The madness of March leaves USD mixed

Michael O’Neill

FX Trader, Loonieviews.net

Summary:  The US dollar is going to close out the first quarter of 2019 on a mixed note as equity markets continue to extract meaning from the cloud of bland and vague statements surrounding the Sino-US trade negotiations.


Wall Street extended yesterday’s gains with prices supported by a somewhat improved tone to the US-China trade talks. There hasn’t been a lot of new information other than a tweet from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin describing the just-concluded negotiations as “constructive”, which makes the conclusion questionable.

Today’s US economic data were mixed to disappointing. Personal spending and income data were soft while New Home Sales were on the firm side. A rise in Michigan Consumer Sentiment offset a drop in the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. The January reports are still sketchy due to the government shutdown and poor weather.

It wasn’t a good day for USDCAD bulls. The currency pair opened in New York with a bullish bias while probing topside resistance in the 1.3440 area. Prices drifted to 1.3420 ahead of the release of the January GDP report and then exploded lower, touching 1.3344 when Real GDP rose 0.3%. Statistics Canada described the data as “fully offsetting the declines in November and December 2018. The rise was widespread as 18 of 20 industrial sectors were up.”

The icing on the cake were the better than expected Raw Materials Price Index and Industrial Product Price data. Prices are still above the March uptrend line, which suggests bullish sentiment still prevails.

The US dollar is going to close out the first quarter of 2019 on a mixed note. The British pound is poised to finish as the best-performing currency by a long shot, although that could quickly change as the Brexit debacle extends into overtime. The commodity bloc currencies are also finishing on a positive note led by an oil-fueled rally in the Canadian dollar. Euro edged out the Japanese yen as the biggest loser.
Source: Saxo Bank/IFXA
The first week of the second quarter looks like it will be busy. The US/China trade negotiations will be a focus when China Manufacturing PMI data are released on Monday, while Wednesday’s US Retail sales report will be scrutinised to see if the weak December and January data were anomalies or evidence of a slowdown. The Reserve Bank of Australia meeting on Tuesday could cause fireworks if it adopts an easing bias.
USDCAD (four-hour, source: Saxo Bank)
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