FX Update: Sterling on the defensive. US yields frozen. FX Update: Sterling on the defensive. US yields frozen. FX Update: Sterling on the defensive. US yields frozen.

FX Update: Sterling on the defensive. US yields frozen.

John Hardy

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  Sterling was the notable mover among currencies yesterday as it fell after Bank of England rhetoric was read as dovish relative to forward expectations. Elsewhere we saw some notable US dollar strength yesterday, but some of this has reversed in today’s trade, with US yields frozen in a tight range all along the US yield curve awaiting incoming data.

FX Trading focus:

  • Sterling sold off on Bank of England rhetoric yesterday
  • USD tries to extend rally, but choppy as US treasuries offer no clues or coincident indications
  • Eurozone and US inflation numbers in focus tomorrow.

Sterling suffered a chunky sell-off on a couple of comments from Bank of England speakers at the ECB forum in Sintra, Portugal yesterday. Even as he bemoaned the causes for the Bank of England under-estimating the inflation risks in its prior forecasts, Chief Economist Huw Pill noted that he was seeing signs of transmission of BoE policy into private rents. The comment suggests that as long as tightening is seen as having some effect, the Bank of England may soft-pedal its approach, particularly when Governor Bailey later chimed in that he expects headline inflation will fall back sharply by the end of this year. There were other comments on second round effects and Bailey questioned market assumptions that a peak would so soon lead to cutting. These sounded none to dovish, and yet UK rates corrected quite sharply at the front-end of the UK yield curve, taking sterling south as well. EURGBP rose above 0.8640 at one point and GBPUSD dropped well through the sub-1.2700 supports to trade closer to 1.2600 at one point before rebounding.

The US dollar was also firm, broadly speaking, but this was not down to any input from data or US treasury yields, which remain remarkably frozen within tight ranges all along the curve. As we discussed in today’s podcast and recently in this column (as of this writing, we have been unable to upload it due to a technical issue with our host – go to https://saxostrats.podbean.com to see if we finally succeeded), to inject some more volatility into this market we need to either see a strong tilt to the worse in the outlook that sparks volatility from a risk sentiment angle or enough ongoing strength in the data to spark a break higher in long term yields – something that would take the US 10-year yield benchmark, for example, north of 4.0% again.

While Bank of England speakers at the ECB forum in Sintra, Portugal managed to move the UK rates needle, the ECB’s Lagarde and Fed Chair Powell failed to do likewise for EU or US rates, clearly an indication that the two central banks there are in data watching mode. EURUSD has chopped around sufficiently to mislead both bears and bulls over the last couple of session, arguing for patience and further signals from a confluence of factors (new incoming data, something that sparks volatility in US long yields, etc. as noted above). Until then, the key levels are fairly well etched now, with 1.1000 on a daily close a minimum hurdle for favouring a possible renewal of the uptrend that has stalled since early May and a close below 1.0850 and perhaps even 1.0800 to point lower for a test of the 1.0635 pivot low. The next best chance for incoming data to dislodge EURUSD from this limbo area are the weekly US jobless claims up today and then the flash June Eurozone core inflation data tomorrow, with the US also reporting May PCE Inflation data.

Source: Saxo

The Riksbank met today and decided on the 25-bp hike that the vast majority of observers expected (some thought Riksbank might do like the BoE and Norges bank and re-accelerate their hiking regime.) In the forward guidance, the Riksbank said it would hike again “at least one more time” this year. It also guided for a faster pace of QT, as it is set to sell SEK 5 billion per month of Swedish government bonds from a pace of 3.5B/month previously. It claimed that the faster pace would help strengthen SEK. The inflation forecasts were kept almost unchanged at 2.4% for next year and 1.8% in 2025 even with some language in the statement fretting how high inflation got and frustration that the pace of its fall has proven slower than anticipated. EURSEK chopped back and forth in the wake of the announcement, briefly posting a new all-time high, but little changed on the day as of this writing.

Table: FX Board of G10 and CNH trend evolution and strength.
The pace of the JPY’s descent has slowed on sovereign yields generally going nowhere. The US dollar is trying to poke to the strong side, but is not generally trending higher just yet in a broad sense. The kiwi has suffered the strongest momentum change over the last couple of trading sessions, probably mostly on a reversal of the over-extended recent AUDNZD sell-off.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group

Table: FX Board Trend Scoreboard for individual pairs.
USD pairs are not showing a consistent picture, as AUDUSD and NZDUSD weakness are more likely due to the gravitational pull of a weak CNH. Note that GBPUSD is getting closer to suffering a reversal. EURJPY features the most extreme trend reading of 9.1, quite remarkable given flat European sovereign yields of the last couple of weeks. Finally, watching out for a bullish reversal confirmation in AUDNZD in coming sessions and whether EURGBP upside develops further after testing resistance.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group
Upcoming Economic Calendar Highlights (all times GMT)
  • 1200 – Germany Flash Jun. CPI
  • 1230 – US Weekly Initial Jobless Claims
  • 2330 – Japan Jun. Tokyo CPI
  • 2330 – Japan May Industrial Production
  • 0130 – China Jun. Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMI

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