Are the Technicals Anticipating a Soft US GDP Report? Could it be a “Sell the Rumor buy the Fact?”
Indeed, the greenback fell against all the major currencies, even the Japanese yen, against which it had reached new four-year highs (~JPY114.70) before pulling back. On the other hand, the Antipodean currencies and the Norwegian krone continued to lead the move against the US dollar. The Aussie rose to new three-month highs, while the Kiwi, Nokkie, and Canadian dollar saw four-month highs.
Emerging market currencies were more mixed than the majors. At the end of the week, Russia’s larger than expected 75 bp rate hike helped lift the rouble, the best emerging market currency, last week. It reached a 15-month high ahead of the weekend. The Chinese yuan reached its best level in five months last week.
On the other hand, the Turkish lira and Brazilian real came under intense selling pressure. Turkey’s central bank showed little concern about the lira’s exchange rate when it delivered a larger-than-expected 200 bp cut in the one-week repo rate. At 16%, it stands below the headline and core inflation rates (19.58% and 16.98%, respectively in September. The lira lost 3.7% last week and fell to a record low.
The lira dropped by 25% in 2020 and is off another 22.6% this year. Political and economic turmoil in Brazil gave Turkey a run for its money. The Brazilian real fell 3.3% last week, which almost doubled its depreciation this year to 8.00%. President Bolsonaro has lost the confidence of investors and local businesses. Brazil may report that inflation stabilized (above 10%) in October, ahead of the central bank meeting, which is widely expected to lift the Selic rate 100 bp to 7.25%. It would be the third such move this year after beginning the cycle with three 75 bp increases.
The high for the year was set on October 12, near 94.55. It pulled back to around 93.50 early last week before consolidating. It met the (38.2%) retracement objective of the leg up that began in early September and came in about 93.55. The next important chart area is the 93.00-93.25. The momentum indicators are still headed lower, but prices have stabilized. A close back above 94.00 would suggest that minor correction is over.
The Dollar Index settled at the end of last month slightly below 94.25. If it does not recapture this by the end of next week, it will post the first monthly loss since July. The dollar’s losses may reflect some position adjustment ahead of a soft GDP report. However, the market could be vulnerable to a “sell the rumor buy the fact” as the market quickly turns its attention to the November 3 FOMC meeting and the start of tapering.
Although the single currency held above $1.16 since testing the $1.1570 area on October 18, the upside was limited to the $1.1670 area approached on October 19. Indeed, it has been confined to Tuesday’s range (~$1.1610-$1.1670) and traded in about a third of a cent range ahead of the weekend. The momentum indicators are pointing higher. Yet, the market lacks energy even though the five-day moving average cross above the 20-day moving average for the first time since mid-September.
The US 2-year premium over Germany rose for the sixth consecutive week and around 110 bp, it is the most since March 2020. It was closer to 200 bp before the pandemic. The ECB meets next week, but important decisions are not expected until the December meeting. The EMU reports Q3 GDP, and it is expected to have grown around 2% quarter-over-quarter. Lastly, rising energy prices and a weaker euro suggest that the preliminary October CPI risk is on the upside.
After rising to a four-year high around JPY114.70, the dollar appears to have entered a consolidation phase. It pulled back to about JPY113.40 ahead of the weekend. The weak close sets up a test on the JPY113.25 support area and then JPY112.75. We note that US yields remain firm, but the dollar-yen rate has become a bit less sensitive to it (the correlation has softened). The dollar’s four-week ascent against the yen ended last week with a roughly 0.65% pullback, which tested the trendline off drawn from the lows before last month’s FOMC meeting.
We have suggested that at least initially, the JPY114.50-JPY115.00 may mark the upper end of a new range for the dollar. If that holds, the market may have to fish for the lower end of the range, and perhaps it may be encouraged by a rally in US Treasuries either ahead of or in response to the Q3 GDP estimate, for which the Atlanta Fed’s tracker sees at 0.5% annualized.
Sterling was practically flat last week despite the seventh consecutive weekly increase in the implied yield of the December 2021 short-sterling interest rate futures contract. The implied yield rose 10 bp to about 46 bp. In early September, before the surge in rates began, it was at 0.11%. Even at the end of the week, BOE officials (chief economist Pill) were still goading the market by saying a hike in November was “fairly balanced.”
Sterling’s rally, which began the month near $1.34, stalled around $1.3835 last week (fraying the upper Bollinger Band), just in front of the 200-day moving average (~$1.3850). This area also corresponds to the (50%) retracement of the sell-off since the May high ($1.4200). Momentum indicators are getting stretched but have not begun leveling off. Support is seen in the $1.3675-$1.3700 area.
The Canadian dollar rose for the fifth consecutive week, albeit barely, and reached levels not seen since June. The market is aggressive in pricing in a hike several months before the Bank of Canada anticipated the output gap to be closed. The implied yield of the March 2022 BA futures rose 11.5 bp, marginally exceeding the increase of the previous two weeks. At 0.795%, it is 23 bp on top of the December 2021 contract yield.
The Bank of Canada meets next week and may subtly push against speculation of an early hike. After falling slightly below CAD1.2290, the US dollar reversed higher but again encountered selling pressure near CAD1.2385. Both the MACD and Slow Stochastic appear to have leveled off in oversold territory. However, it probably requires a move above CAD1.2400-CAD1.2425 to suggest a corrective phase as opposed to consolidation.
The Aussie rose 0.6% last week, its third weekly advance. The move extended its gains to 3.3% this month. It settled last month around $0.7225. It is not just against the US dollar; speculative participants have driven the Aussie up on the crosses, including the yen and euro. The $0.7500 area corresponds to the (50%) retracement objective of the slide from early May that began by $0.7900 and bottomed in late August close to $0.7100.
The next (61.8%) retracement is found just shy of $0.7600, but before that, the 200-day moving average (~$0.7565) must be overcome. The momentum indicators are stretched, and the Slow Stochastic has already begun curling over. The Aussie finished last week below its five-day moving average for the first time this month. Initial support is seen around $0.7450, and a break signals a move to $0.7400. If that goes, there is room for another cent pullback.
The peso extended the previous week’s gains that had halted a four-week slide. Indeed, the peso’s nearly 0.75% gain last week put it near the best performers in the emerging market universe. Anticipation of more aggressive rate hikes, even before the bi-weekly CPI, reported before the weekend, accelerated more than forecast. The peso may have also benefited from a rebalancing of portfolios away from Brazil, where neither the political nor economic environment is favorable. The sell-off in bonds, stocks, and currency gives the sense that foreign investors are joining domestic investors in abandoning President Bolsonaro.
The Brazilian real managed to fall nearly as much as the Turkish lira (~3.3% vs. 3.6%). Before the weekend, the US dollar recorded a new low for the month (MXN20.1250) ahead of support seen near MXN20.10. A break sets up for a test on more important support around MXN20.00. The MACD and Slow Stochastic reflect the strong downside momentum. The latter has begun entering oversold territory. Mexico reports September trade, employment, and Q3 GDP next week. Growth is expected to have shifted lower to around 0.5% from 1.1% and 1.5% in Q1 and Q2, respectively.
If we begin by acknowledging that the yuan is closely managed and observe that it has risen four consecutive weeks to levels not seen since June, it seems reasonable to conclude that officials desired some yuan strength. And that strength should be kept in perspective. It is a little less than 1% this month. Still, the 0.8% gain last week was more than the cumulative gains of the previous three weeks and was the biggest advance since the last week of May when the dollar’s three-year low (~CNY6.3570). The dollar finished last week near CNY6.3835.
Some speculate that Beijing’s efforts to secure energy supplies and dampen commodity prices are consistent with a stronger currency. However, the volatility of commodities overwhelms the exchange rate volatility that PBOC officials tolerate. Also, the exchange rate is a blunt instrument, creating unintended consequences. Some demand for the yuan may have stemmed from the dollar bond issuance last week (four tranches for $4 bln). The momentum studies on the offshore yuan are stretched.
This article was written by Marc Chandler, MarctoMarket.