From late May through early June, the USDCAD pair broke down through key support and the 200-day moving average on the persistent rise in crude oil and as US equities had rebounded sharply from the lows of May. CAD was the strongest G10 currency for much of this period. Then, things suddenly turned south for CAD and USDCAD launched a sharp rally higher from nearly 1.2520 to 1.3000 when global stocks suffered an ugly rout from June 9-11, accelerated by the US May CPI release on June 10 that send US and global yields soaring in anticipation of a tighter Fed and the WSJ tip-off that the June 15 FOMC meeting would deliver 75 basis point hike. USDCAD peaked (and risk sentiment bottomed) on June 17, two days after the FOMC. Since then, the WTI crude oil benchmark has backed off from highs well north of 120 dollars per barrel to as low as 101.50 before rebound to about 106 as of this writing. That is extremely CAD negative, and yet USDCAD has traded in a tight range over the last week because off-setting that is the USD-negative sudden mark-down in Fed hiking expectations accelerated yesterday by weak flash June PMI data that mimicked the weak EU flash June PMI data. The market has marked the peak rate from the Fed by around 50 basis points and pulled the anticipated peak in the policy rate into very early next year.
As long as yields continue falling and risk sentiment prefers to celebrate that fact rather than fact that this is an expression of the fear of recession, the pressure for the USD to rise fades. But if the next batches of economic data show that the Fed can’t back down any time soon due to persistent inflation readings from services inflation, rising rents and/or a still-tight jobs market, the USD could yet rise on a re-adjustment back higher of Fed tightening anticipation. On the other hand, if risk sentiment begins to falter on recession concerns, the US dollar may trade higher as a safe-haven. Technically, the comeback of the last couple of weeks is remarkable and trend-followers will look for a solid fall of the very well-defined 1.3000 area to indicate and next leg higher toward 1.3500. The tactical situation to the downside is rather more uncertain due to the huge swings in both directions within the range in recent weeks.
The US dollar strength and higher US yields are the one-two punch continuing to drive risky assets into the red as the week gets under way, with US equity markets at new lows for the cycle ahead of the US open today. I suspect now that in the bigger picture, this cycle of USD strength only ends once US long yields begin falling, and falling because the Fed has exercised its put with new yield caps or because US pension- and/or other rules are changed requiring US savers to hold more treasuries, not because market forces at some point decide that long US treasuries are a superior long-term investment. For now, it would seem talk of such eventualities are premature, although if volatility continues at the current level for much longer, it will sharply bring forward the eventual policy response.
A number of USD pairs are at significant chart tipping point as this week gets under way. The most well defined of these is perhaps the 0.7000 level in AUDUSD, although USDCAD in the 1.2950+ area is quite remarkable as well – an area that has seen at least four prior touches, first as support just prior to the pandemic in early 2020 and then as resistance once the pair crashed back down through that level later that year. Oil prices are challenged from the demand side on Chinese Zero Covid lockdowns and budding behaviour change globally from skyrocketing diesel- and jet fuel prices. The range above there and above the psychological 1.3000 level is considerable – all the way to the double top of 1.4600+ from 2016 and 2020, but the bulk of the time, the 1.3650 area capped the action during those years. If oil suffers a more significant setback over this latest risk deleveraging event, that level could quickly come into play. The private debt leverage is far higher in Canada than in the US and one of the more sensitive sectors to rising rates is housing, which represents a far greater portion of the Canadian GDP growth over the last decade and a half relative to the US – interesting to watch the trajectory of the housing market in both countries after the enormous back-up in yields in recent months.
The Bank of Japan continues to swim against the stream of global central bank tightening as it maintained course overnight with its policy mix of negative yields and yield-curve-control, triggering a wave of fresh JPY weakening that was only moderated slightly by a sharp drop in US treasury yields.
The Bank of Japan refused to budge overnight, standing pat on its policy of yield-curve-control and announcing daily operations in the bond market to defend the policy, with no guidance suggesting a change of course, though a brief comment on foreign exchange was inserted into the policy statement.
That suggests that there is some level of JPY weakness at which the Bank of Japan may be forced to revisit its policy commitments, but that we aren’t there yet.
Sterling rallied hard yesterday in the wake of the Bank of England meeting yesterday, with UK rates and the currency focusing more on the hawkish guidance the meeting produced rather than due to the small 25-basis point hike. The bank said it would react “forcefully” if inflation doesn’t develop as hoped (which will take some doing – the Bank of England expecting the CPI to hit north of 11.0% before falling back after October) which suggests the willingness to hike by 50 basis points even if the economic outlook is not promising.
Trade accordingly with your risk
The euro boost comes as ECB expectations are rising sharply again on the back of fresh rhetoric indicating more urgency to kick off the rate tightening cycle. The ECB’s Villeroy, Nagel and Vasle today all indicated a strong lean for getting going, with Villeroy saying the case for ECB net debt purchases after June is “not obvious” and that it is “reasonable” to expect rates above zero by year-end. The Bundesbank chief Nagel said the ECB must get on with normalizing policy and that it shouldn’t hold back just because of the difficult backdrop, and Vasle saying it would be appropriate to raise rates before summer which means at the June 9 meeting where the odds remain low for a hike. This has helped the euro higher against the lowest yielding CHF and the JPY punching bag as EU longer date yields also rose to new highs for the cycle. The German Bund yield has touched 1.00% in recent days.
EURCHF is the focus of the day as the ECB earns some respect from the market in signaling more urgency to kick off its tightening regime. The price action has taken the pair above the well-defined 1.0400-area resistance as the yield spread has stretched some 100 basis points in the euro’s favour for 2-year since early March, more than off-setting now, apparently, the existential concerns that are burbling in the background as the Germany-periphery yield spreads widen. The 1.0500 area 200-day moving average is the next area of interest.
Since March 2021, EURCHF is on a legitimate downtrend and since the end of February, the pair was in a symmetric triangle pattern . By the beginning of May, after a series of bullish candles, the price managed to escape from the triangle to the upside. That only encouraged buyers and increased the momentum allowing the price to rise further and break the mid-term down trendline .
Breaking those two resistances is definitely a great sign and an invitation to go long. The buy signal is here and stays on the table as long as the price stays above the horizontal support on the 1.035.
An alternative scenario includes the price coming back below the orange support, which would effectively give us a sell signal. But the chance of that happening are now rather limited.
The daily and weekly EUR/JPY charts show a bullish picture for the pair, despite multiple overbought signals flashing a warning. As with all strong moves, traders may be wise to wait for a period of consolidation before entering a trade.
The Japanese Yen remains under pressure due to a series of factors. The Bank of Japan (BoJ) said on Monday that monetary tightening is not ‘suitable’ despite annualized core inflation hitting 2.1% in April. BoJ governor Kuroda believes this rise to be temporary and that the central bank will continue to keep monetary policy loose for longer to allow the economy room to grow.
Some market advisors have even mooted the idea of 50 basis point hikes as the ECB struggles to control runaway inflation. Higher interest rates will continue to boost the Euro’s attraction.
The BoJ continues to lean on loose monetary policies, and the European Central Bank (ECB) is looking to tighten the monetary screws. While a rate hike, from a current level of -0.50% - is not expected to be announced at this week’s policy meeting, financial markets have already priced in a series of 25 basis point increases through the rest of the year.
Trade accordingly with your risk
The Bank of Japan refused to capitulate overnight as it doubled down on its yield curve control policy and announced unlimited daily auctions to enforce its yield-curve-control policy. This set the JPY on tilt again, with USDJPY rushing well above 130.00 overnight in the wake of the meeting.
Going into the BoJ overnight, expectation bias was that the Bank of Japan would have to loosen up its forward guidance in some meaningful way, even if very cautiously so. Kuroda and company could have taken the opportunity, for example, to indicate a two-way policy potential: on the one hand suggesting that for now it expects inflation will prove transitory and that it is happy with its current policy mix, but that if global yields continue to rise at anything resembling the recent pace and inflation for cost of living expenses, particularly those driven by a weaker JPY it may have to adjust its yield-curve-control policy in future meetings. The government’s recent fiscal package aimed at offsetting cost-of-living increases for vulnerable households is a clue that the weak JPY is weighing politically ahead of important lower house election in July. Instead, the BoJ meeting overnight saw Kuroda and company doubling down on the current policy mix and even announcing daily auctions with unlimited backing of the 0.25% 10-year yield cap.
Ironically, if global yields stagnate here and we avoid any new drama in energy prices, the pressure on the JPY could subside rather quickly, as the big devaluation story needs fresh fuel and a rise in yields elsewhere if the JPY is to remain under significant further pressure. The Japanese Ministry of Finance was out tempering the JPY decline with some sharp comments early today in Europe, but intervention would be silly and even more politically toxic perhaps than the MoF getting on the phone with Kuroda and twisting his arm to loosen up monetary policy guidance. Either way, Japan absorbs the pressure whether it is on the currency and inflation of imported goods or via a rise in yields.
USDJPY exploded all the way through the 130.00 level and to 131.00 on the Bank of Japan refusing to change its policy mix at a time when virtually all other central banks are in a strong tightening regime, with USD liquidity concerns adding further energy to the fresh surge overnight. The natural focus is on the early 2000’s high above 135.00, but there is nothing holding the pair back from a surge to 150.00 or higher if US 10-year Treasury yields continue to rise and take out the 2018 high of 3.25%. The situation becomes increasingly dangerous if the pressure ratchets higher to the upside, as an eventual capitulation from the BoJ would come at an even loftier level and trigger that much large of an avalanche of mean reversion.
The gold weekly forecast is up as a possible pause in rising interest rates could return its appeal as a hedge against a possible recession.
Last week, gold had its second bullish week, closing at 1853.46. The weaker dollar brought on this move, which was also lost for a second week, closing below 102.00. This move was due to poor GDP data from the US, which pointed to a slowdown in the economy.
Gold investors expect consumer confidence in economic activity in the US to drop from 107.3 to 103.9. A lower-than-expected value could push the dollar lower and gold higher. Investors will also be keen on the unemployment rate, which they expect to decrease from 3.6% to 3.5%.
The daily chart shows gold pulled back to the 22-SMA last week, closing on a bullish candle after being supported at the 1800.00 critical level. Gold might either break the SMA to the upside or bounce to the downside.
A break above SMA could see gold get to 1900.00 in the coming week. If prices push lower, then the metal might retest the 1800.00 level. The gold weekly technical forecast remains bullish as RSI has stayed above the 30 level. This bias will only change if RSI can get below 30.
The GBP/USD pair remained under intense selling pressure for the third successive day on Monday and plunged to the 1.2700 mark, or its lowest level since September 2020 during the mid-European session.
The British pound was pressured by last week's dismal macro data, which indicated that the UK economy is under stress from the soaring inflation. On the other hand, the prospects for a more aggressive policy tightening by the Fed pushed the US dollar to a more than two-year high and contributed to the heavily offered tone surrounding the GBP/USD pair.
Sterling is taking a broad beating, as well it should, with the economy beset by supply-side limitations, a contracting fiscal outlook and a cost-of-living crisis that is already showing signs of crimping real growth, with last week’s weak March Retail Sales and second-lowest ever April GfK Consumer Confidence reading helping to spark the sterling meltdown on top of the pressure provided by the strengthening US dollar. And this is before the inevitable roll-over in home prices once higher rates begin to bite. The UK has a yawning current account deficit aggravated over the last 6 months by spiraling costs for its energy imports, while recent weak risk appetite reduces the potential for investment capital inflows to offset. The 1.3000 level in GBPUSD gave way on Friday with brutal force and the follow through to kick off this week looks ominous. On the chart, the eye is drawn toward the massive 1.2000 level – arguably the real range support when not considering the worst chaotic days in early 2020 during the reaction to the global pandemic outbreak.
A convincing break below the 1.2700 mark, leading to a subsequent break through the September 2020 low, around the 1.2675 region, will reaffirm the negative bias. The GBP/USD pair might then turn vulnerable to weaken further below the 1.2600 round figure and accelerate the slide towards the 61.8% Fibo. level, around the key 1.2500 psychological mark.
On the flip side, the 1.2755-1.2760 region now seems to act as an immediate resistance ahead of the 1.2800 mark. Any subsequent move up is more likely to run out of steam near the 1.2825-1.2830 region, which should act as a pivotal point. Sustained strength beyond could trigger a near-term short-covering move.
The USD pair showing the most volatility over the last few sessions is USDCHF, which managed to pull all the way above parity at the peak of the strong USD wave before retreating sharply all the way to below 0.9700 as of this morning before finding support. Surprisingly, that more than 300 pip retracement has only seen the pair testing slightly through below 0.9200. The franc has found support on lower safe-haven yields that have also supported the JPY recently, but also after yesterday saw the SNB President Jordan out with the first firm hint that the bank is concerned about the inflation outlook and the risk of second round effects. No specifics, and Swiss rates haven’t really responded, but the CHF jumped on the news. All of this after the recent EURCHF attempt on 1.0500 has failed and USDCHF posted that parity milestone. Will revisit this if EURCHF Is down through 1.0200 support, for now the CHF move looks a bit of an overreaction.
USDCHF has managed the rare feat of providing significant volatility in recent weeks after a long period of choppy action as both currencies have often been classified as “safe-havens” in recent years. After launching a rocket ride from the sub 0.9200 base, USDCHF rose as high all the way above parity on the extreme Fed-SNB policy divergence story (Swiss short government debt will be some of the last negative yielding stuff standing for this cycle) as well as the disproportionate pressure on all things European in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The consolidation has been sharp for the reasons noted above, but is still far above the break-out line below 0.9500. Looks like the pair has staked out the new range above that figure and at least to the old range highs into 1.000-1.0200 for now. Looking cheap here?
Trade accordingly with your risk
The risk sentiment slide yesterday gathered further momentum as the Biden White House was out fretting an “extraordinarily elevated” March CPI release today. Whether that is simply to prep the general public for the first 8-handle on the headline year-on-year CPI in over 40 years or because it has had a sneak peek at the data and it is even worse than the consensus expectations for an 8.4% reading (and 1.2% month-on-month, with core expected at +0.5% MoM and +6.6% YoY) is impossible to say. A 9% CPI rate could encourage the market to look for a move straight to 1.00% at the May FOMC meeting, something the market has not yet been willing to price, preferring instead to predict multiple 50-basis point moves.
More interesting than the data itself will be to track the market reaction in longer maturity treasuries after we have seen a strong pivot in the direction of steepening of the yield curve in recent days.
The most alarming being that the market has become less concerned that projections of Fed tightening are getting too aggressive and therefore eventually risking an incoming recession. Instead, a continued steepening of the yield curve here could suggest that the market thinks that the Fed is not in any way in control of the narrative or inflation yet, with the risk that an inflationary mind-set has taken hold that could suddenly bring forward demand (make large purchases now and generally hoard what can be hoarded rather than waiting for price rises later) and lead to a scramble for hard assets and spiking monetary velocity. This would trigger the risk of a titanic inflationary bust in the worst instance.
USDCAD has bounced back to just about the half-way point of its slide from the early March highs inspired by the risk-off meltdown in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One the one hand, CAD under pressure from weaker risk sentiment of late and the correction in oil, although as we point out above, the market has repriced longer term oil prices significantly higher. And Canada’s trade bounce has pulled out of a long period of large deficits to begin posting solid trade surpluses. The Bank of Canada tomorrow is seen hiking 50 basis points for the first time since 2000. If the focus in coming days is on inflation risks and crude oil rebounds strongly without a strong melt-down in risk sentiment, USDCAD could post a key reversal lower if the BoC encourages the market’s forward pricing of its hiking intentions (currently looking for a BoC policy rate near 2.2% by year end – about in-line with Fed expectations.)