FX Trading focus: Core CPI shocker from the US resets the USD. Beware the BoJ.
The headline US CPI data came in slightly above expectations, with a year-on-year reading of 8.3% vs. 8.1% expected and a month-on-month reading of +0.1% vs. -0.1% expected, the latter a solid surprise given sharp drops of late in gasoline prices. But the real shock was the core Ex Food and Energy inflation reading of +0.6% month-on-month, twice what was expected. This triggered an enormous slide in risk sentiment as the market rushed to price the risk that the FOMC might hike as much as 100 basis points next week. As of this morning, nearly 85 basis points of tightening are priced in the market for next meeting. The Fed doesn’t like to surprise the market, so if that builds a bit higher rather than receding back closer to 75 basis points on its own accord by early next week, the Fed will need to send out the WSJ’s Timiraos to pen an article guiding for 75 basis points if it wants to avoid shocking the market. There are a number of good reasons that the market was looking for a softer print yesterday, and this one data point is not enough to suggest that inflation will continue at the run-rate suggested by the August CPI data point, but as is readily evident, it had changed the odds on the size of next week’s hike, the guidance in the wake of that hike in terms of the monetary policy statement and the Fed’s own macro-economic projections.
To get follow-on USD strength here, the next data points of note are tomorrow’s US August Retail Sales and weekly US initial jobless claims. I lean for the risk of a stronger than expected Retail Sales data point due to the psychological boost of gasoline prices having dropped so precipitously from their June highs and as millions of US consumers saw their student debt loads drastically reduced by the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed mid-month. As for the weekly claims, these seem to be in a new declining trend after rising into the early summer period from record lows (adjusted for population) earlier in the year. The Bank of Japan and Japanese Ministry of Finance, as I discuss below, may make life difficult for FX traders.
Interesting to note that the USD reaction was most violent against some of the traditional risk-correlated currencies like AUD and NZD, with AUDUSD suddenly poking down close to cycle lows this morning, or at least below the lowest daily close of the cycle at one point this morning. To get new lows, we’d likely need to see the weak risk sentiment persisting her and a test of the June market lows, together perhaps with the Fed delivering a 100 basis point hike next week and US 10-year yields moving above the 3.50% cycle high from June (this morning trading at3.43%.) The recent price action cemented the 0.6900+ area pivot high as the key tactical resistance of note. Australia reports employment data tonight.