FX Update: Eyeing the post-Covid-19 dawn even as resurgence weighs

Forex 6 minutes to read

John Hardy

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  The Covid-19 pandemic is driving endless short-term headaches that are likely to get only worse in the near term, especially in the US. This will provoke a considerable new policy response that will mostly likely be felt most strongly when the galloping efforts of scientists are rapidly putting the Covid-19 crisis in the mirror sometime next year. Meanwhile, USD traders should have Georgia on their mind.


Today’s FX Trading focus:

Waiting and watching the USD, US rates and Georgia on my mind
The price action in FX has settled again, with implied options volatilies in key pairs staying low after dropping like a rock on the day after US Election day last week. The 3-month EURUSD implied volatility is back in the low 6% area that has been the low of the range since the Covid-19 spike in the spring, and the 1-year is in the same area and almost at a new low since then (the record low was posted in Jan-Feb of this year just below 5%). In other words, this seems a decent level to express a longer term view in either direction, although there is the risk that we head lower still until the US political situation clears up early next year.

On that note, Georgia is the last-ditch chance for the 2020 US Election to spring another surprise, as both Senate seats there are set for a run-off election on January 5. Both sides will engage in an epic fight to get out the vote and the stakes are national in scope, given that the Democrats taking both seats will completely alter the potential scale and focus of fiscal priorities as the 50-50 split of seats would allow Vice President Harris to cast the deciding vote. The market will have to hold its breath for this result, upon which the USD outlook also hinges, as we see larger fiscal stimulus as USD bearish on the relative inflationary risk and as it would aggravate US external deficits.

US yields are still at the top of the agenda if they rise back toward the 1.00% level and beyond for the 10-year US treasury benchmark, although the yield there did back off sharply yesterday and now stands at around 86 basis points. The shorter-term and longer-term outlooks are dissonant: right now we have the uncertainty of a terrible Covid-19 spike in the US requiring restrictions on activity (more likely self-imposed on public advisories rather than any risk of a France-style lockdown, for which Americans don’t have the appetite), but longer term, we trust that science prevails and delivers an effective vaccine.

In the meantime, the Fed and/or the US government can juice the economy with additional stimulus in reacting to this latest ugly Covid-19 risks before a vaccine starts to mitigate the damage sometime next year. When the light at the end of post-Covid-19 tunnel is properly becoming a new dawn sometime next year, a full US re-opening could release a considerable amount of pent-up demand (and pent-up savings from the US stimulus splash this year, much of which was saved) and drive US longer yields much higher – with the added response here over the winter piling on the inflationary potential. That would tend to be US dollar positive if yields are allowed to rush higher at the long end of the curve, although that story could change if the Fed signals a “Twist” operation or that it is mulling yield caps to tamp down longer yields, declaring that it simply will not allow financial conditions to tighten as long as unemployment is above, say, 5%. That would then likely turbo-chart the USD bearish argument on the risk of highly negative real US yields that have been the chief driver already in repricing the US dollar lower.

Chart: USDJPY
USDJPY tends to follow the direction of longer US yields, but investors ought to also consider real yields (the nominal yield less inflation), with Japan’s real yields slightly positive, while US yields are still negative, if rising for longer term treasuries. Incoming US inflation numbers and whether the Fed signals the intent to cap yields at the longer end of the US yield curve will be critical for whether an extension higher in US yields would continue to support USDJPY upside. For now, the technical bullish reversal after the attempt below 104.00 looks decisive until proven otherwise, but the tricky bit is that no rally has found legs in the pair in recent history and is unlikely to unless real – and not just nominal US yields rise from here. The Fed won’t want be willing to allow real yields to rise unless the US economy is suffering a proper over-heating, the last concern on the Fed’s list of concerns at the moment.

Source: Saxo Group

The G-10 rundown

USD – caught between the short term uncertainty and long term bearish conviction on the US dollar – the bearish technical case actually remains intact tactically outside of USDJPY, but needs follow through.

EUR - the EURUSD found support ahead of the final retracement levels and ahead of 1.1750, even as President Lagarde is clearly threatening a large December ECB move and tried to drop the exchange rate into the conversation earlier this week.

JPY- the yen on its knew as long as global yields on the recovery path and risk sentiment continues to look through short-term threats of another Covid-19 resurgence.

GBP – the sterling rally has faltered as Brexit talks wind up today with no sign yet that we are set for a breakthrough – 0.9000 the pivot area for EURGBP. We need a signal.

CHF – EURCHF is back above 1.0800 after nice tight consolidation on rally off the vaccine news at the start of the week. Something brewing on CHF downside here? 1.0875-1.0900 next key in the EURCHF pair.

AUD - a tight consolidation in AUDUSD after the rise off the US election results keeps the bullish case intact and long AUDUSD is one of our 2021 top picks.

CAD – USD bears need to see resistance come in ahead of 1.3200 to keep focus on downside. Some support coming into the oil market soon will help support.

NZD – the RBNZ’s “hawkish” adjustment was absorbed quickly, but is that all we get for NZD upside? I was all set to lean against AUDNZD downside if 1.0500 traded, but beginning to wonder if we ever get that low.

SEK – a solid consolidation setting in here as Covid-19 is an intense concern in Sweden as well – still prefer SEK strength to prevail in EURSEK as long as daily close remains south of 10.30

NOK – EURNOK needs to find resistance in the area it has traded this morning, well below 11.000, to keep the downside view intact – this is the area for NOK bulls to test their case with stops above 11.00.

Upcoming Economic Calendar Highlights (all times GMT)

  • 1200 – US Fed’s Williams (Voter) participating in FT webinar
  • 1330 – US Fed’s Bullard (Non-voter) to speak on US Economy and Monetary Policy
  • 1500 – US Nov. Preliminary University of Michigan Sentiment
  • 1530 – US Weekly Natural Gas Storage
  • 1600 – UK BoE Governor Bailey to Speak
Disclaimer

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 Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to 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.

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
Most of our staff in Singapore are working from home to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. We remain at your service on the details below. Thank you for your understanding.

Contact Saxo

Select region

Singapore
Singapore

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 is not intended for residents of the United States and Japan. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.

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