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FX Update: Friday USD boost fading, kiwi getting a mashing.

Picture of John Hardy
John Hardy

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  The US dollar rally got an extra boost on Friday from a preliminary May US University of Michigan Sentiment survey that had the double-ugly combination of a sudden spike in long-term inflation expectations and a severe and unexpected decline in the general expectations component of the survey. Treasury yields backed up and boosted the US dollar and took down the JPY and the kiwi, which had just reported a soft inflation expectations survey figure.

Today's Saxo Market Call podcast
Today's Global Market Quick Take: Europe from the Saxo Strategy Team

FX Trading focus:

  • The latest victims of “mean reversion” are the JPY crosses after US inflation expectations data backs up yields and pummels the JPY.
  • The kiwi (NZD) suddenly thrown under the bus since Thursday as latest victim of the “mean reversion game” on NZ’s inflation expectations survey coming in soft late last week and contrasting with the hot US UMich number.
  • Next steps for USD on April US Retail Sales tomorrow.

Bias shifts today:

  • USD: Rally still only achieving consolidation status so far – EURUSD short term trend is lower, but trends have worked poorly. Watching 1.0737 for status (61.8% retracement of rally from 1.0516 to 1.1095 high)
  • JPY: Neutral on its prospects after JPY crosses have backed up badly on the spike in yields. Fresh downside focus in EURJPY needs a bearish reversal of this rally.
  • NZD: Bearish technical Interest in fading NZDUSD rallies as long as they stay shy of 0.6300 for test of range lows toward 0.6100 and for AUDNZD upside for test toward 1.0900+ if we stay north of 1.0700 on closing basis..
  • GBPUSD: Found support at important 1.2450 area – that feels like the bull/bear line from here.
  • EURSEK: solid risk/reward for bears in the 11.30 area after soft core Swedish CPI data failed to sustain the rally today The 11.30 area looks like a fulcrum for the next leg of the action.

US inflation expectations accelerate USD rally, but that rally already easing.

The preliminary May University of Michigan sentiment offered up a pair of ugly surprises, as the long-term, 5-10 year inflation expectations survey suddenly jumped to 3.2% after staying in the range of 3.0% and lower save for two 3.1% readings in 2022. The June 2022 reading initially read 3.3%, we should recall, before the final survey for that month saw it revised lower to 3.1%, matching the level from January of last year and the highest since 2011 until yesterday’s figure. It’s of course just a survey, and other surveys are conflicting, including the Cleveland Fed’s 10-year expected inflation, which is at 2.15%, although that survey uses market-based measures as well as survey, and the surveys are of “professional forecasters” as opposed to the University of Michigan’s surveys of “consumers”. In any case, Friday is the latest example of random data points leading the market around by the nose, only to not develop into anything sold because the next data point may say the opposite. The trouble is that now the Fed has likely reached a plateau for now on its policy, the market is impatient for a next step that may not come until we have had solid evidence of the one or the other scenario (cruising speed or recessionary risks rising) developing over the next couple of data cycles. The next data point of note is tomorrow’s April US Retail Sales report, expected rather weak after two negative in February and March that came after the huge January surge, in part on mild weather.

Last Thursday we wrote about sterling possibly becoming the latest victim of the “mean reversion game” on the Bank of England event risk. That indeed was the case for the next couple of sessions. Since then, the kiwi suffered an even more severe case of whiplash after a Q2 NZ inflation expectations survey came in softer than expected a day before the US University of Michigan survey. The double whammy deflated NZDUSD all the way back to mid-range, an impressively bearish reversal only made less bearish by the long-standing range that this pair has found itself in that stretches back many months. A deepening gloom and more risk aversion is likely needed to get NZDUSD challenging the range lows below 0.6100, while this latest sell-off has dealt serious damage to any hopes that a rally would extend on the attempt above the April pivot high of 0.6379.

Source: Saxo Group

Table: FX Board of G10 and CNH trend evolution and strength.
The NZD got marked down from strongest to middle range in just a couple of short session, while the US dollar is vying for a new uptrend but has so far merely consolidated much of the prior downtrend without showing real upside trending behaviour anywhere.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group

Table: FX Board Trend Scoreboard for individual pairs.
EURSEK popped a bit higher on the softer than expected Swedish core inflation data reported today – it is in pivotal either/or area around 11.30. Note that GBPUSD is leaning close to flipping negative, but needs to show a close down through 1.2450-1.2400 with important UK earnings, claims and jobs data up tomorrow morning.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group

Upcoming Economic Calendar Highlights

  • 1230 – US May Empire Manufacturing
  • 1315 – US Fed’s Kashkari (Voter 2023) to speak
  • 1600 – UK Bank of England’s Pill to speak
  • 1800 – US Fed’s Bostic (non-voter) to speak
  • 0030 – Australia May Westpac Consumer Confidence
  • 0130 – Australia RBA Minutes
  • 0200 – China Apr. Industrial Production / Retail Sales


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