariff hike allows more room to negotiate before the thumping 25 % levy gets triggered, so perhaps China may temper their response accordingly.

Smartwatches and Bluetooth devices were removed from the tariff list, suggesting the President is “watching” the market while taking the US heavyweight giants and US consumer under consideration.

Oil Prices
Iran sanctions will continue to provide near-term support, while discussions around global demand in the wake of this morning tariffs and speculation of further OPEC supply increases should temper upside ambitions.

Oil futures posted a minor loss on Monday. After finding some support from potential global supply losses among various OPEC countries (Iran and Venezuela). But prices eventually gave way and are tracking the CRB index lower pressured on the prospects that US tariff will negatively impact global demand.

Also, Washington continues to suggest that Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States can raise output fast enough to offset falling supplies from Iran.

The September 23 OPEC+ meeting in Algiers is taking on a bit of life of a life of its own as what was initially thought to be a be a fundamental review of production data by OPEC’s steering committee has now turned into 20+ nation affair. Suggesting everyone wants a seat at the table most likely to discuss the supply disruption from Iranian sanctions, which is leading to speculation that further production increases will be presented at the meeting.

Gold Markets

Another case of rinse and repeat
A modestly weaker dollar and aggressive short-covering pushed gold above the $1200 teeter-totter level, this despite a more hawkish lean from Fed-speak last week. Besides, haven buyers continued showing some bravado felling more confident buying gold when the dollar is fading which is provided with a subtle tailwind for prices overnight as investors brace for possible more massive tariffs than what’s currently priced into the markets. But price action remains entirely dollar driven. So, what the dollar giveth the dollar taketh as USD haven demand is back in vogue post-trade announcement.

Further risk response will be dependant on China response.

Currency Markets

I am challenged not dollar bullish from a pragmatic US interest rate storyline. But of course, price action needs to be respected especially with the EUR veering towards 1.1700 again. The strong US economy suggests USD yields have further room to run. And when former doves like Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who I dare say, is starting to roost with the Hawks, it’s giving clear signals that this sitting Fed is more hawkish than the markets 2019 rates lean.

The Chinese Yaun 

The primary trade war currency hedge is back in play with USDCNH moving above 6.89 as the market awaits Chinas response. But seller should emerge given how quick the market response has been to take USDCNH higher and the uncertainty over Pboc’s next move.

Euro

With Trade ware dominating headlines early Monday morning it’s easy to overlook some basics shift in EU zone fear index with European Bank Index and CDS curve suggesting Italy’s risk premium is getting priced out the equation. Even Turkey, despite another currency wobble yesterday, is stabilising somewhat on the recent astonishing CBT rate hike. The diminishing fear factors could push Bund higher and provide support for the Euro.

Australian Dollar

The Australian Dollar has weakened on the 20 pips on the tariff news in consort with USDCNH moving higher as the Aussie will remain a G-10 proxy for China risk, so it’s susceptible to more headline wobbles in coming days especially China response which could be extremely crucial for risk sentiment. But so far, the Aussie reaction is pretty much following the tariff playbook.

We do have the RBA, but I suspect its unlikely to alter today’s negative Aussie lean.

Japanese Yen
Risk has wobbled on the Trade headline triggering some modest haven moves to the Yen. But volumes are light, as frankly market at his stage are not panicking as the bulk of this tariff headline was already factored.

Canadian Dollar

The Lonnie is sagging, but this is possibly more about positioning as the markets found themselves short around the 1.3000, and with the CAD $ Perma -bears failing to yield that level,  the tariff headlines have triggered more short covering. But moves toward towards 1.3100 will likely be faded as NAFTA discussion are still going on.

Malaysian Ringgit

The recent support for EM central banks (Russian, Turkey and India) is buffeting the EM complex.
The 200 billion in tariffs, while negative for regional sentiment, is not as impactful for the Ringgit as the currency remains relatively insulated due to domestic oil exports and improved term s of trade. But higher US interest rates do pose some significant concerns, especially if a more hawkish fed vs a more dovish BNM does come to fruition.

Battered and bruised

Battered and bruised

It was a tough week for the markets leaving many participants battered and bruised, but the great thing about this industry, is we get to do it all over again next week.

US 10y yields went on to test 3.0% Friday after a string of constructive  US data, and Fed speaks supported the market’s base case for the Fed to continue with gradual hikes through year-end. Beyond there, the Fed’s outlook remains in wait and see mode, but with US 10’s yields making a run higher, the pragmatic view supports the long USD with the AUD offering is the path of least resistance.

No surprise Trump reportedly wants to proceed with the pending tariff list of USD200bn against China amid resuming negotiations.

The never-ending ping-pong match around BREXIT continues, and the levels of market frustration are loud.

Welcome new Fed member. Mary Daly, who has been named the head of the San Fran Fed, effective October 1, meaning that Esther George will still cast a vote for the regional Fed in September. Daly was the market’s choice so no risk on the appointment.

ARS continued to struggle, despite the central bank’s non-stop attempts to support it after  “The expected disbursement of USD3bn from the International Monetary Fund to Argentina will be delayed until renewed negotiations conclude, according to an Economy Ministry spokesperson.”  Could this be a foreshadowing of a negative emerging market lean next week? So, with TRY way to expensive to short, traders could start to look at the weakest links in the chain with IDR and INR the leading candidates to express a bearish EM view.

CNH fell against USD on Trumps China tariff noise despite treasury secretary Mnuchin’s attempts to broker a trade deal with China. But USDCNH, even in the absence of trade war rhetoric, should move higher near term from the most fundamental of views.

USDCNH  remains at the epicentre of my USD views, but ECB President Draghi is playing down the risks posed by Italy’s fiscal situation, there is a definite tail risk for the EURO to crater on any Italy escalation. While Italian risk remains at the cappuccino in a coffee cup level, the EURO bears will be ready to seize the opportunity on any EU political wobbles.

But it would be sheer folly not keep an eye on the 1.1730 level which is the August high, and, on a break, we can move much higher. Draghi was much less dovish than most projected, so there is cause for the EURUSD to grind higher.

With USDJPY waking up from what feels like a 2-month slumber the BoJ meeting does take on a higher level of importance than many had expected. Its great having USDJPY back in the fold.

Oil Markets

Brent crude oil tested decent support level on Friday following up on Thursdays bearish shift in near-term sentiment driven primarily on the build in US oil products but trimmed losses into the close. While WTI dips remained supported by the larger-than-expected 5.3 million barrels decline in US inventories. But perhaps short covering as options on October WTI crude oil will expire on Monday probably influence given the markets lean. But with the risk-reward calculus not signalling a bullish setup for energy in general, in the absence of any supply disruption, the markets could struggle ahead of the OPEC meeting as oil producers were making a convincing argument that a likely downturn in the Global economy could hurt oil demand. Of course, this is from a soothsayer’s perspective. And while impossible to quantify these unknowns, what we do know it that the weaker EM currency profile would most certainly hurt consumers appetite at the tertiary level of the demand curve. But Chinese commodity demand has appeared not to be destroyed by the 25% US tariffs on $34bn as China continues to offset trade headwinds by upping fiscal spend.

In the wake of depleting oil inventories Baker Hughes US Crude Oil Drilling Rig Count hit +7 last week.

Gold Markets 

The string of positive US economic data on Friday supporting the markets base case Fed outlook, dented Golds appeal into the close. With US 10’s hitting the psychologically significant 3 % level on Friday, we could see more traders feasting with the Gold bears on Monday.

A bullish confluence in oil markets

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices slipped on Thursday, although U.S. crude remained above $70 a barrel on the back of falling crude inventories and Brent was still close to $80 because of looming sanctions against Iran.

Brent rose above $80 per barrel the previous session for the first time since May, spurred by expectations that U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, which will start in November, will tighten global markets.

U.S. crude inventories C-STK-T-EIA fell 5.3 million barrels in the week to Sept. 7 to 396.2 million barrels, the lowest since February 2015 and about 3 per cent below the five-year average for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its weekly report on Wednesday.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore, said crude inventory data for last week showed “a much deeper drop than analyst’s expectations … propelling Brent briefly above the fundamental and psychological $80 a barrel for the first time since May, and was equally as supportive for the WTI contract.”

U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA fell by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 10.9 million bpd.

Innes said the slight dips on Thursday came as rising refined product inventories, which the EIA also reported, “slightly dampened market overexuberance” as it indicated that U.S. fuel demand may be weakening.

Overall, however, Innes said “the confluence of bullish near-term signals (of) Iran sanctions and sinking U.S. crude inventories should keep oil prices supported for the remainder of the week.”

 

Reuters

Edge of the seat type stuff !

Edge of the seat type stuff!

US Markets

After wobbling most of the day in extremely choppy markets, the US equity market finished mostly higher supported by higher oil prices and news that the US has formally sent an invitation to China to resume trade talks. But festivities were tempered as the market gave a nod to comments earlier in the week from crucial Whitehouse advisor Kudlow stated that ” important information. ” needs to be answered before celebrating. But none the less with both parties scheduled to resume trade talks it should be viewed in a positive light. AS such the USDCNH dip triggered an across the board sell-off on the US dollar as some short CNH trade war hedges unwound, gold headed back towards the top of its one month range, and Brent briefly hit $80 for the first time since May.

Oil markets

Are the  Bulls are back in control?

Administration crude inventories data for last week indicated 5.3 million barrels draw from commercial crude stocks, and while lower than the 8.6 million barrels registered by the American Petroleum Institute report but a much deeper drop than analyst’s expectations. Propelling Brent briefly above the fundamental and psychological $80 a barrel for the first time since May and was equally as supportive for the WTI contract. However, both benchmarks are trading off intraday highs heading into the Asia session as  the distillate inventories which increased by 6.2 million barrels last week, more than the 5.8 million barrels  gain in the API numbers and excessively more than expected, slightly dampened market overexuberance as indeed much weaker demand over the Labor Day holiday was a significant factor.

There remains a lot of noise in this week’s markets, but the confluence of bullish near-term signals, Iran sanction and sinking US crude inventories should keep oil prices supported for the remainder of the week. But traders are now pivoting to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members meeting next week in Algeria.

In that light, Brent does feel a wee bit testy above $ 80, notwithstanding the immediate contract sitting comfortably in the green with a bullish tailwind. Yesterday’s comments from Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, who stated in a leading newswire interview that the country could increase output by as much as 300k bpd in the medium-term, back to post-Soviet records seen last in October of 2016. However, he went on to say that they will not make any decisions as to whether the market requires additional barrels until it’s meeting with fellow OPEC countries. And keep in mind there is still that lingering notion that OPEC may want to keep Brent in the $ 70-80, which has been supported by the charts the past five months.

Eyes along with prayers remain directed on the US east coast as Hurricane Florence quickly approached landfall. The storm’s trajectory remains relatively unchanged from yesterday as it is expected to miss all significant refineries. And while not a substantial threat to US production it has turned traders into Google meteorologist who is trying to forecast if a Hurricane will eventually sweep through the Gulf given the numbers of tropical storms brewing in the Atlantic Ocean this hurricane season.

Gold Markets

It almost feels counterintuitive to suggest a de-escalation in US-China trade war has provided a tailwind for Gold, but therein lies the fact that Gold is trading entirely and the mercy of the US dollar. And that to judge Gold by any other metric in this environment provides an indecisive, inconclusive and highly inconsequential signal. But there will be much to be said for the USD near-term direction during the next 24 hours as currency, and cross-asset traders remain coiled to spring in either direction as the US CPI will likely set the stage for the US dollar next move.

Currencies

Beyond the headlines, much of the overnight price action could be a function of paring risk ahead of the hugely busy day with BOE, ECB, plus AUD jobs German, French and US CPIs to navigate. But everyone across the currency world is also watching to see just how definitive a signal the Turkish Central Bank will deliver to quell emerging markets bloodletting.

USDCNH sold off from 6.8725 towards 6.8270 on news that the US has sent an invitation to China resume trade talks posted and indeed the greed of the move suggest most traders were caught overly wrong and long as the USDCNH was being viewed as a primary vehicle to hedge trade war risk.
While fundamentals still support the view USDCNH higher, the unwinding of trade war hedges is undoubtedly providing an unexpected shift in near-term sentiment and led to a substantial USD dollar sell-off globally.

Also, the US PPI was weaker than expected which had the US dollar leaning slightly lower.

From the more critical picture scenario, overnight price action was a cause and effect of a myriad of events that included position trimming and a reversal of fortune for the Yuan bears.

ON the other trade war front, Mexico made headlines for seeing a “high chance” of a US-Canada compromise with Nafta, and that sent USDCAD to the 1.3000 level. Canadian Dollar has reacted favourably, and as we get down to the nitty-gritty and on any trilateral NAFTA announcement, the USDCAD could drop to the low 1.29’s in a heartbeat, but in the meantime, we could be in for more stop and go on headline risk.

Malaysian Ringgit

Higher oil prices and a weaker dollar and optimism of US-China trade relations does suggest a stronger opening for the Ringgit, but I suspect with investors in pins and needles ahead of the next 24 hours of risk. Traders will remain cautious knowing that there is that small matter of the Federal Reserve Board and the prospects of higher US interest rates which are probably are a considerable obstacle for Malaysian capital markets as higher yield in US bonds lessens the Malaysian bond appeal from foreign investors and naturally weighs on Ringgit sentiment.

Asia risk continues to wobble ( OANDA Trading Podcast 938Now)

Will we get fireworks from BoE and ECB?

What to expect from a not-so-super Thursday

Thursday has the potential to be another interesting day in the markets, with interest rate decisions due from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

It’s not often that we hear from two major central banks on the same day, let alone around the same time, but when we do there’s always the potential for some turbulence.

Both central banks are in the early days of their respective tightening cycles, with the BoE having recently raised interest rates above 0.5% for the first time since the financial crisis and the ECB drawing its quantitative easing program to a close at the end of this year.

While there’ll still be plenty of cash sloshing around the financial system until they start the process of reducing their balance sheets – as the Federal Reserve is currently experimenting with – the moves being undertaken represent a very cautious and gradual tightening that traders are monitoring very closely for any signs that they may lose their nerve.

This is particularly true in the current environment with the UK and EU locked in Brexit negotiations as the 31 March deadline draws ever near. Protectionism is another key risk factor with US President Donald Trump threatening tariffs on the block. Add to that the struggles being experienced in emerging markets at the moment – a major trade partner of Europe – and the jobs of the central banks become that much harder.

We already appear to be seeing a slowdown in numerous economies across Europe due to a combination of these factors, something the central banks don’t appear to concerned about just yet but may do should they persist.

USD/JPY – Japanese yen gains ground

What should I be looking at?

The obvious chart is EURGBP given that these are the two currencies most sensitive to what the BoE and ECB do. The closely linked nature of the two economies can mean we see less powerful swings in this pair though than we do certain others which can make it more or less appealing, depending on preferences.

EURGBP Daily Chart

OANDA fxTrade Advanced Charting Platform

The euro has definitely had the better of things throughout the summer, with no deal Brexit being viewed as a far greater risk for the UK than the eurozone, which is understandable. What this means though is that if the two sides do start to find common ground, we may see this trend reverse course, as we have over the last couple of weeks when we’ve had some more positive news flow.

That trend may already have changed, with last week’s sell-off taking us below the rising trend line and potentially signalling a shift in sentiment in the market. Obviously that won’t change the outcome of the meetings, or press conference in the case of the ECB, but it does give a sense of bias heading into it.

Sterling Pauses on Reports of Leadership Challenge

Both currencies have found some form against the US dollar over the last month following a rough summer but are yet to see the spark that gives some confidence that they’ve broken into a more sustainable uptrend. They’ll definitely be ones to watch heading into the meetings.

EURUSD Daily Chart

GBPUSD Daily Chart

What can we expect from the meetings?

My expectations are actually quite low for the meetings. The reason why is that it seems to suit both central banks to stay under the radar for now. Both have made important first steps towards normalization and are in no rush and with Brexit on the horizon, now is not a good time to be changing course, especially as they don’t have to.

Both have laid out quite clear plans for the next year and even if they don’t stick to them – which there’s a good chance they don’t given the amount of unknowns and risks – the important thing is that investors are largely on board and the economies are doing ok. I don’t think they’ll want to mess with that.

So I don’t expect any changes in interest rates or QE this month and we can probably expect ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference to be a rather dull affair.

Famous last words eh….