FX Trading focus: Whiplash for USD traders, JPY continues plunge.
Yesterday saw a bizarre melt-up in risk sentiment that took the USD down a few notches. There was no readily identifiable trigger for the sentiment shift yesterday, which could be related to heavy derivatives exposure and stretched sentiment. Even for the relatively near term, it is hard to see a meaningful USD turnaround without anticipation that the Fed is set to ease up on its tightening message, with the chicken-and-egg dilemma that it will likely only do so once employment indicators (badly lagging) are headed clearly south.
A considerable portion of the USD weakness yesterday was against sterling, with GBPUSD managing to back all the way up above 1.1400 in late trading. Sterling even made a bid at breaking through pivotal levels in EURGBP, although that move has been corralled for now (low near 0.8575 – trading well above 0.8700 as of this writing). It is interesting to see headlines attributing the latest sterling surge to FT sources indicating that the Bank of England will delay any attempt to do QT for now (The BoE pushed back against that story this morning). Sure, the recent sterling recovery was achieved as the new UK Chancellor reversed most of Truss’ budget-busting initiatives, and on the Bank of England bringing emergency liquidity and indicating it would be will to hike as much as necessary to stabilize markets at the next meeting. When you ease the liquidity crisis in the proverbial burning theater, sterling can stabilize. Stabilization will not necessarily lead to a strong new rally. As for the QT, it would be a sign of ongoing fragility if the BoE was to fail to carry out any QT for now, not a source of sterling strength. We may have seen the top in GBPUSD here unless this strange melt-up in risk sentiment extends.
Elsewhere, interesting to note that despite a weak US dollar yesterday and into this morning, the Japanese yen remains resolutely weak, with new highs in JPY crosses and even USDJPY again today (although possible signs of intervention as I am writing today’s report – more in the chart discussion below). Bank of Japan governor Kuroda remains unmoved, arguing for no change in policy once again overnight and saying that inflation would eventually fall back even if currency weakness risked aggravating inflation levels and telling a lawmaker who asked that he resign that he has no plans of quitting. Have to believe the next round of intervention may be coming up soon for JPY crosses, but speculators may be smelling blood after the prior round failed to impress beyond a few hours, as noted below.
In posting a USDJPY chart today, I was originally going to ask whether intervention is on the way, given we were posting new highs in USDJPY this morning and nearing the 150.00 level. Then, what might be intervention or what might be a nervy market over-reacting to large transactions materialized suddenly, with all JPY crosses dipping suddenly and violently, only to recover much of the lost ground within minutes. Official intervention would more likely have driven a larger move. Let’s recall what happened the last time the BoJ intervened a few weeks ago, when USDJPY challenged above the important 145.00 area resistance at the time: an initial low was posted within an hour just below 141.00 and then a few hours later that low was slightly exceeded before the rebound back to more or less unchanged within two days. Working against the intervention efforts was a fresh rise in global bond yields at the time – a factor that will continue to overwhelm any intervention efforts as long as long yields stay here or run higher still. But safe to say that the threat of official intervention makes tactical trading a risky business.