FX Update: USD momentum not impressive yet, given backdrop. FX Update: USD momentum not impressive yet, given backdrop. FX Update: USD momentum not impressive yet, given backdrop.

FX Update: USD momentum not impressive yet, given backdrop.

Forex 4 minutes to read
John Hardy

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  The US dollar seems to want to go lower, but does not seem in any hurry to get there, with key near-term uncertainties perhaps holding back directional trades. Nonetheless, key support levels are looming in a growing number of USD pairs, and the backdrop remains supportive for greenback sellers unless something comes along to spook robust global risk sentiment.

Today’s FX Trading focus:

USD eyes key range supports after FOMC minutes, weak data
In my Tuesday piece I outlined the longer term bearish case for the US dollar, given the nomination of former Fed chair Janet Yellen as the next US Treasury Secretary in the Biden administration. As well, if Biden’s team makes an all-out effort to craft parts of its policy along the lines of the Biden plan on ensuring that the future is “made in all of America” and avoids rolling too many agendas into its spending initiatives, the Republicans could yet have a hard time not cooperating on his agenda. That may be expecting too much, but it’s important to stay open-minded. In the meantime, we still have the “fiscal cliff” issue into year end, as Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on the size of any topping up of stimulus measures to avoid further halts to disbursements for and a disgruntled Trump is in no mood to cooperate with any of the Democratic agenda. US weekly Jobless claims were an ugly 778k last week, the worst in five weeks. And let’s not talk about Covid-19. It really is amazing how aggressively this market continues to look through the near-term gloom in expectations of a post-vaccine rocket launch.

The FOMC minutes include a painfully inconclusive discussion on the committee’s attitude about its purchase programme, but it is nearly certain we will see an adjustment of the guidance in December, with the most dovish expectations by market participants on the potential for an extension of maturity (mentioned as an option in the minutes), while it may be more likely that the Fed would like to get a bit more specific than the indication that purchase will continue “over coming months”. “Most participants judged that the Committee should update this guidance at some point and implement qualitative outcome-based guidance that links the horizon over which the Committee anticipates it would be conducting asset purchases to economic conditions.” Are you asleep yet? I translate this to mean that we are likely to see more “if, then” guidance that pre-commits as little as possible.

There was also a brief mention in the minutes that “a few participants” are worried that maintaining the current pace of MBS purchases “could contribute to potential valuation pressures in housing markets”. I.e., a housing bubble.

After the initial vigorous sell-off in the US dollar in the wake of the US election  result, the follow-up price action has been somewhat desultory in many cases, note least in EURUSD, which despite the supportive backdrop of strong global risk sentiment, has only seen EURUSD poking slowly higher into the final bits of range toward 1.2000. And today’s probe above the highest close of the cycle (1.1936) has so far been beaten back. It is time for the USD bears to flash some momentum on the failure of major USD supports across a number of pairs, otherwise, the risk of a reversal grows.

Source: Saxo Group

EU budget – one of the keys for unlocking stronger euro gains
The first vote on the EU budget was vetoed by Hungary and Poland last week, and the leaders of the two countries will meet today in Budapest to decide on next steps. Markets are utterly complacent on the issue in terms of HUF and PLN, but this budget needs to move forward pronto or the EU risks another brewing political crisis. The Polish Senate yesterday adopted a resolution asking the government to reconsider and to approve the budget. For Hungarian leader Orban, who already is in hot water with an active EU probe on whether his government has violated EU norms, this is existential. In an interview with German weekly newspaper Die Zeit on Wednesday, Hungarian president Viktor Orban said “What you are asking me to do, Angela, is suicide.” Hungary and Poland are trying to wriggle out by asking for the EU to agree on spending levels first, delaying any look into rule of law considerations, but as large net receivers of EU aid, their bargaining position is weak, outside of their ability to veto the budget outright, and even that right could be worked around, according to a Bloomberg Quint article. It would be easier to get behind a euro rally if this hurdle is cleared.


The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
- Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-gb/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)

Saxo Markets
40 Bank Street, 26th floor
E14 5DA
United Kingdom

Contact Saxo

Select region

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Trade Responsibly
All trading carries risk. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. Read more
Additional Key Information Documents are available in our trading platform.

Saxo Markets is a registered Trading Name of Saxo Capital Markets UK Ltd (‘SCML’). SCML is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 551422. Registered address: 26th Floor, 40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DA. Company number 7413871. Registered in England & Wales.

This website, including the information and materials contained in it, are not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity who is a citizen or resident of or located in the United States, Belgium or any other jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, availability or use would be contrary to applicable law or regulation.

It is important that you understand that with investments, your capital is at risk. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you make an informed decision about whether or not to invest with us. If you are still unsure if investing is right for you, please seek independent advice. Saxo Markets assumes no liability for any loss sustained from trading in accordance with a recommendation.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

©   since 1992