FX Update: Bar is high for meaningful FOMC surprise with other irons in the fire. FX Update: Bar is high for meaningful FOMC surprise with other irons in the fire. FX Update: Bar is high for meaningful FOMC surprise with other irons in the fire.

FX Update: Bar is high for meaningful FOMC surprise with other irons in the fire.

Forex 5 minutes to read
John Hardy

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  With expectations virtually nil for strong signals from the Fed at the FOMC meeting tonight, the meeting could well surprise expectations, which have perhaps shifted slightly to the hawkish side on the potential for the Fed to move sooner rather than later on the taper. But the next steps from the Fed are likely far less important than other irons this market will have in the fire in coming weeks, like the debt ceiling and next steps for fiscal stimulus, recent market volatility itself and more.

FX Trading focus: What if FOMC doesn’t really matter?

Of course the FOMC will matter if the FOMC comes out with a decidedly hawkish tilt this evening, but I consider that highly unlikely, even if a few dots on the dot plot could continue to highlight the widening divide in views on the desirable course of Fed policy and the median lift-off time frame could shift forward another quarter with more dispersion in forecasts. Elsewhere, we are likely to get a more hawkish outcome than the market has been looking for in recent weeks on the taper message, though others have convinced me that this is now becoming the consensus view, taking the sting out of the potential for a market reaction to the Fed indicating a desire to get going asap with tapering purchases and possibly even at a relatively rapid pace of 20 billion or more reduction per month. This doesn’t mean we won’t get a market reaction, just that what happens in the wake of tonight’s meeting may have little to do with what Powell and company say and forecast in the accompanying materials, whether marginally more hawkish or significantly more dovish than expected.

That’s because I suspect that  the medium term questions that this market is grappling with have little to do with Fed policy at the margin, and far more to do with the course of inflation and massive headwinds for real growth due to snarled supply chains and constraints in the labour market. And more immediately, we have the concern over the US debt ceiling and risk of a US government shutdown and US Congressional brinksmanship that is drawn out until December or even later. Then there are the implications of even an orderly Evergrande wind-up, etc. And as we head into 2022, we will have a US treasury that will need to play catchup on issuance, potentially spiking US yields higher as the Fed is stepping away from its support, while a fiscal “cliff” lies ahead next year if the dysfunctional US Congress can’t put together a significant stimulus package, one that, even if passed, would risk feeding straight into inflation anyway rather than real GDP growth, given the constraints noted above.

The euro may trade with relatively low beta to the US dollar direction in the wake of tonight’s meeting. If US long yields come a bit unglued and trade sharply higher, however, whether due to what the FOMC brings to the table or because the market is looking forward at other issues from here, the euro and yen could weaken more sharply versus the US dollar than otherwise, trading with high beta to any rise in US treasury yields. Regardless, the level to watch in EURUSD remains the low of 2021 down at 1.1664, a break of which on the close today opens up for a test toward perhaps 1.1500 in the days to weeks to come. Looking lower, a massive level is the 1.1290 area 61.8% Fibo level of the rally wave from the lows early last year to the 1.2350 area high posted in the first week of this year.

Source: Saxo Group

GBP struggles despite forward market expectations for the Bank of England at the high of the cycle. The natural gas disruptions in the UK and implications for industry, together with labor shortages may be dampening prospects for significant UK-bound investment save for in existing assets. We have GBPUSD trading  rather hard down toward the key 1.3600 area and EURGBP up trading with locally pivotal 0.8600 and above – room for more pain there unless the Bank of England takes a strong stand tomorrow, and really anything they say can’t address the issues plaguing the UK growth potential here.

Weak PLN as EU showdown stakes rise. Yesterday, a high EU court ordered Poland to pay a EUR 500k daily fine for continuing to operate a lignite (low energy, highly polluting, “brown coal”) mine in the far southwest corner of Poland, closer in proximity to Czech and German population centers than any towns of note in Poland and used as feedstock for some 7% of Poland’s power generation. Poland has refused to shut down the mine or pay the fine and is hot under the collar, especially at Czech Republic, which it sees as driving the case to this  outcome. It is yet another sign that the country is at odds with the EU on top of other issues like the independence of the judiciary. The zloty is close to the cycle lows versus the Euro and the central bank in Poland is dragging its feet in indicating a willingness to hike rates. If Germany sees a Red-Green government, the outlook for EU recovery fund disbursement to Poland next year and a deepening showdown are dead ahead.

Table: FX Board of G10 and CNH trend evolution and strength
Note sterling really starting to slip in trending terms to outright negative, which could risk deepening if the BoE can’t save the pound tomorrow. Also, the commodity dollars are increasingly in synch, with the kiwi a bit unfairly resilient, given a stumble in rate expectations this week. NOK outperformance at risk tomorrow if the Norges Bank guidance isn’t sufficiently hawkish and risk sentiment doesn’t continue to improve.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group

Table: FX Board Trend Scoreboard for individual pairs
EURCHF is tilting back lower after the head-fake and break of all manner of resistance to the upside recently – further confirmation of this reversal needed post-FOMC (CHF sensitive to yield direction). SEK in danger of limping to the weak side if risk sentiment stays wobbly, especially after a very dovish Riksbank – note EURSEK struggling to stay negative.

Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Group

Upcoming Economic Calendar Highlights (all times GMT)

  • 1400 – US Aug. Existing Home Sales
  • 1430 – US DoE Weekly Crude Oil and Product Inventories
  • 1600 – UK Bank of England’s Woods to speak at Mansion House
  • 1800 – US FOMC Meeting
  • 1830 – US Fed Chair Powell Press Conference
  • 2100 – Brazil Selic Rate Announcement

Quarterly Outlook 2024 Q3

Sandcastle economics

01 / 05

  • Macro: Sandcastle economics

    Invest wisely in Q3 2024: Discover SaxoStrats' insights on navigating a stable yet fragile global economy.

    Read article
  • Bonds: What to do until inflation stabilises

    Discover strategies for managing bonds as US and European yields remain rangebound due to uncertain inflation and evolving monetary policies.

    Read article
  • Equities: Are we blowing bubbles again

    Explore key trends and opportunities in European equities and electrification theme as market dynamics echo 2021's rally.

    Read article
  • FX: Risk-on currencies to surge against havens

    Explore the outlook for USD, AUD, NZD, and EM carry trades as risk-on currencies are set to outperform in Q3 2024.

    Read article
  • Commodities: Energy and grains in focus as metals pause

    Energy and grains to shine as metals pause. Discover key trends and market drivers for commodities in Q3 2024.

    Read article


The Saxo 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 is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Inspiration Disclaimer and (v) Notices applying to Trade Inspiration, 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Trading in financial instruments carries risk, and may not be suitable for you. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Please read our disclaimers:
Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-sg/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments. Saxo Markets does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo Markets or its affiliates.

Saxo Markets
88 Market Street
CapitaSpring #31-01
Singapore 048948

Contact Saxo

Select region


Saxo Capital Markets Pte Ltd ('Saxo Markets') is a company authorised and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) [Co. Reg. No.: 200601141M ] and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms & Risk Warning to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Trading in leveraged products such as Margin FX products may result in your losses exceeding your initial deposits. Saxo Markets does not provide financial advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation.

The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit www.home.saxo/en-sg/about-us/awards.

The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website are not intended for residents of the United States, Malaysia and Japan. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the US and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.