Bullard rains on the USD bears’ parade
Head of FX Strategy, Saxo Bank Group
Summary: The St. Louis Fed’s Bullard rained on the USD bears’ parade by suggesting support for a 25-bps cut at the July FOMC meeting, which kept Fed expectations flat even as Fed chair Powell confirmed a cutting bias and US equities were in for rough sledding yesterday.
Fed chair Jay Powell was perhaps less dovish at the margin in a speech yesterday as well, taking some of the wind out of the USD bears’ sails. While he did confirm the bias for a rate cut on heightened concerns for the outlook, he insisted that the economic outlook is still “favorable” and defensively said that the Fed would not “overreact” to data and sentiment swings.
Yesterday we registered a very ugly 10-point drop in the US Conference Board Consumer Confidence reading in June, with the survey now poised at the same level as back in January, which was in turn the lowest level since September of 2017. This time around, confidence has weakened sharply without the semi-crash in equity markets we saw into year end of 2018. Consumer confidence measures correlate best with jobs numbers and the most high frequency jobs data we can observe are the initial weekly jobless claims, which would likely start to show elevated readings on a moving average basis if confidence is deteriorating. We don’t have evidence of a rise in claims just yet – more of a flattening after years of falling claims numbers, but these bear watching more closely. If we print a near-zero nonfarm payrolls change or worse next week, we should be able to ignore Bullard’s words and expect more aggressive easing from the Fed.
From here, we’re on to the upcoming G20 meeting and quarter-end effects with the market entirely unsure how to price the former, while for the latter, we’ll focus most on how bonds behave after quarter end after the US 10-year benchmark yield dropped 40 basis points during the quarter and has reached the round 2.00% yield level.
Buying EURUSD dips with stops below 1.1300 on daily closing basis.
Short EURNOK with stops above 9.71 for a go at well below 9.60
Long AUDUSD but looking to take tactical profits on a squeeze above 0.7000
For EURUSD to continue higher here, the pair needs to find support in the 1.1350 area ideally, and certainly needs to avoid a run below 1.1300. Note the 200-day moving average coming in around the higher level and that this was also the local pivot high.
USD – the USD bounce on yesterday’s developments rather modes and has not threatened the bears’ confidence just yet. As we have pointed out, the real test for the bears will be when/if negative US news starts to negatively impact overall risk sentiment.
EUR – again, the 1.1350 area in EURUSD is the immediate focus and stops below there on a break could drive a further dip, but as we discuss above, as long as the 1.1300 handle survives, we’ll remain constructive.
JPY – yesterday making clear that long yields more important than risk appetite for JPY direction. The USDJPY backup here threatens the bearish outlook only a rise and close above 108.00.
GBP – EURGBP etching new highs as markets continue to fret “hard Brexit or Corbyn”, and while Labour leader Corbyn is not popular, rising general election odds raise concerns that the pro-Brexit vote could be split between the Brexit party and the Conservatives, allowing a Labour win.
CHF – some of the strength here could be the flip-side of sterling weakness on Brexit uncertainty, but certainly the inability of EU yields to bounce from record lows weighing as well. The 1.1000 area in EURCHF the next area to look for whether the Swisss National Bank is putting up a fight.
AUD – the reaction to the G20 meeting between XI and Trump risks being felt acutely here on any firm developments. AUDUSD rally also nearing the key 0.7000 level, above which a large number of speculative shorts have likely placed stops, given the technical significance of the level.
CAD – the CAD rally supported by a strong surge in US WTI crude benchmark on the recent refinery explosion that is the Eastern seaboard’s largest. Have a hard time seeing USDCAD taking out 1.3050-00 if risk sentiment is weak. Key signals for both oil markets and risk sentiment over G20 and OPEC meetings this weekend.
SEK – a nice technical break lower in EURSEK that begins to break the long term uptrend as long as we hold below 10.60 locally and eventually progress toward at least 10.40, though a more robust sell-off into 10.25-20 would make a more forceful long-term statement.
NOK – EURNOK rather sluggish in moving lower after the initial break on the hawkish Norges Bank – I wonder if NOKSEK flows on the sudden surge in SEK have thrown up a temporary hurdle for overall NOK progress higher. Next focus for EURNOK is 9.55-50.
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