More whiplash for FX traders overnight (on top of the JPY cross churning we discussed yesterday in our latest Breakout Monitor) as the New Zealand dollar, after registering a string of recent highs versus the AUD and pushing on a big resistance level against the US dollar yesterday, was pummelled by a dovish shift from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which joins its global cohorts in shifting guidance to the downside with the opening sentence of its new statement: “Given the weaker global economic outlook and reduced momentum in domestic spending, the more likely direction of our next OCR move is down”.
The size of the downward adjustment at the front end of the NZ yield curve – a whopping 12 basis points for 2-year rates as of this writing – suggests the market was duly impressed and this may be the end of the line for across the board NZD outperformance.
In general, however, the overall degree to which the Antipodeans weaken may have more to do with whether China’s economy is seen as responding soon to new stimulus efforts and whether global asset markets continue to celebrate an almost across the board dovish shift in dovish guidance. The AUD, after all, has maintained reasonable altitude since January in broad terms after the Reserve Bank of Australia’s own dovish shift.
Theresa May’s Brexit deal is now getting the support it couldn’t before, as hardline Tory Brexiters fear that it is her deal or a process that risks leading to no deal at all. Sterling is firm versus the euro and less than a percent from the recent highs for the cycle as the market games the odds of May’s deal versus “something else” that most likely means a softer Brexit or no Brexit. The question is still whether she has the votes, as the Northern Irish DUP’s latest comments suggest they still prefer a delay. See this BBC article
for a sense of the chaotic programme of votes and various directions the situation could take as parliament seeks a way forward. Time is getting short for May’s deal, as it must pass ahead of the weekend under the terms of the 2-week extension granted by the EU.
Subplots in sterling and NZD aside, our broad focus is on risk appetite as a major coincident indicator after the recent test of pivotal levels in the US S&P 500. Specifically, will the S&P 500 overcome its recent peak and have a go at the all-time highs, and will US interest rates continue to fall through the rest of this week’s huge Treasury auctions.
Yesterday’s 2-year auction saw very strong demand and today and tomorrow see 5-year and 7-year auctions, respectively. The “melt-up scenario“ would almost require that the long end of the curve stops seeing safe haven seeking and the recent minor back-u pin high yield credit spreads eases. But if the melt-up scenario does engage, we could see a weak G3 with the JPY leading the race to the bottom and strong EM. On the flip side, signs that the risk rally this week was just another treacherous head-fake would likely see the complete opposite, with USD and JPY firming the most. Trading interest
Selling NZD on upticks via long AUDNZD
Waiting for a view on the USD, but USDCAD rally has remains reasonably orderly for a first place to look at USD longs with stops below 1.3300. Chart: AUDNZD
The RBNZ dovish shift is similar to the one made by the RBA in recent months and saw a loud rejection of the recent string of new lows below the 1.0400 and even 1.0300 levels. For this pair, the 1.0450 area looks important for the bears to maintain any case for maintaining a downside bias – and AU/NZ rate spreads suggest little hope for this, although rate spreads have been a poor tool almost across the board in recent months as a coincident indicator.