Gold Gains Ground, Puts Brakes on Dollar Rally

Gold has posted gains in the Thursday session, erasing the losses seen on Wednesday. In North American trade, the spot price for an ounce of gold is $1331.17, up 0.50% on the day. On the release front, unemployment claims dropped to 222 thousand, well below the estimate of 230 thousand.

Gold prices remain continue to fluctuate. The base metal has lost 1.3% this week, erasing much of last week’s gains. Concerns that strong US numbers could stoke inflation and more rate hikes sparked the recent turbulence in global stock markets. This has triggered volatility in gold, as gold prices are sensitive to moves (or expected moves) in interest rates. The Fed is currently projecting three rate hikes this year, but if inflation continues to move upwards, many analysts are expecting that the Fed could press the rate trigger four, or even five times in 2018.

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.

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 22)

  • 00:15 US FOMC Member Randal Quarles Speaks
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K. Actual 222K
  • 10:00 US CB Leading Index. Estimate 0.7%. Actual 1.0%
  • 10:00 US FOMC Member William Dudley Speaks
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -121B. Actual -124B
  • 11:00 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.2M. Actual -1.6M
  • 12:10 US FOMC Member Raphael Bostic Speaks 

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Thursday, February 22, 2018

XAU/USD February 22 at 12:40 EST

Open: 1324.57 High: 1331.37 Low: 1321.03 Close: 1331.17

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1260 1285 1307 1337 1375 1416
  • XAU/USD showed little movement in the Asian and European sessions. The pair has posted gains in North American trade
  • 1307 is providing support
  • 1337 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1307 to 1337

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1337, 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing strong movement towards long positions. Currently, short positions have a slim majority (51%), indicative of a lack of trader bias as to what direction XAU/USD will take next.

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.

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

A predictable wave of profit taking and risk reduction, as is standard form ahead of US long weekends, dominated Friday session leading to USD gains as US  yields pulled back. And while the broader  US dollar negativity continues to seep through capital markets, some traders are suggesting of potential shifts in conviction levels while others believe  Friday to be little more than pre-weekend risk reduction. But one thing that’s clear, even the most prolific purveyors of price action are baffled regarding the breakdown of historical correlations across most asset classes.

One telling feature, however, is long-term investors continue to shun the greenback and this should continue to weigh on near-term sentiment. So no don’t  go barking up the wrong tree in this Year of the Dog, stick to the basics and follow the flow.

By way of the ordinary course of developments, the various market holiday observances might challenge liquidity conditions. Golden Week celebrations continue across Asia through Wednesday, while both the US and Canada take holidays Monday. Still, it could be an actionable week with numerous Fed speakers on tap and the FOMC minutes are sure to liven things up. Keep in mind; March rate hike is all but entirely priced-in so the markets will be keying on forwarding guidance.

As the markets pivot to Fed speak and the FOMC minutes this week, “deficit mania” is sounding a few decibels lower this morning.But none the less, ongoing concerns about swelling deficit’s and the Feds sequence of interest rate normalisation should be the markets key focus this week and the primary drivers of near-term volatility.

And while US Bond yields eased on Friday,  traders see icebergs ahead suggesting Friday’s price action was little more than a reprieve amidst a bear market.

Equity Markets

Equity markets continue climbing the wall of worry despite inflationary fears gaining momentum and Bond Yields moving higher.Eventually, something has to give, but so far investors are betting on corporate earning rather than the shifting macro narratives.

Oil markets 

Oil prices finished modestly higher on Friday to chalk up a weekly gain as prices continue to see-saw between the binary descriptions from OPEC’s ongoing efforts to blow out the worldwide glut against the indications of rising U.S. production.Although Fridays price movements were likely  position sensitive amid USD risk reduction and book squaring ahead of tomorrows Oil contract expiration

We should expect the WTI whipsaw to continue as debate rages between US shale and OPEC, but we’re starting to carve out near-term ranges as longer-term oil bulls remain in dip buying mode with shale oil hedger looking to sell upticks.
Gold Markets

Gold prices eased late Friday as the dollar tentatively lifted off the canvas, despite taking a standing eight count earlier in the session when the DXY hit a three year low. A couple of hours USD short covering is unlikely to change the broader USD negativity, but when coupled with inflationary concerns heightening and a probable follow-up correction in equities markets around the corner, golds haven demand should continue to glitter.

On the physical side of demand, China Lunar New Year has seen few gold bars change hands despite physical premiums easing as futures prices continue to grind higher.

G-10 Currency Markets

Japanese Yen

Although the reappointment of Kuroda and the reshuffle of deputy governors is slightly more dovish BoJ, it is hard to reverse USDJPY downside given that continuous USD weakness could further drag USDJPY into the abyss. With the tables turned upside down on ten year US yield to JPY correlation and the US ” deficit mania. ” likely to return, USDJPY is in a precarious position.

Predictably we heard from Japan as Currency Chief Asakawa that he’s readying the necessary action to prevent “one-sided” currency moves, but with the Buck getting pounded against all major currencies, Japans verbal intentions are falling on deaf ears.
The Euro

The pace of the EURUSD rally post-CPI last week surprised everyone but none the less if not for timely comments( seems always to happen when EUR rallies) from ECB Cœuré, we should have closed closer to the 1.2500 rather than 1.2400 handles. His remarks spooked the markets in pre-weekend risk reduction mode after he suggested policymakers are unanimous in sequence when market positioning was suggesting the Hawks were gaining the upper hand. But at some juncture, the market will ignore this verbal balderdash, and in reality, 1.3000 shouldn’t be unimaginable before long predicated on strong fundamentals, the realisation of more hawkish ECB guidance but also the mechanics of the taper could reverse bond outflows.

Asia FX

Malaysian Ringgit 

External drivers and specifically the broader USD moves will dictate the Ringgit momentum this week with the critical focus on USDJPY 106 level.But on the positive side of the equation, one of the primary headwinds that we considered to be a negative for the Ringgit was higher US yields which typically and historically have supported the USD. But the US interest rate to FX correlation broken, and despite USD bond yields pushing much higher t, the USD continues to sell off.

The markets are still feeling the hangover effect from the Chinese Lunar New Year, and risk appetite is waning and with a plethora of Fed speak along with the FOMC minutes likely to cause an uptick in volatility this week, offshore demand could remain muted. None the less, 106 level USDJPY will be a crucial US dollar sentiment gauge, and if the market pushes through again this week, we could see the Ringgit move to 3.87 and below as traders would then set sights on the critical 3.85 level.

Singapore Dollar

The US CPI fallout was somewhat unusual; triggering moves out of the dollar and into riskier currencies, so the SGD benefited as the CNH rallied hard this week.But  CNH could start to underperform. Let me qualify this next comment as no one, and I mean no one knows what the Pboc are going to do. So we can only make hay from innuendo and strategically placed criticisms from regulators in HK  press. But there seems to be a  pickup in debate onshore about the merits of further RMB appreciation which could dent SGD appeal. But in the mean times, we should enjoy the SGD strength ( not because I get paid in SGD, although that is always a welcome bonus). But there is some real value appeal that has emerged in SGD  ahead of this weeks budget, as a rosier outlook in the statement could be the precursor to monetary tightening.But also appealing to foreign investors is the government will take measures to cover the current operating fiscal deficit gap.

GBP/USD – Pound Higher as Sentiment Remains Negative on Greenback

The British pound continues to head higher this week. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.4067, up 0.48% on the day. On the release front, there are no British events on the schedule. In the US, PPI gained 0.4%, matching the forecast. Core PPI also gained 0.4%, beating the estimate of 0.2%. Both indicators rebounded after declines in the previous month. Unemployment Claims climbed to 230 thousand, just above the estimate of 229 thousand. On Friday, the US releases key housing and consumer confidence numbers. The UK will release Retail Sales.

The pound has posted winning sessions every day this week, and has continued the upward trend on Thursday. GBP/USD has gained 1.7% this week, and punched above the 1.41 line earlier on Thursday. The pound posted strong gains on Wednesday, as US consumer spending reports were weaker than expected. Still, US fundamentals remain solid, as the US economy is showing strong expansion, the labor market remains at capacity, and inflation levels are moving higher. This has led some analysts to attribute the recent sag in the US dollar to technical factors rather than fundamental reasons.

With US inflation indicators pointing higher in January, the Fed will be reevaluating its projection for rate hikes in 2018. Currently, the Fed is planning three hikes this year, but that could change to four, or even five hikes, if inflation continues to head upwards and the robust US economy maintains its strong expansion.  The new head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, received a rude welcome from the stock markets, as he started his new position last week. Powell sought to send a reassuring message on Tuesday, saying that the Fed is on alert to any risks to financial stability. However, it is clear that the Fed’s hand is limited when it comes to stock markets moves, and the volatility which we saw last week could resume at any time.

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 15)

  • 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.4%. Actual 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Core PPI. Estimate 0.2%. Actual 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 17.7. Actual 13.1
  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 21.5. Actual 25.8
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 229K. Actual 230K
  • 9:15 US Capacity Utilization Rate. Estimate 78.0%. Actual 77.5%
  • 9:15 US Industrial Production. Estimate +0.2%. Actual -0.1%
  • 10:00 US NAHB Housing Market Index. Estimate 72. Actual 72
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -193B. Actual -194B
  • 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 50.3B

Friday (February 16)

  • 4:30 British Retail Sales. Estimate 0.5%
  • 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.29M
  • 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.23M
  • 8:30 US Import Prices. Estimate 0.6%
  • 10:00 US Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 95.4

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Thursday, February 15, 2018

GBP/USD February 15 at 11:30 EDT

Open: 1.3999 High: 1.4100 Low: 1.3995 Close: 1.4067

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.3809 1.3901 1.4010 1.4128 1.4271 1.4345

GBP/USD continues to break through resistance levels. On Thursday, GBP/USD inched higher in the Asian session. In European trade, the pair posted considerable gains. GBP/USD edged higher in North American trade but has given up these gains

  • 1.4010 is providing support
  • 1.4128 is the next line of resistance

Current range: 1.4010 to 1.4128

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.4010, 1.3901, 1.3809 and 1.3744
  • Above: 1.4128,, 1.4271 and 1.4345

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is showing gains in long positions. Currently, short and long positions are evenly split, indicative of a lack of trader bias as to what direction GBP/USD will take next.

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 Rise Continues on Broad Dollar Weakness

The euro continues its upward movement and has posted gains in the Thursday session.  Currently, the pair is trading at 1.2483, up 0.27% on the day. In the eurozone, the trade surplus continues to grow, climbing to EUR 23.8 billion. This beat the forecast of EUR 22.4 billion. It’s a busy day in the US, highlighted by PPI and Core PPI reports for January. Both indicators are expected to record gains after declining in the December readings. The US will also release key manufacturing reports and unemployment claims. On Friday, the US releases key housing and consumer confidence numbers.

The euro has posted winning sessions every day this week, and continues to move upwards on Thursday. The euro has gained 1.8% this week, and posted strong gains on Wednesday, after the US releases pointed to stronger inflation and dismal retail sales.

The US dollar remains under strong pressure after Wednesday’s CPI and retail sales reports. CPI jumped 0.5%, above the estimate of 0.3%. Consumer spending reports in January were dismal. Retail Sales was flat at 0.0%, short of the estimate of 0.5%. Core Retail Sales declined 0.3%, well off the forecast of +0.2%. A catalyst for the recent market sell-off was fear of higher inflation, and with inflation indicators pointing upwards, the dollar and the stock markets could be in for rough ride in the coming weeks.

The recent stock market turbulence has triggered volatility in the currency markets, and this is causing concern at the ECB. Last week, ECB President Mario Draghi said that he is more confident that eurozone inflation is moving closer to the Bank’s target of just below 2 percent, due to improving economic growth. However, Draghi listed currency market volatility as an obstacle to the inflation target, and added that the ECB would carefully monitor the euro’s exchange rates. The ECB tapered its massive stimulus program from EUR 60 billion to 30 billion/mth in January, and the markets are on the lookout for hints as to whether the ECB will normalize policy and wind up stimulus in September.

At the Edge of a Cliff

EUR/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 15)

  • 4:00 Italian Trade Balance. Estimate 4.44B. Actual 5.25B
  • 5:00 Eurozone Trade Balance. Estimate 22.4B. Actual 23.8B
  • Tentative – Spanish 10-year Bond Auction. Actual 1.58%
  • 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Core PPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 17.7
  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 21.5
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 229K
  • 9:15 US Capacity Utilization Rate. Estimate 78.0%
  • 9:15 US Industrial Production. Estimate 0.2%
  • 10:00 US NAHB Housing Market Index. Estimate 72
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -193B
  • 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 50.3B

Friday (February 16)

  • 2:00 German WPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.29M
  • 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.23M
  • 8:30 US Import Prices. Estimate 0.6%
  • 10:00 US Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 95.4

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

EUR/USD for Thursday, February 15, 2018

EUR/USD for February 14 at 5:30 EDT

Open: 1.2450 High: 1.2510 Low: 1.2448 Close: 1.2483

EUR/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2286 1.2357 1.2481 1.2569 1.2660 1.2751

EUR/USD continues to break through resistance lines. The pair inched higher in the Asian session and has recorded stronger gains in European trade

  • 1.2481 has switched to a support role after gains by the pair on Thursday
  • 1.2569 is the next resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2481, 1.2357, 1.2286 and 1.2200
  • Above: 1.2569, 1.2660 and 1.2751
  • Current range: 1.2481 to 1.2569

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

EUR/USD ratio is showing gains in short positions, as EUR/USD continues to move higher and cover long positions. Currently, short positions have a majority (61%), indicative of EUR/USD reversing directions and moving 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.

EUR/USD – Euro Unchanged as German GDP, CPI Matches Forecasts

The euro has shown some movement in both directions but is unchanged in the Wednesday session.  Currently, the pair is trading at 1.2356, up 0.04% on the day. It’s a busy day for fundamentals, with key releases out of the eurozone and the US. In Germany, Preliminary GDP slowed to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, matching the estimate. Final CPI declined 0.7%, also matching the forecast. Eurozone Flash GDP for Q4 remained steady at 0.6% for a third straight quarter, matching the estimate. In the US, the markets are expecting mixed inflation numbers. Core CPI is expected to expected to edge lower to 0.2%, while CPI is forecast to improve to 0.1%. The US will also release retail sales reports. Retail Sales is forecast to slow to 0.2%, while Core CPI is forecast to accelerate to 0.5%. Traders should be prepared for movement from EUR/USD during the North American session.

The stock market sell-off has triggered some volatility in the currency markets, and this is causing concern at the ECB. Last week, ECB President Mario Draghi said that he is more confident that eurozone inflation is moving closer to the Bank’s target of just below 2 percent, due to improving economic growth. However, Draghi listed currency market volatility as an obstacle to the inflation target, and added that the ECB would carefully monitor the euro’s exchange rates. Draghi’s concerns about the exchange rate are likely even stronger, after the euro fell 1.6 percent last week. The ECB tapered its massive stimulus program from EUR 60 billion to 30 billion/mth in January, and the markets are on the lookout for hints as to whether the ECB will normalize policy and wind up stimulus in September.

Global stock markets have steadied after last week’s turbulence, but investors remain wary. Wednesday’s US inflation numbers will be closely watched, as inflation fears was a key catalyst of the massive sell-off. The new head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, sought to send a reassuring message on Tuesday, saying that the Fed is on alert to any risks to financial stability. However, it is clear that the Fed’s hand is limited when it comes to stock markets moves, and the volatility which we saw last week could resume at any time.

The day of reckoning

 

EUR/USD Fundamentals

Wednesday (February 14)

  • 2:00 German Preliminary GDP. Estimate 0.6%. Actual 0.6%
  • 2:00 German Final CPI. Estimate -0.7%. Actual -0.7%
  • 3:00 German Buba President Weidmann Speaks
  • 4:00 Italian Preliminary GDP. Estimate 0.4%. Actual 0.3%
  • 5:00 Eurozone Flash GDP. Estimate 0.6%. Actual 0.6%
  • 5:00 US Industrial Production. Estimate 0.1%. Actual 0.4%
  • Tentative – German 30-year Bond Auction
  • 8:30 US CPI. Estimate 0.3%
  • 8:30 US Core CPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Core Retail Sales. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Retail Sales. Estimate 0.5%
  • 10:00 US Business Inventories. Estimate 0.3%
  • 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.8M

Thursday (February 15)

  • 5:00 Eurozone Trade Balance. Estimate 22.4B
  • 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 17.7
  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 21.5
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 229K

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

EUR/USD for Wednesday, February 14, 2018

EUR/USD for February 14 at 6:00 EDT

Open: 1.2351 High: 1.2393 Low: 1.2346 Close: 1.2356

 

EUR/USD Technical

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

EUR/USD inched higher in the Asian session and has retracted in European trade

  • 1.2286 is providing support
  • 1.2357 was tested earlier in resistance and is under strong pressure

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2286, 1.2200, 1.2092 and 1.1961
  • Above: 1.2357, 1.2481 and 1.2569
  • 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 (54%), indicative of EUR/USD breaking out and moving lower.

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.

A day of calm

A day of calm

Equity markets have begun the week on a somewhat positive not picking up from Friday rebound as bargain hunters have returned on the first sign of stability. I guess if you owned a stock for fundamental reasons seven days ago and its 5 % lower this week, why not add to the portfolio? So the story goes.

While the Vix has pulled back to the 25 zone, it’s very trying to view this weeks stock market bounce anything other than technical correction after critical Global benchmarks had one of the there worst performances in years. However, the market is trying to find a positive equilibrium, and if we can get through this week’s critical US CPI relatively unscathed, then it would most certainly look as if last week was little more than a corrective episode rather then the commencement of a bear market.

None the less, government bond yields have found some stability after yields moved higher, albeit in very thinly traded Bond markets.
But certainly adding to the semblance of calm which has started the week. But concerns abound that the Bond Markets have only begun to factor in both the global reflation trade and burdening supply which could drive US bond yields considerably higher.

Oil  Markets

Ignoring US supply-side concerns, OIl markets attempted to make a half-hearted recovery overnight on little more than an equity market correlated bounce and indeed the weaker USD added to the momentum.

Despite the Oil market exhibiting all the hallmarks of technical trading, toppling from massively overbought conditions to retracing on an equity correlated bounce. But technical momentum or not, with the EIA data around the corner, it’s hard not to overlook their expectations that U.S. crude output may rise to 11 million bpd by the end of the year.

However, global demand remains firm, and despite the shale oil boom the supply tightening narrative remains prevalent with OIL towing the line.

Battle lines are forming in an around the WTI 60.00 bpd level which should make for an exciting market this week.

Gold Markets

Gold prices were supported by a weaker dollar and physical demand ahead of Chinese lunar new year. The equity market carnage has abated, and the waves of cross assets selling to replenish equity margins have temporarily decreased providing a calmer market to re-establish Gold longs. But prices should remain within a range ahead of this week US inflation data as the US CPI will be a monster print for the markets inflation views and could provide a catalyst for Gold to bounce higher.
Currency Markets

The US dollar traded lower as currency traders are analysing the rebounding global equity markets. Lots of noise but little momentum as traders are keying on this week’s US CPI with volumes and liquidity density much lower to start the week.

Japanese Yen

The markets continue to digest the potential FX trading leverage cap for individuals in Japan. Mrs Watanabe was a considerable player in the market( especially for Retail brokers), so we’re keeping a close eye on the developments

As for the Yen, we seem to be at a crossroads in all Asian markets with currency markets barely budging looking for some inflation clarity in Wednesday CPI. The fear is that a higher print will send bond yields sky high and equity markets will tumble once again.

Australian Dollar

A rebound in risk sentiment has seen USD haven hedged unwind and buoyed commodity markets.As such, the Aussie dollar has found some solid footing this morning
Malaysian Ringgit

We’re at a bit of a crossroads this week as the markets are grappling with inflation versus the global growth narrative.

An uptick in inflation will lead to higher yields and will present the most significant headwind for the Ringgit. While the market has priced in 3 US rate hikes for 2018, a sudden uptick in US inflation could quicken the pace of the FED interest rate normalisation and could weigh negatively on regional sentiment.

We expect the market to trade in a tight range ahead of this domestic GDP and US CPI. Both monster data points for the Ringgits near-term fate

Hawks coming home to roost

Hawks coming home to roost

Equity markets were trounced on the back of Global yields parading to multi-year highs Thursday. Indeed, it was less dovish Fed speak that continued to be the driver, and the BoE provided a hawkish bounty for good measure.

The ruckus in the bond pits these days appears hell-bent on marching towards 3 % 10Year UST yields much quicker than anyone had suspected which suggest equity markets will come under the hammer for some time to come. Yields are becoming the real storyline as a combination of tighter monetary policy and the US burdening deficit leading to more supply, suggests we have crossed a 2.75 % 10Y UST bridge of no return, and the ride could get bumpier for equity investors.

The issue is not so much the 3% level but rather the pace that Bond yields have been rising in the US that is sending the markets into disarray. The rapidity of the moves has caught the markets by surprise, and we are going through the predictable panicked repricing of most asset classes.

Oil Markets

Crude prices continued to tank overnight as the commodity complex has suffered dearly due to the uptick in market volatility. But the toxic combination of rising US output and a stronger US dollar has nullified OPEC production cut momentum.

With the markets factoring in US crude production to continue hitting new record highs through 2018, the supply dynamics suggest a move below $ 60 WTI is in the offing.
Gold Markets
Gold toppled to a five-week low after the Bank of England whispered a sooner and more substantial rate rises after revising their growth and inflation forecast. The quicker than expected shift on Central Bank Monetary Policy outlooks coupled with the rapid increase in US bond yields continues to dampen investor sentiment. However, Gold prices quickly recovered as the equity market drawdowns continue to attract risk off hedges while the Syria Standoff with Turkey is offering support on the geopolitical front.
Currency Markets

The Australian Dollar

The rise in US bond yields has toppled the Aussie dollar and dented risk sentiment as global equity market continues to tumble.

Market volatility is weighing negatively on commodities, add in a dose of dovish RBA rhetoric, and therein lies the heart of the Aussie dollar woes.

Also, the Aussie was trampled on when USDCNH shot up from 6.3050 to 6.3750 as it seems that China is opening up more channels for outflows to slow RMB appreciation. (See below)

The Aussie dollar tends not to flourish in these types of markets.
The $ Bull in the China Shop: Chinese Yuan

The dollar bull was let loose in the China shop yesterday as a confluence of events had trader paring back short US dollar risk from the morning fix.

The fix came in a bit higher than expected which usually causes a bit of a move higher but, it was the article in China Economic Daily that was creating the most noise as the report urges corporates to enhance FX risk management. (Nudge Nudge)
China has also resumed its Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership plan after a two-year halt, granting licenses to about a dozen global money managers that can raise funds in China for overseas investments. While it does not have a massive Foreign Exchange flow impact,  and  more symbolic than anything else,  it is none the less suggestive that the Pboc is less sensitive to capital outflow

Given that positions were skewed short US dollar, the confluence of events had traders covering positions aggressively knowing that liquidity will be sure to dry up the closer we get to Lunar New Year.

The China trade numbers were perceived disappointing ( I have opposite view) which contributed to some currency negativity.

But from any logical perspective, it was hard to ignore the Mainland equity fire sales this week which certainly had a negative bias on currency sentiment

The Malaysian Ringgit

Negative regional currency signals abound.

The rapid repricing higher in US bond yields has taken investors by surprise. Moreover, with US yields looking to push higher, we could be in for a bit more pain before the markets find some solid footing.

Higher US yields are supporting the USD and weighing on global equity sentiment which is hurting overall regional risk appetite.

US record crude production continues to weigh negatively on oil prices.

The proximity of Chinese Lunar New year has traders paring back risk.

The market, at least for now, is hedging against the Fed potentially leaning more hawkish, which is explaining the uptick in USD, US Yields and lower equity markets.

Gold Dips to 2-Month Low But Recovers

Gold prices dropped considerably on Thursday before recovering. In North American trade, the spot price for an ounce of gold is $1319.57, up 0.10% on the day. On the release front, there was excellent news on the employment front, as unemployment claims dropped to 221 thousand, well below the estimate of 232 thousand.

The US labor market remains strong, so much so that January’s nonfarm payrolls and wage growth reports triggered the strong slide on global stock markets this week. Unemployment claims sparkled on Thursday, dropping to 221 thousand. The 4-week moving average dropped to 224,500, its lowest level since 1973. Although unemployment remains at record-low levels, the lack of slack in the labor market has not led to strong wage growth, and inflation remains below the Fed target of 2 percent. One of the priorities for the new chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, will be to examine what steps can be taken to raise inflation, which has not kept up with robust economic growth.

Powell was probably hoping for a quiet start at his new job as chair of the Federal Reserve, but the stock markets had other plans. Powell, who took over on Saturday, was greeted by the largest one-day drop ever on the Dow Jones on Monday, as US stock markets nosedived. Some analysts went as far as attributing some of the losses on the changing of the guard at the Fed, but this appears unlikely, given that Powell is expected to follow Janet Yellen’s policies. This sentiment was echoed by on Tuesday by St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, who said that he does not think that policy will change appreciably under Powell. A more plausible explanation for the massive sell-off earlier this week was investor concern of faster rate hikes by the Federal Reserve if inflation moves higher. Higher interest rates would make the dollar more attractive and weigh on gold prices. The Fed expects to raise rates three times in 2018, but could make four moves if the economy remains strong and inflation improves.

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 8)

  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 232K. Actual 221K
  • 10:00 US Mortgage Delinquencies. Actual 5.17%
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -116B. Actual -119B
  • 13:01 US 30-year Bond Auction

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

XAU/USD for Thursday, February 8, 2018

XAU/USD February 8 at 12:55 EST

Open: 1318.47 High: 1332.33 Low: 1307.08 Close: 1319.57

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1260 1285 1307 1337 1375 1416
  • XAU/USD posted gains in the Asian session but gave up these gains in European trade. The pair continues to lose ground in North American trade
  • 1307 is providing support
  • 1337 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1307 to 1337

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1337, 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing gains in long positions session. Currently, short positions have a majority (57%), indicative of trader bias towards XAU/USD continuing to move lower.

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.

GBP/USD – Pound Gains Ground as BoE Hints at Rate Increase

The British pound has posted gains in the Thursday session, erasing the losses seen on Wednesday. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3919, up 0.29% on the day. On the release front, the Bank of England maintained interest rates at 0.50%, but hinted at earlier and larger rate hikes. In the US, unemployment claims dropped to a sparkling 221 thousand, well below the estimate of 232 thousand.

The BoE was in the spotlight on Thursday. The Bank made no changes to interest rates or quantitative easing, and both moves were unanimous (9-0). There was some surprise however, at the hawkish tone of policymakers, who said that interest rates could rise “earlier” and by a “somewhat greater extent” than they predicted at their previous meeting in November. Bottom line? We could see an interest rate in the first half of 2018, with analysts circling May as the most likely date. At the same time, the effect that Brexit is having on the economy is difficult to predict, and if the economic conditions worsen, the BoE could delay a rate hike.

Pound jumps on ‘Hawkish’ BoE

It’s been a rough week for the pound, which is down 1.5 percent. The US dollar has posted gains against the pound and the other majors, after a massive sell-off on global stock markets on Monday. The sell-off was precipitated by strong US nonfarm payrolls and wage growth reports on Friday. This triggered concerns that higher inflation was on the way, which in turn would result in more rate hikes this year. Higher interest rates make the dollar more attractive for investors, at the expense of other currencies. If the turbulence in the stock markets continue, the pound could resume its downward movement.

 

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 8)

  • 7:00 BoE Inflation Report
  • 7:00 MPC Official Bank Rate Votes. Estimate 0-0-9. Actual 0-0-9
  • 7:00 BoE Monetary Policy Summary
  • 7:00 BoE Official Bank Rate. Estimate 0.50%. Actual 0.50%
  • 7:00 BoE Inflation Letter
  • 7:00 MPC Asset Purchase Facility Votes. Estimate 0-0-9. Actual 0-0-9
  • 7:00 British Asset Purchase Facility. Estimate 435B. Actual 435B
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 232K. Actual 221K
  • 10:00 US Mortgage Delinquencies. Actual 5.17%
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -116B. Actual -119B
  • 13:01 US 30-year Bond Auction

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Thursday, February 8, 2018

GBP/USD February 8 at 12:20 EDT

Open: 1.3880 High: 1.4067 Low: 1.3846 Close: 1.3918

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.3744 1.3809 1.3901 1.4010 1.4128 1.4271

GBP/USD ticked upwards in the Asian session. In European trade, the pair posted slight losses but reversed directions and made strong gains in European trade. In the North American session, the pair posted slight gains but has changed directions and is moving lower.

  • 1.3901 is providing support
  • 1.4010 was tested in resistance earlier on Thursday

Current range: 1.3901 to 1.4010

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.3901, 1.3809, 1.3744, 1.3613
  • Above: 1.4010, 1.4128 and 1.4271

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is showing movement towards short positions. Currently, short positions have a majority (55%), indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD reversing directions and moving lower.

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.

USD/CAD – Canadian Dollar Steady as Housing Reports a Mixed Bag

The Canadian dollar has ticked higher in the Thursday session. Currently, the pair is trading at 1.2562, down 0.07% on the day. On the release front, Canadian housing numbers were mixed. The New Housing Price Index edged lower to 0.0%, shy of the estimate of 0.1%. This was the first time the index failed to post a gain since January 2015. There was better news from Housing Starts, which was almost unchanged at 216 thousand, beating the forecast of 211 thousand. In the US, unemployment claims dropped down to 221 thousand, well below the estimate of 232 thousand. The 4-week average claims dropped to 224,500, its lowest level since 1973. On Friday, Canada releases key employment data – Employment Change and the unemployment rate.

The US dollar has posted broad gains this week, boosted by strong volatility in the stock markets. On Monday, the Dow Jones posted its biggest one-day loss, and US markets have pointed downwards for much of the week. The catalyst for the stock market slide is concern that inflation could rise in the US, which in turn would trigger additional rate hikes from the Fed. This would make the US dollar more attractive against other currencies. With investor risk appetite sharply lower, the Canadian dollar is under strong pressure. Earlier in the day, USD/CAD touched a high of 1.2598, its highest level since late December.

Canadian indicators disappointed on Tuesday. Canada’s trade deficit widened from C$2.5 billion to C$3.2 billion, well above the estimate of C$2.3 billion. The export sector has been steady, but uncertainty over NAFTA is a dark cloud over the economy, and exports could suffer if the trilateral free trade pact is not renewed. The US has threatened to leave the pact if the Canada and Mexico do not agree to major concessions, such as increasing the percentage of US content in auto parts produced under NAFTA. Elsewhere, Canadian Ivey PMI continues to point to expansion, but slowed to 55.2, down from 60.4 in the previous release. This was well off the forecast of 60.7 points.

USD/CAD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 8)

  • 8:15 Canadian Housing Starts. Estimate 211K. Actual 216K
  • 8:30 Canadian NHPI. Estimate 0.1%. Actual 0.0%
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 236K
  • Tentative – US Mortgage Delinquencies
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -116B
  • 12:45 BoC Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins Speaks
  • 13:01 US 30-year Bond Auction

Friday (February 9)

  • 8:30 Canadian Employment Change. Estimate 10.3
  • 8:30 Canadian Unemployment Rate. Estimate 5.8%

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

USD/CAD for Thursday, February 8, 2018

USD/CAD, February 8 at 8:00 EDT

Open: 1.2668 High: 1.2598 Low: 1.2550 Close: 1.2590

USD/CAD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2190 1.2351 1.2494 1.2630 1.2757 1.2855

USD/CAD inched lower in the Asian session and has posted small gains in European trade

  • 1.2494 is providing support
  • 1.2630 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1.2494 to 1.2630

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2494, 1.2351, 1.2190 and 1.2060
  • Above: 1.2630, 1.2757 and 1.2855

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

USD/CAD ratio is showing  movement towards short positions. Currently, long positions have a majority (53%), indicative of trader bias towards USD/CAD continuing to move upwards.

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.