USD/CAD – Loonie Rallies on Inflation Data

Statistics Canada data this morning showed that headline inflation in Canada slowed last month, while measures of underlying prices strengthened to their highest level in 18-months.

Canada’s consumer-price index rose +1.7% y/y in January, following a +1.9% advance in December.

Market expectations were for a +1.5% lift. On a month-over-month basis, prices rose +0.7% in January versus an expected print of +0.4%.

Digging deeper, today’s report indicated underlying, or core, inflation strengthened in the month. Underlying prices rose in a range from +1.8% to +1.9%, for an average of +1.83% – the highest level since mid-2016. The average in the previous month was +1.76%.

The ‘loonie’ is up +0.51% against the U.S dollar, trading atop of C$1.2659. The CAD was trading north of C$1.2712 just before this morning’s release.

Fed Rhetoric to Dictate Dollar Direction

Friday February 23: Five things the markets are talking about

Ahead of the U.S open, Euro equities are struggling for direction after a positive Asian session as the market debates the outlook for central banks ‘normalizing’ their policies.

Euro bonds have gained along with Treasuries, while the dollar steadies after yesterday’s drop.

With no U.S data on the docket today, the market will shift its attention towards a plethora of Fed speakers doing the rounds.

First up will be New York Fed Chief, William Dudley, who kicks off proceedings at 10:00 am EDT as he addresses the “Monetary Policy Forum” in Chicago.

Note: Dudley is making his final rounds of appearances before his retirement.

Appearing at the same conference shall be Boston Fed President Rosengren, who is one of the Fed’s more “dovish” members, but who is not a “voter” this year.

Ms. Mester, the President of the Cleveland Fed, will be speaking at the same conference this afternoon at 1:00 PM EDT. She is a “voter” this year and a “hawk.”

Finally, Mr. Williams, the President of the San Francisco Fed, a “voter” on the FOMC this year and generally considered a “moderate,” will be speaking to a group on the west coast on the economy and monetary policy at 03:40 pm EDT.

1. Stocks gain in thin trading

In Japan, stocks rallied in light trade as receding fears of more aggressive U.S interest rate hikes boosted sentiment. The benchmark Nikkei ended +0.7% higher. For the week, it was up +0.8%.The broader Topix gained +0.8%.

Down-under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed +0.8% higher to cap its best week since Oct. In S. Korea, the Kospi had its best day since Oct. 10 rising +1.5%.

In Hong Kong, stocks rose overnight, capping a holiday-shortened trading week, as main indexes managed to recover much of the damage done during the recent rout. The Hang Seng index rose +1.0%, while the China Enterprises Index gained +1.7%.

In China, shares extended their rebound overnight, on sign’s that the Chinese government is once again supporting the stock market. The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up +0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained +0.6% in a holiday-shortened week. Both indexes have rebounded over +7% from a low print on Feb. 9.

Note: One of China’s largest insurance companies, Anbang Insurance Group, was seized as it violated laws and regulations that could seriously endanger the solvency of the company.

In Europe, regional indices trade mixed this morning with strength in the Italian MIB offset by weakness in the Spanish Ibex and FTSE.

U.S stocks are set to open in the ‘black’ (+0.3%).

Indices: Stoxx600 flat at 380.4, FTSE -0.2% at 7238, DAX +0.1% at 12470, CAC-40 flat at 5310, IBEX-35 -0.2% at 9858, FTSE MIB +0.4% at 22541, SMI -0.6% at 8917, S&P 500 Futures +0.3%

2. Crude oil prices rally, gold little changed

Crude oil prices remain better bid and range bound following the release of this week’s EIA inventory report, which showed a somewhat surprising decline in crude oil inventories on the order of -2.3m barrels compared to the average increase of +3.4m barrels in the previous five-years.

U.S oil production last week was steady at +10.27m bpd, a record level, while crude exports jumped to more than +2m bpd, close to a record +2.1m hit in October.

Crude bulls are beginning to ask if the “bull” rally could fade away as the U.S. oil production undermines the OPEC production cut commitments.

Note: The decline in crude inventories was particularly acute in Cushing. U.S oil refineries averaged approximately +15.8m bpd during the week ending February 16 or about -330k fewer bpd than last week previous.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are little changed, but the ‘yellow metal’ remains on track for its sharpest weekly drop in nearly three-months. Spot gold is down -0.1% at +$1,329.16 an ounce.

Note: Prices gained +0.6% Thursday, their biggest one-day percentage rise since Feb. 14. The precious metal remains on track for its biggest weekly fall since the week ended Dec. 8, 2017.

3. Sovereign yields fall

Capital markets remains somewhat sceptical that the recent streak of data on wage growth, consumer prices and producer prices points to a rapid acceleration in inflation on either side of the Atlantic.

Data this morning from the Eurozone showed that consumer price growth slowed slightly last month (see below), but the core-measure edged a tad higher for the first time in months.

The ten-year U.S yield has eased, but remains atop of their 2014 high print, while those on German bunds dropped to the lowest since early January.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased -2 bps to +2.90%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has fallen -2 bps to +0.70%, the lowest in four weeks. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has declined -2 bps to +1.546%. In Japan, 10-year JGB’s yield has dipped less than -1 bps to +0.05%, the lowest in more than seven-weeks.

4. Dollar on the back foot

The U.S dollar is modestly weaker as the market is apparently ready to accept as a given that the Fed shall move at least three times this year to tighten monetary policy and to raise the overnight fed funds rate. The only question is whether the Fed shall move for a fourth time and by how much?

For the ‘single’ unit, it’s not only next weekend’s Italian general election (Mar 4) that poses a risk to the EUR (€1.2313), but also Sunday week is the same date that Germany’s SPD party members will vote on the proposed CDU/SPD coalition. The market is currently pricing in a +40-50% chance of a rejection, a result that could see Chancellor Angela Merkel step down.

Elsewhere, the pound (£1.3950) has edged a tad higher after U.K’s PM Theresa May won the backing of her divided Brexit “war cabinet” to ask for an ambitious trade deal with the E.U.

The SEK (€10.0388) is a tad softer outright as the market felt that the Riksbank Feb minutes this morning were on the softer side with concerns lingering over inflation and the exchange rate given the recent negative surprise with Jan CPI data.

5. Eurozone Jan CPI unrevised, but still a distance from target

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the ‘single unit’ fell -0.9% m/m in January for a +1.3% y/y increase.

Ex-food and energy, or core-inflation, fell -1.3% m/m and rallied +1.2% y/y, accelerating from +1.1% in the previous three months.

An even broader measure of core inflation, which in addition excludes alcohol and tobacco prices, also increased to +1.0% y/y in January from +0.9% in the previous three-months.

Forex heatmap

24 hours of reconciliation

24 hours of reconciliation
It took all of 24 hours for the results of the rationality test to kick in after traders took time to the read the minutes from Wednesday. Not a heck of a lot has changed in the Feds view. The minutes were far more balanced than the equity market sell-off suggested. The discussions about their inflation target being symmetric indicate that the Feds are less concerned about the updraft from inflationary pressures than current market pricing. Overall there were few if any significant hawkish shift and traders have started to nimbly re-engage the US dollar downside not waiting until Powell’s key Humphrey Hawkins testimony which should clear up more than a few policy concerns.

The Feds will raise interest rates in March on the back of two strong inflation prints post-January meeting, but the market remains comfortably parked in the three rate hike camp for 2018.
This new Fed Chair will be as data dependent as his predecessor so, in reality, no one knows for sure what the Feds will do other than hike somewhere between two and four times in 2018.

Bond Markets

The bond markets continue to trade from a bear market bias, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon given the burdening supply issues which are compounded as the Feds delicately and gingerly pull back on QE largess.

Stock Markets
US equity market rebounded as concerns over rising US interest rates abate. If you were confused by Wednesday 50 pips downside adventure on the S&P post-FOMC minutes, you were not alone. However, until the dust is settled on the Fed policy debate, we should expect more back and forth ahead of Jerome Powells Humphrey Hawkins testimony.
Oil markets

Oil market bid was boosted by DoE inventories which saw a draw of -1.616 million barrels which far better than consensus and more profound than the -.9mn print by the API. While the market continues to communicate concern over rising levels of shale production, this bullish inventory data coupled with a slightly softer USD profile, it’s easy to see why oil prices are finding fresh session highs going into the NY close.
Gold Markets

Gold continues to act as less of a haven hedge and more as a proxy for USD sentiment. Given the greenback is trading within a restricted range as the stage is getting prepared for new Chair Jerome Powell, gold will remain supported by the $ 1324-25 levels given the markets ubiquitous bias to sell the USD.  But the topside should also stay in check as most traders will opt to only aggressively re-engage in  USD downside after Powell clears the policy airwaves in his Humphrey Hawkins testimony.

The Japanese Yen

No need to jump the gun, today’s CPI data will be a crucial driver in JPY sentiment. Post data comments to follow.

The Euro
Fact of fiction, the Euro remains a point of contention, but topside conviction remains low ahead of the Italian election compounded by softer EU economic data.

The Malaysian Ringgit 

The USDMYR landscape is a bit muddled, and this air of uncertainty could extend, more so if opinion on the soft dollar narrative become less reliable. Rising US interest rates and the markets growing sensitivity to local economic data presents some near-term challenges for the Ringgit. Ultimately we believe that US rates are in the process of topping but until we get a definitive signal from the New Fed chair, hopefully, next week, we should expect offshore flows to remain light in the short run.

None the less the Ringgit is getting support from higher oil prices and given we are far removed from the USDJMYR 4.0 danger zone, longer-term investors should continue to look for opportunistic levels to re-engage long MYR posting

The Chinese Yaun

Markets in China return from a week-long holiday only to discover the US has initiated another anti-dumping probe.. This time for rubber bands. Certainly sounds more bark than the bit, but non the less trade war discussion is picking up.

Continue to favour a constructive view on the Yuan given the markets negative USD bias. But he RMB complex will most certainly benefit from expected bond inflows which should accelerate as we move through 2018.

CAC Ticks Lower, Eurozone CPI Ahead

The CAC index has posted slight losses in the Thursday session. Currently, the index is at 5,299.00, down 0.06% since the close on Wednesday. On the release front, French CPI declined 0.1%, matching the forecast. This marked the first decline in four months.As well, the ECB released the minutes of its January policy meeting. On Friday, the eurozone publishes Final CPI.

It’s been a rough ride February for global stock markets, and the CAC has shed 3.9 percent so far this month. Much of the correction can be attributed to concerns of tighter policy from both the Federal Reserve and the ECB. Ironically, these concerns have been heightened by strong economic data in the eurozone and the US, which have stoked fear of higher inflation and more rate hikes. Analysts are forecasting that the Fed could change its projection of three hikes in 2018, and could press the rate trigger four or five times. As for the ECB, it appears in no rush to raise interest rates anytime soon, and there is little pressure to do so, as there is plenty of slack in the economy. However, the ECB asset purchase program is scheduled to wind up in September, and if eurozone growth remains solid and inflation moves upwards, there will be pressure on the ECB to raise rates in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early in 2019.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its January meeting, and as expected, the benchmark rate was left unchanged at a rate between 1.25% and 1.50%. The message from policymakers was that further rate hikes could be in the cards, due to strong economic conditions in the US. In the words of the minutes, policymakers “anticipated that the rate of economic growth in 2018 would exceed their estimates of its sustainable longer-run pace and that labor market conditions would strengthen further”. At the December meeting, the Fed penciled in three rate hikes in 2018, and there was no reference to a quicker pace of hikes in the January minutes. As for inflation, the minutes did not reveal any concern. Most Fed members were of the opinion that inflation would rise towards the Fed target of 2 percent.

 

Economic Calendar

Thursday (February 22)

  • 2:45 French Final CPI. Estimate -0.1%. Actual -0.1%
  • 7:30 ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts

Friday (February 23)

  • 5:00 Eurozone Final CPI.  Estimate 1.3%

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

CAC, Thursday, February 22 at 9:40 EDT

Open: 5,271.00 High: 5,296.30 Low: 5,253.30 Close: 5,299.00

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Confusion reigns

Confusion reigns

In a market starved for significant news, the FOMC minutes provided just enough talking points to keep the dollar bid as US bond yields nudged towards crucial resistance levels.However, the Feds assortment of views on wage growth suggests the FOMC remains pliable during the transition phase from Yellen to Powell. In other words, the Feds stay in wait and see mode regarding inflation.

Of course, the market latched on to the dovish stuff as traders were partial to sell the dollar, but as is so often the case when interpreting the Feds exercise in verbal gymnastics, the market got it wrong. The FOMC minutes were eventually deemed slightly more hawkish after suggesting economic growth will surpass their estimates which caused STIRT traders to nudge rate hike expectations higher through 2018  and providing a bump to dollar sentiment. But given the lack of follow-through, the jury remains out.

The exciting part of the equation today will be the return of China investors which should provide a spark to regional sentiment. But the jury is out on the currency markets and in particular USDJPY which remains the primary vehicle to express currency sentiment.

So there lies the debate,  interest rate hawks preach the FOMC had not seen last week’s sharp inflation report while the doves suggest a need for a string of convincing inflation prints before moving to the four rate hike camp.

Bond Markets

The bond market is confused, but as my first boss on the BondDesk was always quick to remind me, when in doubt Sell.
Oil prices

Tumbling oil prices got a reprieve at the end of the day after American Petroleum Institute data showed a drop of 0.907 million barrels in US crude inventories. Given all the noise about a shale production ramp, Traders were expecting an increase in the warehouse when in reality improved pipeline infrastructure to the Gulf coast and the decreased supply via TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, sent Cushing inventories tumbling.But the firming dollar continues to thwart investor sentiment despite the bullish inventory data.  By no means is the dollar returning to form so this upbeat inventory data could have some legs.

Gold Prices

It was a  meltdown in Gold markets overnight, and I’m not talking about scrap prices. But in reality, this should provide Gold investors with another opportunity to re-engage as the Fed fell well short of confirming a 4th rate hike in 2018. The minutes were more balanced in my view as the recent uptick in volatility will have as much bearing on Fed policy decision as the subtle rise in inflation.

G-10

The Euro

Disappointing price action from the long perspective continues to weigh on sentiment; bullish views continue to be challenged ahead of the Italian elections, as near-term convictions turn neutral to slightly bearish

The Japanese Yen

There remain substantial offers between 107.50-108 levels that are providing a cap on USDJPY, but Traders remains exceptionally cautious in either direction despite increasing signals for a structural demise in USD sentiment.While fiscal stimulus looks good on paper, we’re entering uncharted territory as the Fed pares back bond purchases while the Treasury issues absurd amounts of debt.
Malaysian Ringgit

We should anticipate more liquidity coming back to the market as mainland investor return. While we’re nowhere near a make or break scenario for the Ringgit, short-term sentiment remains tarnished by an unexpectedly faster rise in US bond yields. While this is mildly negative for local opinion, the main issue is investors are growing increasingly concerned about a quicker pace of interest rate normalisation from the Fed which could trigger regional capital outflow.

The FOMC minutes served up little more than a plate of confusion last night, so I expect G-10 along with Asia FX to remain in a state of limbo until Fed Chair Powell takes the podium later this month.

US Home Sales Fell in January

U.S. home sales unexpectedly fell for a second straight month in January, weighed down by a persistent shortage of houses that is pushing up prices and keeping first-time buyers out of the market.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that existing home sales dropped 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million units last month. December’s sales pace was revised down to 5.56 million units from the previously reported 5.57 million units.



Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales rising 0.8 percent to a rate of 5.60 million units in January. Sales fell in all four regions last month. Existing home sales, which account for about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, declined 4.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in January.

via CNBC

USD Higher Ahead of Minutes

The dollar rose to its highest level in a week on Wednesday and world stocks fell for the third day as investors braced for minutes from the Fed’s last policy meeting to see if they would herald more rises in interest rates and global bond yields.



Wall Street looked set for a weaker session, with equity futures down around 0.2 percent and the VIX volatility gauge up for the third day in a row.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of peers, rose 0.2 percent. The index has bounced almost 1 percent so far this week, after slumping 1.5 percent the previous week to its lowest level in three years [FRX/].

MSCI’s world index of stocks was down 0.1 percent, set for its third straight decline this week, as a down day in Europe offset earlier gains in Asia.

Investor attention is on the minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting in late January, due at 1900 GMT. The last readings of U.S. wages and inflation came in higher than expected, with some blaming the numbers for a violent sell-off in stocks earlier this month.

via Reuters

Eurozone Growth Cools Down But Remains Steady

Eurozone business activity continued to rise at a steep pace in February, albeit with the rate of expansion cooling from the near 12-year high recorded in January. Price pressures and employment growth also remained elevated, though likewise saw rates of increase ease slightly.



Business optimism about the coming year meanwhile ticked higher.

The headline IHS Markit Eurozone PMI fell from 58.8 in January to 57.5 in February, according to the estimate, which is based on approximately 85% of usual final replies.

The slower growth of business activity reflected an easing in the rate of increase of new orders which, while elevated, slipped to a five-month low.

By country, growth in Germany came in at a three month low, while in France the composite PMI moderated to the weakest for four months.

However, in both cases the PMI readings remained at levels indicative of strong growth, close to recent seven-year highs. Business activity growth meanwhile also slowed across the rest of the eurozone, though still registered the second-largest expansion in nearly 12 years

via Market Flash Eurozone PMI

DAX Under Pressure, Investors Eye Fed Minutes

The DAX index has posted losses in the Wednesday session. Currently, the index is trading at 12,428.50 down 0.48% since the Tuesday close. On the release front, German and Eurozone Manufacturing PMIs slowed in January. The German PMI dipped to 60.3, shy of the estimate of 60.6 points. It was a similar story with the Eurozone PMI, which dropped to 58.5, shy of the estimate of 59.2 points. In the US, the key event is the Federal Reserve minutes from the January meeting.

It continues to be a blue February for the DAX, which has declined 6.2% so far this month. The correction on the US stock markets has sent European markets lower, although the DAX managed to gain ground last week, as European corporate earnings were generally strong. Will the stock market volatility resume? The markets are keeping a close eye on the Fed minutes, which could provide a hint of future rate policy. . Recent US numbers have been strong, and inflation indicators have been pointing upwards. This has raised concerns that the Fed may accelerate its pace of hikes, which triggered a sharp correction in global stock markets. The new chair of the Fed, Jerome Powell has tried to reassure the markets that the Fed is monitoring the situation, but it’s doubtful that the Fed can do much to prevent volatility in the markets.

It’s been a wild, wild ride for Bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency. Bitcoin has fluctuated between $900 and $19,000 over the past years. These wild swings have drawn the attention of policymakers and lawmakers, as there are growing concerns that virtual currencies could have a negative economic impact. France and Germany want to put virtual currencies on the agenda at the next G-20 meeting, and there is bipartisan support in Congress to adopt new rules to regulate virtual currencies. However, Draghi poured cold water on any ECB involvement, saying that it was not the ECB’s responsibility to ban or regulate Bitcoin. Draghi added that the ECB was exploring the use of blockchain, a digital technology to monitor bitcoin transactions.

Economic Calendar

Wednesday (February 21)

  • 3:30 German Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 60.6
  • 4:00 German Flash Services PMI. Estimate 56.9
  • 4:00 Eurozone Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 59.2
  • 4:00 Eurozone Flash Services PMI. Estimate 57.7
  • 14:00 US FOMC Meeting Minutes

*All release times are EST

*Key events are in bold

 

DAX, Wednesday, February 21 at 8:50 EDT

Open: 12,451.96 High: 12,512.00 Low: 12,426.50 Close: 12,428.50

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

EUR/USD – Euro Ticks Lower as German Manufacturing PMI Softens

The euro has posted small losses in the Wednesday session. Currently, the pair is trading at 1.2317, down 0.16% on the day. On the release front, German and Eurozone Manufacturing PMIs slowed in January. The German PMI dipped to 60.3, shy of the estimate of 60.6 points. It was a similar story with the Eurozone PMI, which dropped to 58.5, shy of the estimate of 59.2 points. In the US, the key event is the Federal Reserve minutes from the January meeting. The US will release Existing Home Sales, which are expected to climb to 5.61 million.

The Federal Reserve will be in the spotlight on Wednesday, with the release of the minutes from the January meeting, the last to have been chaired by Janet Yellen. The markets will be looking for hints regarding future rate policy, and any inkling of plans to raise interest rates more than three times in 2018 could trigger volatility in the currency markets as well as stock markets. Recent US numbers have been strong, and inflation indicators have been pointing upwards. This has raised concerns that the Fed may accelerate its pace of hikes, which triggered a sharp correction in global stock markets. The new chair of the Fed, Jerome Powell has tried to reassure the markets that the Fed is monitoring the situation, but it’s doubtful that the Fed can do much to prevent volatility in the markets.

Bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, has shown sharp volatility in the past year, fluctuating between $900 and $19,000. These wild swings have drawn the attention of policymakers and lawmakers, as there are growing concerns that virtual currencies could have a negative economic impact. France and Germany want to put virtual currencies on the agenda at the next G-20 meeting, and there is bipartisan support in Congress to adopt new rules to regulate virtual currencies. However, Draghi poured cold water on any ECB involvement, saying that it was not the ECB’s responsibility to ban or regulate Bitcoin. Draghi added that the ECB was exploring the use of blockchain, a digital technology to monitor bitcoin transactions.

EUR/USD Fundamentals

Wednesday (February 21)

  • 3:00 French Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 58.1. Actual 56.1
  • 3:00 French Flash Services PMI. Estimate 59.1. Actual 57.9
  • 3:30 German Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 60.6. Actual 60.3
  • 4:00 German Flash Services PMI. Estimate 56.9. Actual 55.3
  • 4:00 Eurozone Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 59.2. Actual 58.5
  • 4:00 Eurozone Flash Services PMI. Estimate 57.7. Actual 56.7
  • 9:45 US Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 55.4
  • 9:45 US Flash Services PMI. Estimate 53.8
  • 10:00 US Existing Home Sales. Estimate 5.61M
  • 14:00 US FOMC Meeting Minutes

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

EUR/USD for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

EUR/USD for February 21 at 7:00 EDT

Open: 1.2337 High: 1.2345 Low: 1.2308 Close: 1.2318

EUR/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2092 1.2200 1.2286 1.2357 1.2481 1.2569

EUR/USD inched lower in the Asian session and is choppy European trade

  • 1.2286 is providing support
  • 1.2357 is the next resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2286, 1.2200 and 1.2092
  • Above: 1.2357, 1.2481, 1.2569 and 1.2660
  • Current range: 1.2286 to 1.2357

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

EUR/USD ratio is almost unchanged in the Wednesday session. Currently, short positions have a majority (58%), indicative of EUR/USD continuing to move to lower ground.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.