Sterling suffered a sell-off to new lows in the wake of the Q1 GDP data, which showed a +8.7% growth rate, slightly below expectations, but a -0.1% month-on-month figure for March, with weak production figures to boot. The March Trade Balance data was also out and showed a toe-curling negative £23.8B trade balance, a staggering figure. Still, after a run to fresh lows against the G3 currencies, the EURGBP rally reversed rather sharply, in part as EURUSD tipped over to new lows after a couple of weeks of defending the 1.0500 support area.
All traders should monitor the crypto situation as a possible aggravator of additional volatility risk across markets. The TerraUSD “stable coin” broke its parity level with the US dollar earlier this week and traded as much as 70% below par. Then yesterday, a key Bitcoin support level at 30,000 broke, possibly inspiring the instability of the Tether stable coin, which is a commonly used as a kind of parking space between going in and out of crypto trades and in and out of the crypo market itself. The Tether coin traded as much as 5% below par against the US dollar this morning before the whole crypto-complex recovered.
More directly pertinent to FX, we have to watch the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), as the USD strength has taken the USDHKD exchange rate to the upper limit of its band at 7.85 and has seen the Hong Kong Monetary Authority out intervening for the first time of this cycle overnight. The HKMA will also need to copy Fed policy to avoid the worst of pressure on the HKD, even with Hong Kong’s economy in a funk. The HKD band is one of those legacy set-ups that makes little sense here almost forty years after its creation, but Hong Kong remains a key gateway into and out of the mainland Chinese economy, and China probably doesn’t want to add HKD instability to its long list of challenges.
Note the Chinese demand concerns continuing to weigh on the copper price, which has punched to the lowest reaches of the range since early 2021. This in turn weighs on the Aussie, which itself has punched to new lows for the cycle. The CAD has gotten off easy so far by comparison, perhaps as oil prices remain in the higher range here – but after breaking above resistance, if USDCAD loses its tethering to the 1.3000 area it is in danger of a sharp extension higher.
Table: FX Board of G10 and CNH trend evolution and strength.
We have noted the euro resilience of late, but signs of this crumbling today as EURUSD, EURCHF and especially EURJPY come under pressure. But the development of note here is the strong revival of the JPY momentum and outright positive trend measurement in recent days. Elsewhere, CAD looks too strong with this backdrop, although there is quite a race to the bottom of late among the weakest horses in G10 FX.