G7 currency pairs remain within their recent trading ranges as the market treads water ahead of BoJ and Federal Reserve policy meetings next week. The dollar index has slipped a touch, pushing USDJPY below the psychological 140 area. The single currency remains offered, with EURUSD remaining in the doldrums continuing to trade below 1.07. The pair seems fairly comfortable at these levels with the next level of support coming in at 1.0635 and resistance sitting at 1.0707 ahead of 1.0780. We have several ECB officials making speeches later today, and investors will look for further clues ahead of next week’s policy meeting where a 0.25% hike is expected.
GBPUSD continues to trade sideways with the pair struggling to breach resistance at 1.2460. Cable shrugged of data this morning which showed that UK house prices posted their first annual decline since 2012. The mortgage lender, Halifax, said that average prices fell 1% in May from a year ago, with the reading following a string of month on month declines last year. The figures back up last week’s data from the Nationwide Building Society which said that prices resumed their decline in May.
Elsewhere the Aussie dollar rose following hawkish comments from the RBA governor Philip Lowe who said that the recent upside surprises in inflation are testing the central bank’s patience. A rebounding housing market, strong wage gains and persistent service price pressure pushed the RBA to surprise markets yesterday and deliver and interest rate hike for the second straight month.
Friday’s Non-farm Payroll report posted a solid 339,000 gain against a 195,000 estimate, boosting the US dollar and increasing the odds of a July rate hike from the Federal Reserve. Ahead of the report, Fed officials had previously signaled that they plan to keep interest rates unchanged when they meet this month, preferring to keep their options open for future meetings, increasing the odds of a July move. The dollar index rallied, pushing USDJPY through 140 and EURUSD below 1.07, with GBPUSD consolidating around 1.24.
It is a fairly quiet week ahead for euro area data releases, with Thursday’s final Q1 GDP release the highlight of the week. We will look to see if the euro area experienced a winter recession following downward revision to German GDP meaning that overall euro area growth is also likely to be revised down. A negative reading would signal a technical recession given that GDP contracted 0.1% in the fourth quarter of last year.
It is a similarly quiet week for US data as we continue to search for clues on the outlook for the US economy. May’s ISM Services gauge, which is out later today is likely to signal continued demand, with respondents positive about business conditions in the previous month. The trade balance is due to be released Wednesday and Thursday sees the publication of weekly initial jobless claims.
Have a good week.
The US Dollar eased 0.2% ahead of the key May US employment data and after weak factory data suggested a pause in the Fed’s tightening campaign. USD/JPY remains steady below 139, failing to cross this level twice. AUD/USD advanced 0.6% to 0.6610 and NZD/USD gained 0.4% to 0.6096. EUR/USD is moving towards the 1.08 level and GBP/USD consolidates mid 1.25-1.26.
In the US, the senate has passed legislation to suspend the US Debt ceiling and to impose restraints on government spending throughout the 2024 election, avoiding a nation default and an end to what could have caused a global financial crisis.
Patrick Harper, Fed Bank of Philadelphia President, stated the US central bank is near the point where it can stop raising interest rates and hold them on what is a “sufficiently restrictive” level on efforts to bring inflation back to its target. All eyes will be on today’s payroll data where hiring is estimated to have slowed to 195,000, and unemployment ticking up to 3.5% which should support a pause by the Federal Reserve.
Governing Council Member Villeroy de Galhau argued that remaining hikes by the ECB will be “relatively marginal” on underlying inflation pressures. ECB’s rapid tightening cycle has already started to feed through the economy as we could see on inflation data this week, where eurozone underlying inflation dropped more than expected for the month of May.
The single currency remains under pressure against the mighty US dollar, with EURUSD poised for its biggest monthly drop against the greenback in over a year. A somewhat more hawkish Fed coupled with moderating growth and slowing inflation across the euro area has led to a wipeout of all 2023 gains for the pair last month. EURUSD started the month of May on a 1.10 handle after trading within touching distance of 1.11 the previous month and finished the month below 1.07, with many strategists calling the pair even lower going forward. This morning we eagerly await the release of euro zone inflation data, which is likely to have resumed its decline, fueled by a drop in energy prices. However, it is worth noting that we were expecting a similar energy-related drop in the previous UK CPI print, which did not materialize. Markets will look to today’s data for clues on the size and timing of possible rate moves from the ECB.
The House of Representatives passed debt limit legislation to allow the US to borrow more money just days before the world’s largest economy was expected to run out of cash and trigger a default. Lawmakers approved the bill yesterday by a vote of 314-117 despite some defections on both sides of the aisle.
The attention remains in the US this afternoon as markets await the release of weekly initial jobless claims and the May ADP Private Payrolls report. Analysts expect a moderate demand for workers as the economy contends with the lagged impact of higher interest rates. The labor market continues to show signs of cooling and we will learn even more about the strength of the employment market with tomorrow’s Non-farm Payroll release for May which is expected to show a sub 200k print – down from the 253k recorded last month.
Disappointing economic data from China overnight pushed risk sentiment lower as investors sold equities and called for additional stimulus measures to boost growth. Manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 48.8, the lowest level since December and weaker than the 49.5 reading that markets had predicted. A reading of less than 50 indicates contraction from the previous month. The data shows that the recovery has cooled in Q2 after an impressive burst of positive activity earlier in the year as covid measures were removed. The data further boosted the US dollar, with both the Australian and New Zealand dollar losing ground, pushing Aussie below 0.65 to its lowest level since last November and the kiwi to briefly dip below the psychological 0.6 level.
The greenback remains resolute against its G10 peers, with USDJPY consolidating around 140 and GBPUSD slipping once again below 1.24. Yesterday’s low in cable of 1.2328 will be the first level of support with 1.2455, the initial resistance level to watch for. EURUSD remains in the doldrums, once again slipping below 1.07 to test recent support at 1.0670. The firmer greenback is keeping a lid on the pair as debt ceiling negotiations improve.
In a busy end to the week for US data releases, this afternoon we look forward to the JOLTs job opening report which is likely to show that the labor market continues to cool as excess labor demand declines. We look for further clues on the strength of the US economy when the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book overnight, which will signal whether the economy and the labor market continue to soften gradually or whether a more dramatic slowdown is on the cards.
The dollar has been trading in a narrow range following the UK Bank Holiday and the US Memorial Day as investors wait for the debt deal agreed over the weekend to be approved by the congress to avoid a US default. USD/JPY dropped to touch 140 and EUR/USD is currently at 1.0690, after hovering at the 1.07 level overnight. GBP/USD continues to trade mid 1.2-1.24.
A debt-pact hearing will occur today at the US House rules committee, a day before the whole-body votes on it. Both the White House and GOP congressional leaders are pushing for the deal to be approved to avoid a US default. US President Joe Biden is calling lawmakers to support this bill and cabinet members and senior White house members have called at least 60 house democrats by Monday morning. Both Biden and Republican House Speaker McCarthy seem confident that they will gather the necessary votes for the deal to go through.
Prices in UK stores rose about 9% YoY in May, according to the British Retail Consortium. This is mainly driven by lower energy and commodity costs which helped bring prices lower for staples like butter, milk, fruit, and fish. Although UK inflation is losing some steam, ticking slightly higher from the 8.8% increase in April, we are still running on new record high inflation numbers.
The dollar has lost steam as the Republican and White house negotiators are getting closer to an agreement to raise the debt limit and cap federal spending for the next two years. Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is lower 0.1% but remains on a 0.8% weekly gain. EUR/USD remains above 1.07 and GBP/USD currently ticking higher after UK retail sales pick up more than expected for the month of April. USD/JPY is back under 140.
Another quarter point interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve is priced in by traders as US yields rose, with the 2-year yield rising to 4.53%, the highest level since March where US bank failures spooked markets and triggered purchases of government debt. This current move can be explained, once again, by a recession risk with markets concerned about persistent inflation, tight labour market conditions and surprising economic data that can force the Fed to do a sharp reversal.
UK retail sales remain in the threatening zone despite the positive number for April, where volumes rose to 0.5%, above the 0.3% expected by economists. Government support for household energy bills in the second quarter of the year, as well as the easing in energy prices can explain the increase in spending in April. We keep expecting spending to remain under pressure, especially as incomes are getting squeezed by higher food prices. Wages are rising but not as quickly as goods and services prices, leaving households with less money in their pocket.
The BOE’s monetary policy campaign is already in restrictive territory and sticky inflation should keep the central bank on its toes and continue its hiking cycle into the summer. Interest rates are expected to increase by a further 25 basis points to 4.75% in June.
The US Dollar continued to advance overnight against all major peers as Fitch Ratings announced it could downgrade US’s AAA credit rating, reflecting the political tensions that are preventing a deal to neutralize the country’s debt-ceiling crisis.
The Bloomberg Spot Index has touched the highest level since the 20th of March and USD/JPY is on its way to 140. EUR/USD continues to underperform for the third consecutive day, trading mid 1.07-1.08. GBP/USD follows the trend and declines for the fourth day in a row, struggling to keep above 1.24.
The drop in the UK’s CPI inflation in April was not what the Bank of England wanted to see and another 25-basis points rate hike is back on the cards. Inflation in the UK proves to remain sticky, with food inflation as a great contributor, only dropping to 19.3% from the previous 19.6%. Core inflation came as a surprise too, rising to 6.8% from 6.2% in March. We are expecting inflation to drop through the summer, which should support a pause by the BOE later in August. The main risk is that interest rates will have to tick above 5% to tame inflation, which will have an impact on UK’s economic development and credit conditions.
Last night’s FOMC minutes release showed that officials are split on more rate hikes, and cuts are still unlikely, suggesting an ongoing data-dependent approach by the Federal Reserve. The minutes showed that the Fed remains worried about inflation, which is no surprise as several officials have stressed the importance of the fight against inflation throughout the month. Across the board, the minutes matched market expectations but traders remain alert for new debt-ceiling headlines and developments.
Data released this morning showed that the UK Consumer Price Index fell to 8.7% in April from 10.1% the previous month, breaking a seven-month spell of double-digit inflation. The print marks the biggest drop in the annual inflation rate in three decades, however the decline still showed the third consecutive month where the release came in above expectations. Core inflation and the RPI also surprised to the upside, and in a further worry for the BoE, the print includes a large negative base effect from household energy prices where annual growth dropped sharply. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, unexpectedly accelerated to 6.8% which is the highest since the early 1990’s and up from 6.2% in March.
The figures are likely to fuel expectations that the MPC will further extend its cycle of interest rate hikes in the coming months in an attempt to quash rampant price pressures. The UK has the highest level of inflation in the G7 nations and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to cut inflation in half this year, although today’s print along with upside surprises over the past few months put further pressure on his comments.
The pound posted small gains after the data release, with GBPUSD jumping about 30 pips, but the rally appears to have run out of steam with the pair bumping into offers at 1.2450. Short-term interest rate markets have been active this morning, pricing big moves into the next four MPC meetings and suggesting a terminal rate of 5.4%, although this may be overdone, driven by positioning and lack of liquidity in early trading.
Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar slumped this morning after the RBNZ delivered a 0.25% interest rate as expected and signaled that this may be the peak in rates.
*The arrows indicate how the base currency performed against the counter currency overnight. This document is for information purposes only and does not constitute any recommendation or solicitation to any person to enter into any transaction or adopt any trading strategy, nor does it constitute any prediction of likely future movements in exchange rates or prices or any representation that any such future movements will not exceed those shown on any illustration. All exchange rates and figures appearing are for illustrative purposes only. You are advised to make your own independent judgment with respect to any matter contained herein.