FX Trading focus: Position squaring hits heavy euro- and yen shorts
Risk contagion across the board overnight on the news of a new covid strain in South Africa with significant mutations and signs of overtaking as a percentage of cases in regional outbreaks. There may a sudden “straw that broke the camel’s back” angle to this, given the covid concerns elsewhere, particularly in Europe. The timing is worse than unfortunate, as the liquidity backdrop of particular concern as the news has hit with the US out on holiday yesterday and only open for half a session today, with few likely anticipating until last night or this morning that they would even need to bother showing up for work today.
The sense of whiplash has been particularly acute as we have just had a look at US President Biden nominating Powell for a second term and many highlighting the focus on inflation in his acceptance speech for the nomination, with Brainard’s acceptance speech also highlighting inflation as a major concern. This had jolted Fed expectations for next year to new highs for the cycle at the outset of this week, and now just a few days later we get covid mutation concerns that have sent a deleveraging wave across markets.
In US treasuries, this has mean a sharp drop along the entire US yield curve, giving the euro and the yen a strong boost, as the euro in particular was headed south and fast on the policy divergence theme of the ECB seen likely to maintain zero rates and even some level of QE out over the horizon while the market had priced in three full Fed rate hikes by the end of next year before this sudden reversal. On the weak side, while the US dollar has fallen within the G3 and is approximately flat against sterling, the smaller currencies are sharply lower against all of the above, and EM generally doubly so. Meanwhile, a chunky new drop in oil prices on the anticipation of widening international travel restrictions and even domestic lockdowns in places is adding to the NOK woes just after that currency was trying to recover versus the single currency last week, sending EURNOK up through its 200-day moving average and above 10.20 at one point today after trading below 9.70 barely over a month ago.
AUDJPY is doing its usual job of capturing a wave of risk aversion as the lurch lower in risk sentiment was reflected here, and the clearly important 200-day moving average gave way with a bang. This is beginning to demolish the longer-term bullish hopes as it is a hold below the 200-day moving average here is a kind of confirmation of the rejection of the next cycle highs above 85.00 that were attempted last month. Theoretically, if the last gasp support of the 61.8% retracement of the local rally wave can avoid falling, there is shred of hope, but that would likely depend on a full reversal of everything we have just seen overnight.