FX Trading focus: US CPI release and USD picture. AUDNZD in the spotlight.
Over the last few days, the US dollar has largely weakened as a function of brightening risk sentiment and hopes that the energy situation might eventually improve for Europe if Ukrainian battlefield successes compound further and prove a gamechanger for the medium term energy outlook for Europe. It’s impossible to predict developments there, but to get a more determined extension higher, we’ll need a steady stream of improvements and something that can bring the prospect of actual deliveries of Russian natural gas through the pipelines. I’m not sure I understand the path in that direction in the near term.
That brings us to today’s August US CPI release, which is expected to show headline inflation at -0.1% month-on-month and +8.1% year-on-year, with the more important core “ex Food and Energy” CPI reading expected at +0.3% MoM and +6.1% YoY (vs. +5.9% in July and a cycle peak of ). The core print, especially the month-on-month reading, is far more important than the headline data. Look for a significant reaction on a downside miss even of 0.1%, but the market may get very upset if we get a +0.4% or higher reading. It’s hard to know how the market is positioned for this data point, given that Fed expectations are pinned near the highs of the cycle, while the USD has backed off very sharply and risk sentiment has enjoyed a strong surge. The latter suggests that the surprise side is a hot core inflation reading.
Sterling is trading a bit firmer as the currency is the most sensitive to prospects for an improved natural gas delivery outlook, with the markets hopes up on that front due to developments in Ukraine. The UK August payrolls data this morning was stronger than expected and the unemployment dropped to a nearly 50-year low of 3.6% versus expectations for 3.8% expected. And yet, August Jobless Claims posted their first positive reading since early 2021 and are trending very sharply higher. The Bank of England is rapidly seeing expectations repriced for a 75 basis point hike at next Thursday’s meeting, but it’s not fully there yet. Ahead of today’s US CPI release, GBPUSD is trading up close to the first important resistance, the major pivot low in July near 1.1760. The next few sessions should be pivotal for the pair.