Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easter Holidays

Forex Focus will be closed for the next two weeks. Our sister blog Colt on Candles will continue throughout the holidays.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

G20 summit and weak euro data could well see dollar gains

EUR/USD: support @ 1.3075; resistance @ 1.35
GBP/USD: support @ 1.42; resistance @1.4450
USD/JPY: support @ 96.50; resistance @ 99.50

Calendar Notes
Next week’s ECB interest rate announcement and the US NFP are always big talking points and we have the added spice of the G20 summit in London on Thursday. As things stand at the moment, it seems unlikely that anything new will come out of the meeting, but there should be more detail on plans to boost the IMF’s bail-out fund.

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will be speaking today (Sunday 29th) at 22.30 GMT. If recent appearances are anything to go by, there could well be fireworks. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet will be testifying to the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday (14:30). On Friday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke rounds the week off with a speech entitled “The Fed’s Balance Sheet’ (Friday 16:00).

Economic Data (My comments in italics)

US Dollar
Economic Health: Chicago PMI (Tuesday 13:45); ISM Manufacturing PMI (Wednesday 13:45); ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (Friday 14:00). The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is one of the best indicators of economic health.
Housing: Pending Home sales (Wednesday 14:00). Will US housing data continue to show improvement?
Jobs: ADP Non-Farm Unemployment Change (Wednesday 12:15); US Non-Farm Payrolls (Friday 12:30); US Unemployment Rate (Friday 12:30). Wednesday’s ADP data sets expectations for Friday’s big numbers.
Consumer Confidence: Conference Board (Tuesday 14:00). Are things looking up for the US consumer?
Economic Health: German Retail Sales (Wednesday 06:00); Final Manufacturing PMI (Wednesday 08:00); Final Services PMI (Friday 08:30) The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is one of the best indicators of economic health.
Inflation: CPI Flash Estimate (Tuesday 09:00). Early inflation news from the European front
Monetary Policy: ECB Interest Rate Announcement (Thursday 11:45); Follow-up Press Conference (Thursday 12:00) ECB expected to cut to 1.0%, but it’s the press conference that has the potential to really move the market.
UK Pound
Economic Health: Manufacturing PMI (Wednesday 08:30); Services PMI (Friday 08:30) The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is one of the best indicators of economic health.
Consumer Confidence: GfK (Monday 23:01) I am slightly surprised that economic analysts expect this to hold steady
Jobs: Unemployment Rate (Monday 23:30)
Economic Health: Tankan Manufacturing Index (Wednesday 23:50) The situation darkens in the land of the rising sun.

Last week’s Action:
The week opened with the greenback losing ground against the euro but after rising to test resistance at 1.37 on Monday morning, it was downhill all the way for the pair. Monday midday saw US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner unveil plans to use both public and private sources to make a further $1 trillion available to buy toxic assets from US banks. This last-ditch attempt to avoid nationalization and the markets loved it, with the S&P 500 rising 7%, the biggest advance for the index since Obama became president. After testing support at 1.35, the euro followed equities up and hit resistance at 1.3650 before starting to fall once more on Tuesday morning. Bad news and dispiriting forecasts out of Europe saw the pair on its way to test support at 1.35 and went on down to 1.3450 during US trading. Wednesday saw the dollar take a dive when Tim Geithner made the headlines again after casting doubt in an off-the-cuff comment on the role of the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency. The US enjoyed a week of not too disheartening economic data. The all-important housing sector turned in good news in the shape of new and existing home sales and the House Price Index all coming in better than expected; Durable Goods Orders surveyed its first rise in 7 months; and, although GDP was revised down, it did come in less bad than expected. EUR/USD kept banging away at support at 1.35 which it finally broke down a few hours into European trading on Friday. European Industrial New Orders in January slumped 34% compared with orders in January 2008 and were 3.4% down from December 2008. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck compounded euro-misery when he noted that the single currency could be at risk if euro-zone members didn’t start taking the ECB Stability and Growth Pact seriously. EUR/USD bombed to 1.33 in a couple of hours and closed the week at 1.3282.

Sterling spent the first two days of the trading week on the up against the dollar, hitting the week’s high of 1.4774, midway through US trading on Tuesday. The pair started the fall when the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, warned that Britain simply couldn’t afford another round of fiscal stimulus. Wednesday’s failed UK bond auction fuelled sterling’s decline, which continued through the rest of the week with the pair breaking down support at 1.45 on Thursday. The UK’s Q4 GDP was revised down to a final -1.6% on Friday, and cable broke through 1.44, to test support at 1.43 in a couple of hours. The pair closed the week at 1.4316.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

12.1 More dollar weakness anticipated


EUR/USD; support: 1.3500, resistance: 1.4170.
GBP/USD; support: 1.4200, resistance: 1.4700.
USD/JPY; support: 95.00, resistance: 98.00
EUR/CHF: continue to look for buying opportunities ±1.51
EUR/GBP: look for buying opportunities after clear break out of 0.9500

Calendar notes:

Monday is fairly quiet with only US existing homes data (14:00) and Japan’s Monetary Policy Committee Meeting minutes (23:50) being of note.
Tuesday opens with the monthly raft of PMI data from the euro-zone (08:00-09:00). Mervyn King (Governor of the BoE) noted last week the importance of inflation in monetary policy decisions so the UK’s CPI (09:30) and the BoE’s quarterly inflation report (09:45) could well move the market. Tuesday is also alive with central bank speakers. Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Fed) testifies to the house on AIG (14:00) along with US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Later the same afternoon, Mervyn King steps up to testify to the UK’s House of Lords (15:30). Next, it’s the turn of Jean-Pierre Roth (Chairman of the SNB at 17:15), with the BoE’s Cassandra-turned-prophet, David Blanchflower, rounding the day off in Cardiff (18:30).
Wednesday lines up the influential German Ifo Business Climate Index (09:00), followed by US Durable Goods Orders (12:30) and more US housing numbers with New Home Sales (14:00).
Nationwide is due to release its UK Housing Price Index from Thursday (26 Mar-31 Mar), while UK Retail Sales (09:30) will give us the latest on the direction of the UK economy. Over the Atlantic we have US New Unemployment Claims and the final US GDP numbers (both at 12:30). Yen-watchers should listen out for Japan’s CPI (23:30) and Retail Sales (23:50).
Friday brings the UK’s Current Account and final GDP numbers (both at 09:30). This is followed some 30 minutes later by the euro-zone’s Industrial New Orders (10:00). In the run-up to the US open, we have US Personal Spending and Personal Income data (12:30) and the University of Michigan’s revised Consumer Sentiment (13:55) to set the tone of the session.

Last week’s action:

The euro started the week with a calm and steady strengthening against the greenback as investor confidence grew in the wake of the previous Saturday’s G20, followed by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s appearance on the CBS show 60 minutes on Sunday evening. Mr. Bernanke told the show he could see some ‘green shoots’ of recovery, and that the US should be able to rise out of recession sometime this year as long as the financial sector finds a sound footing. On Tuesday the euro got further support when key ZEW economic sentiment numbers came in better than expected and eur/usd continued to trade around 1.30. Better than expected US inflation numbers Wednesday lunchtime boosted the euro to test 1.31, but the atmosphere of calm was only really disturbed with the FOMC statement later the same day. Although the Fed held rates at less than 0.25% as widely expected, the announcement that they would be buying $300B of longer term Treasury bonds sent the stock market soaring and triggered violent moves in other markets. The euro jumped 400 pips immediately after the news to test 1.35 by the close of US trading. Thursday saw the unified currency power on to 1.37 against the greenback helped by better than expected US job numbers and manufacturing data. The euro retested 1.37 on Friday before correcting to close at 1.3581.

Monday’s feel-good factor saw sterling rise to 1.42 against the dollar. The pair fell to test support at 1.40 on Tuesday and then crashed down through this level to the week’s low of 1.3842 on the release of horrendous UK job numbers on Wednesday. However, the Fed’s aggressive quantitative easing saw the pound rise to 1.43 against the greenback. After testing support at 1.42 on Thursday, the European and US sessions took the pair up to the week’s high of 1.4595 with the Fed’s action still causing waves. Friday saw the pair retest resistance at a tad below 1.46 before closing the week at 1.4460.

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