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Posts tagged “Eurozone

Market Outlook Today


Selasa, 27 September 2011

 

EMAS

Komoditi Emas akhirnya rebound setelah merosot dalam 5 hari beruntun, pasar mulai mempercayai kondisi perekonomian regional Eropa meskipun belum sepenuhnya yakin. Investor melihat Eropa sudah melakukan segala upaya namun investor masih berpikir Eropa belum mampu memecahkan masalah perekonomian regional, komoditi Emas mengalami penurunan dalam 5 hari beruntun seiring pasar dilanda kepanikan ketika melihat nilai dolar AS terus menguat. Akibatnya investor menjual komoditas apapun untuk memarkirkan dana mereka, namun membeli dolar juga bukan merupakan pilihan terbaik karena Eropa terus berupaya meyakinkan pasar dengan mewacanakan pembelian obligasi dan pemangkasan suku bunga.

EUR/USD

Mata uang tunggal Eropa Euro mengalami penurunan yang cukup signifikan terhadap dolar AS, Euro kembali terpukul menjelang lelang obligasi Italia dan Spanyol hari ini. Kekhawatiran makin kental mengenai merembetnya krisis keuangan Eropa ke negara seperti Italia dan Spanyol. Trend dan sentimen terhadap Euro masih sangat bearish karena makin banyak negara anggota kawasan Euro yang menolak untuk meningkatkan pemberian dana bantuan. Menteri keuangan Belanda dan Finlandia menyatakan dengan tegas tidak berencana untuk meningkatkan komitmen mereka terhadap pemberian dana bantuan kawasan Euro, dan Menteri keuangan Jerman juga menyuarakan sentimen yang serupa. Di perkirakan mata uang tunggal Eropa hari ini berpotensi melemah.

KOSPI

Bursa saham Korea pada perdagangan di hari Selasa pagi mengalami peningkatan yang cukup signifikan, bursa saham Korea menguat mengikuti positifnya hasil perdagangan di bursa saham Wall Street. Pergerakan menguat bursa saham Asia terjadi di tengah harapan bahwa petinggi Eropa akan mempercepat pembentukan lembaga dana talangan darurat untuk mencegah krisis keuangan merembet lebih jauh. Di perkirakan Indeks Berjangka Kospi hari ini cenderung mengalami kenaikan tapi terbatas.


More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High


By Joel Kruger, Technical Strategist

11 August 2011 02:54 GMT

Markets are once again back under pressure after Tuesday’s equity market gains were entirely wiped out (9th worst point drop on record for Dow). Fear and panic remain firmly in control, and gold prices continue to soar to record highs beyond $1800. The US Dollar has been a major beneficiary of the safe haven liquidation, while the Franc and Yen are also incredibly well bid. Meanwhile, the higher yielding commodity bloc has been decimated, and the Australian Dollar has led the declines. A weaker batch of employment data out of Australia has not helped the antipodean’s cause, with the unemployment rate rising to 5.1% and coming in well above the 4.9% expectation.

Elsewhere, contagion fears in Europe have picked up, with market participants seriously worrying about the ability for the Eurozone economy to recover from what appears to be a very deep and messy crisis. The attention has shifted to Italy, with the country’s banking sector falling apart, while France’s credit worthiness is also in the spotlight following the S&P downgrade of US ratings. Any additional deterioration in the Eurozone could seriously compromise the credibility of the EFSF. Looking ahead, the economic calendar for the remainder of the day is mostly second tier, and markets should continue to trade off of the broader global macro themes and developments.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Opening_Comment_body_Picture_5.png, More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High

TECHNICAL OUTLOOK

Opening_Comment_body_eur.png, More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High

EUR/USD: The market continues to adhere to a bearish sequence of lower tops since May, with a fresh lower top now in place by 1.4535 ahead of the next downside extension back towards and eventually below 1.4000. In the interim, look for any intraday rallies to be well capped ahead of 1.4400, while only back above 1.4500 delays.

Opening_Comment_body_yen.png, More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High

USD/JPY: Setbacks have stalled out just ahead of the 76.25 record lows from March, with the market dropping to 76.30 ahead of the latest reversal. Given that we are seeing the rate by record lows, we would not at all be surprised to see the formation of a material base in favor of significant upside back towards the 82.00 area over the coming sessions. However, the overall structure still remains bearish and it will take a break back above 80.00 to officially alleviate downside pressures and confirm reversal prospects. Below 76.25 negates.

Opening_Comment_body_gbp.png, More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High

GBP/USD: The market remains locked in a broader downtrend off of the April highs, and a fresh lower top is now sought out somewhere ahead of 1.6550 in favor of the next downside extension back towards the recent range lows at 1.5780. Ultimately, only a break back above 1.6550 would delay bearish outlook and give reason for pause, while back under the 200-Day SMA at 1.6085 should accelerate declines.

Opening_Comment_body_chf.png, More of the Same Panic and Fear; Gold Rallies to Yet Another Record High

USD/CHF: Despite the intense downtrend resulting in recently established fresh record lows by 0.7000, short/medium/longer-term technical studies are violently stretched, and we continue to like the idea of taking shots at buying in anticipation of a major base. Still, at this point, fading this trend will require some upside confirmation and we would look for a break and close back above 0.7350 at a minimum to open the door for these reversal prospects and alleviate immediate downside pressures.

Written by Joel Kruger, Technical Currency Strategist


Dollar on Edge with Deficit Deadline, ISM Report Stokes Volatility


Dollar on Edge with Deficit Deadline, ISM Report Stokes Volatility

By John Kicklighter, Currency Strategist

02 August 2011 03:23 GMT
  • Dollar on Edge with Deficit Deadline, ISM Report Stokes Volatility
  • Euro Drawn Between Dollar Volatility, EU Trouble, Upcoming ECB Decision
  • Australian Dollar Readies for RBA Decision as Risk Trends Pick Up
  • British Pound Tumbles with Risk, Helped Along by Manufacturing Contraction
  • Japanese Yen Looking at More Volatility as Intervention Rhetoric Heats Up
  • Swiss Franc Solidifies Gains After Economics Minister Says Strength to Stay
  • Gold Ramps up the Volatility as Market Debates US Financial Rescue Effort

Dollar on Edge with Deficit Deadline, ISM Report Stokes Volatility

Given the volatility the FX and capital markets demonstrated through the close on Friday and the running countdown for the US to surpass the legal limit on its deficit; excitement was guaranteed through for the opening day of the new trading week. Volatility on the dollar-based majors and broader capital markets stepped it up yet again – though direction is still as lacking as ever. Through Monday’s open, the greenback was once again under pressure as risk appetite started off strong. In fact, S&P 500 futures gapped up 1.2 percent on the Asian open from Friday’s close. In contrast, the dollar didn’t produce such a dramatic jump; but it did lose ground through much of the Asian and early European sessions as news that Congressional leaders reached a compromise on the budget deficit that could offer quick relief to tense financial and credit markets. Though, the fact that the Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index (ticker = USDollar) slipped as a viable debt solution seemed to be in the works should reflect on the skepticism that is still prevalent in the markets.

This cynicism that a debt deal would be pushed through or that it would offer the dollar an immediate boost could have weighed the greenback indefinitely had a wave of risk aversion not leveraged the currency’s battered safe haven appeal. As the day wore on, data from China, Australia, Japan, the Euro Zone and the United Kingdom reflected a slowing in factory activity that seems to be reflecting a downshift in global growth. The concern was nagging; but fear that a serious economic slump could be in the works didn’t really set in until the US ISM manufacturing activity survey for July crossed the wires. The 50.9 reading was a substantial miss (below even the lowest economist forecast from Bloomberg) and threatened the primary source of growth the US economy has drawn from since the recovery was established back in 2009. In turn, the S&P 500 Index would turn a remarkable bullish gap on the open into an eventual 2.5 percent retracement through the first half of the day.

The ISM indicator, along with the other manufacturing readings from the around the world, are an important reminder that economic activity is cooling. The feeble health of the developed world’s consumer is finally meeting the global shift towards austerity (China, Euro Zone, UK). That leaves the US in a unique position: either join the stimulus withdrawal and suffer the economic slowdown; or pursue financial responsibility and potentially turn a slowdown into a double dip recession. This is another layer of complication to the deficit debate at hand. According to the original timeline; the window is supposed to close by the coming session. That said, it seems that the revised two-stage program that has garnered support from Congressional leaders and already passed the House looks to have a good chance of making it all the way through. Yet, it is still under heavy debate as to whether the planned cuts would be enough to prevent a downgrade by the major credit rating agencies. Such an outcome would surely be dollar negative. Though if this effort tips the global economy, there could be a redeeming value to the greenback.

Related:Discuss the Dollar in the DailyFX Forum, John’s Picks: Controlling Risk is Tantamount as Volatility Prevails and Direction Absent

Euro Drawn Between Dollar Volatility, EU Trouble, Upcoming ECB Decision

Fortunately for the euro, headlines about the US deficit debate are still crowding out many of the updates surrounding the Euro Zone’s own troubles. Notable for the day was the fact that the Italian 10 year government bond yield closed at a record high 6.00 percent while the Spanish equivalent advanced to 6.20 percent. Remember, Greece, Ireland and Portugal required bailouts not long after breaching the 7.00 percent level. In the meantime, volatility in risk trends contributed to dramatic losses for European benchmark equity indexes. It will be interesting to see how this combination of funding troubles and the economic slowdown influences the ECB’s decision later this week. Can then keep ignoring it?

Australian Dollar Readies for RBA Decision as Risk Trends Pick Up

We are quickly approaching the RBA rate decision; and rate expectations are somewhat mixed. Looking at overnight index swaps; we see that there is a 16 percent probability of a 25 bps rate cut yet the 12 month forecast is pricing in 27 bps of easing. If we recall the last meeting, Governor Stevens leveraged the importance of CPI; and the 2Q figures a two-and-a-half year high 3.6 percent. Is that enough to make a call?

British Pound Tumbles with Risk, Helped Along by Manufacturing Contraction

It seems much of the world is on the same path of austerity and economic slowdown that the UK pioneered with its self-imposed deficit efforts. Under these circumstances, it isn’t good to be first; because it is exponentially harder to recovery from a slowdown that was ahead of the global curve. We were reminded of this Monday when the UK factory activity reading turned negative for the first time since September 2009.

Japanese Yen Looking at More Volatility as Intervention Rhetoric Heats Up

Talk of Japanese intervention is picking up amongst policy officials, economists and traders. According to Nikkei news group, the central bank is preparing for FX intervention; and an independent move could be quickly followed by a coordinated effort. Should we take these warnings seriously? The short-term impact can certainly generate volatility; but fighting larger trends (like dollar selling) is always a losing game.

Swiss Franc Solidifies Gains After Economic Minister Says Strength to Stay

There are many examples of failed efforts of intervention; but some of the worst results have to fall to the Swiss National Bank which has come under significant scrutiny due to the losses on its reserves fighting the market tide. The futility of this effort seems to be setting in, however, as we had the nation’s Economic Minister warned the high exchange rate is here to stay and it means “extremely tough years” for exporters ahead.

Gold Ramps up the Volatility as Market Debates US Financial Rescue Effort

Like the US dollar and Treasuries, gold put in for an exceptionally volatile session through Monday. Through that same comparison, though, the metal was just as lacking for direction. To stoke capital flows into the metal once again (or away from it should there be palatable deficit resolution); we need an unmistakable view of the United States’ fiscal position: destined for downgrade or slow return to prudence.

**For a full list of upcoming event risk and past releases, go to www.dailyfx.com/calendar

ECONOMIC DATA

Next 24 Hours

GMT Currency Release Survey Previous Comments
1:30 AUD House Price Index (YoY) (Q2) -3.0% -0.2% Lower expected house index may suggest softening real estate sector
1:30 AUD House Price Index (QoQ) (Q2) -1.0% -1.7%
1:30 AUD Building Approvals (MoM) (JUN) 3.0% -7.9% A mild recovery in building recoveries despite prices fall points to future recovery
1:30 AUD Building Approvals (YoY) (JUN) -10.3% -14.4%
1:30 JPY Labor Cash Earnings (YoY) (JUN) 0.4% 1.0% Japanese labor market still soft
4:30 AUD Reserve Bank of Australia Rate Decision 4.75% 4.75% Major event of the day: Q2 CPI came in higher than expected despite record-high AUD; RBA may change their commentary on rate hikes
6:30 AUD RBA Commodity Price Index (JUL) 109.4 Commodities price index may hit new high on record strength of metals
6:30 AUD RBA Commodity Index SDR (YoY) (JUL) 28.2%
7:15 CHF Retail Sales (Real) (YoY) (JUN) -4.1% Previous was lowest since March 2009
7:30 CHF SVME-Purchasing Managers Index (JUL) 52.5 53.4 PMI expected to be hurt by strong franc
8:30 GBP Purchasing Manager Index Construction (JUL) 53.1 53.6 Index may fall due to government cuts
9:00 EUR Euro-Zone Producer Price Index (MoM) (JUN) 0.1% -0.2% Index correlated with consumer prices expected to weaken on a long-term basis on slower recovery, demand
9:00 EUR Euro-Zone Producer Price Index (YoY) (JUN) 5.9% 6.2%
12:30 USD Personal Income (JUN) 0.2% 0.3% Consumption driver of the US economy expected to stay relatively flat as overall economy still weak, uncertain
12:30 USD Personal Spending (JUN) 0.2% 0.0%
12:30 USD Personal Consumption Exp Deflator (YoY) (JUN) 2.5%
12:30 USD Personal Consumption Exp Core (MoM) (JUN) 0.2% 0.3%
12:30 USD Personal Consumption Exp Core (YoY) (JUN) 1.4% 1.2%
21:00 USD Total Vehicle Sales (JUL) 11.85M 11.41M A small pick-up in vehicle sales may be due to beginning of 2nd half purchasing by institutions
21:00 USD Domestic Vehicle Sales (JUL) 9.25M 8.95M
23:01 GBP BRC Shop Price Index (YoY) (JUL) 2.9% Retail sales index may indicate CPI
23:30 AUD AiG Performance of Service Index (JUL) 48.5 Service sector at post-recession levels
GBP Halifax Plc House Prices s.a. (MoM) (JUL) 0.0% 1.2% House prices watched by BoE may support further lax policies to support economic recovery
GBP Halifax House Price (3MoY) (JUL) -2.8% -3.5%
GMT Currency Upcoming Events & Speeches
12:30 USD Annual Revisions: Personal Income and Spending

SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE LEVELS

CLASSIC SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE – 18:00 GMT

Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist 2 1.5160 1.6600 86.00 0.8900 1.0275 1.1800 0.9020 118.00 146.05
Resist 1 1.5000 1.6475 81.50 0.8550 1.0000 1.1000 0.8750 113.50 140.00
Spot 1.4268 1.6297 77.08 0.7817 0.9561 1.0964 0.8762 109.98 125.62
Support 1 1.4000 1.5935 77.00 0.7800 0.9425 1.0400 0.7745 109.00 125.00
Support 2 1.3700 1.5750 76.25 0.7600 0.9055 1.0200 0.6850 106.00 119.00

CLASSIC SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE –EMERGING MARKETS 18:00 GMTSCANDIES CURRENCIES 18:00 GMT

Currency USD/MXN USD/TRY USD/ZAR USD/HKD USD/SGD Currency USD/SEK USD/DKK USD/NOK
Resist 2 13.8500 1.8235 7.4025 7.8165 1.3650 Resist 2 7.5800 5.6625 6.1150
Resist 1 12.5000 1.7425 7.3500 7.8075 1.3250 Resist 1 6.5175 5.3100 5.7075
Spot 11.7277 1.6911 6.7309 7.7906 1.2018 Spot 6.3245 5.2217 5.3789
Support 1 11.5200 1.6500 6.5575 7.7490 1.2000 Support 1 6.0800 5.1050 5.3040
Support 2 11.4400 1.5725 6.4295 7.7450 1.1800 Support 2 5.8085 4.9115 4.9410

INTRA-DAY PIVOT POINTS 18:00 GMT

Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist 2 1.4571 1.6575 78.89 0.8056 0.9667 1.1127 0.8889 113.85 130.45
Resist 1 1.4420 1.6436 77.99 0.7936 0.9614 1.1045 0.8826 111.92 128.03
Pivot 1.4302 1.6337 77.14 0.7834 0.9553 1.0984 0.8779 110.31 126.12
Support 1 1.4151 1.6198 76.24 0.7714 0.9500 1.0902 0.8716 108.38 123.70
Support 2 1.4033 1.6099 75.39 0.7612 0.9439 1.0841 0.8669 106.77 121.79

INTRA-DAY PROBABILITY BANDS 18:00 GMT

\Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist. 3 1.4462 1.6454 77.97 0.7926 0.9657 1.1106 0.8882 111.61 127.17
Resist. 2 1.4414 1.6415 77.74 0.7899 0.9633 1.1071 0.8852 111.21 126.79
Resist. 1 1.4365 1.6376 77.52 0.7872 0.9609 1.1035 0.8822 110.80 126.40
Spot 1.4268 1.6297 77.08 0.7817 0.9561 1.0964 0.8762 109.98 125.62
Support 1 1.4171 1.6218 76.64 0.7762 0.9513 1.0893 0.8702 109.16 124.84
Support 2 1.4122 1.6179 76.42 0.7735 0.9489 1.0857 0.8672 108.75 124.45
Support 3 1.4074 1.6140 76.19 0.7708 0.9465 1.0822 0.8642 108.35 124.07

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Written by: John Kicklighter, Senior Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com


US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday


US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

By Joel Kruger, Technical Strategist

02 August 2011 04:18 GMT
  • US Dollar Index bounces by yearly lows; more upside potential
  • RBA leaves rates on hold as was widely expected at 4.75%
  • Yen and Swissie find offers after trading to record highs
  • US debt ceiling developments still being digested
  • Eurozone structural concerns resurface
  • Aussie and Kiwi finally showing weakness

The US Dollar has been well bid overall in the early week, with the price action resulting in a favorable close off of the yearly lows in the US Dollar Index. The only other currencies that have shown better bid in recent trade have been the other safe haven currencies in the Swiss Franc and Yen, which both trade just off recently established record highs against the Greenback. Still, even the Yen and Swissie showed some relative weakness in the latter portion of Monday trade, and with both of these markets looking extremely stretched, the risks from here seem to favor USD appreciation going forward.

Markets had initially been well bid on Monday on the news of a resolution to the US debt ceiling talks, with risk correlated assets rallying impressively, before finally reversing quite sharply into North American trade. A combination of concern over the type of resolution achieved by the US government, softer US ISM data, and widening Eurozone peripheral bond spreads, all contributed to the risk off trade, with US equities getting hit rather hard. We also started to finally see some relative weakness in the antipodean currencies, with both Aussie and Kiwi rolling over from post-float record high levels and putting in bearish closes against the Greenback.

The RBA has now come out early Tuesday leaving rates on hold at 4.75% as was widely expected, with the accompanying central bank statement maintaining its newly adopted less hawkish outlook. The central bank continues to express concern over broader global macro threats and some worrying deteriorative local fundamentals, and as such, even with the attractive yield differentials, we would continue to look to be fading any strength in the currency as we contend that the best is now behind the currency down under.

On the data front, the key release in Asian trade was a weaker than expected Aussie building approvals print. Looking ahead, economic releases in the European session are few, but at the same time should not go unnoticed with Swiss retails sales, UK construction PMI, and Eurozone producer prices all very capable of moving markets. US equity futures and oil prices are consolidating their latest declines, while gold is once again looking toppish by record highs following Monday’s bearish close.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

US_Dollar_Looking_More_Contructive_Across_the_Board_into_Tuesday_body_Picture_5.png, US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

TECHNICAL OUTLOOK

US_Dollar_Looking_More_Contructive_Across_the_Board_into_Tuesday_body_eur.png, US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

EUR/USD: The market continues to adhere to a bearish sequence of lower tops since May, with a fresh lower top now likely in place by 1.4535 ahead of the next downside extension back towards and eventually below 1.4000. In the interim, look for any intraday rallies to be well capped ahead of 1.4400, with a break and close back below 1.4200 on Tuesday to accelerate declines. Ultimately, only back above 1.4535 would negate outlook and give reason for pause.

US_Dollar_Looking_More_Contructive_Across_the_Board_into_Tuesday_body_jpy2.png, US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

USD/JPY: Setbacks have stalled out for now just ahead of the 76.25 record lows from March, with the market dropping to 76.30 ahead of the latest minor bounce. However, the bounce is somewhat significant on a short-term basis, with the market putting in a bullish outside day formation on Monday to suggest that the price could once again be very well supported in favor of a major upside reversal over the coming days. Look for a break and close back above 78.05 to confirm bullish reversal prospects and accelerate gains towards 80.00, while back below 86.25 negates and opens the door for fresh record lows.

US_Dollar_Looking_More_Contructive_Across_the_Board_into_Tuesday_body_gbp2.png, US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

GBP/USD: Despite the latest rally back above 1.6400, the market still remains locked in a broader downtrend off of the April highs, and a fresh lower top is now sought out somewhere ahead of 1.6550 in favor of the next downside extension back towards the recent range lows at 1.5780. Monday’s strong bearish outside formation could very well set up the next lower top by 1.6475, and we look for a break and close back below 1.6200 to confirm and accelerate declines. Ultimately, only a break back above 1.6550 would delay bearish outlook and give reason for pause.

US_Dollar_Looking_More_Contructive_Across_the_Board_into_Tuesday_body_swiss1.png, US Dollar Looking More Contructive Across the Board into Tuesday

USD/CHF: Despite the intense downtrend resulting in recently established fresh record lows below 0.7800, short/medium/longer-term technical studies are looking quite stretched to us, and we continue to like the idea of taking shots at buying in anticipation of a major base. Monday’s fresh record lows by 0.7730 seem to have been very well supported, and we would be on the lookout for a break and close back above 0.7950 on Tuesday to encourage short-term reversal prospects and accelerate gains. Back below 0.7730 negates.

Written by Joel Kruger, Technical Currency Strategist


Euro trades Sharply Higher on Greek Deal – What’s Next?


By David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist

22 July 2011 23:59 GMT

euro_trades_higher_greek_deal_forecast_body_Picture_5.png, Euro trades Sharply Higher on Greek Deal – What’s Next?

Euro trades Sharply Higher on Greek Deal – What’s Next?

Fundamental Forecast for the Euro: Neutral

The Euro rallied sharply against the US Dollar on a breakthrough agreement on further aid for Greece, closing a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the at-risk country and for the broader euro zone. Officials released details of a far-reaching agreement and offered concrete details on further fiscal aid for periphery nations. A pronounced rally across European bond markets and the euro itself underlined that plans were well-received, but a key week for European economic data could ultimately decide euro price action in the days ahead.

Euro zone periphery debt crises are far from over, but the recent agreement ostensibly puts market focus back on economic fundamentals and not on government solvency. Key German Unemployment Change, Consumer Price Index, and Retail Sales figures could subsequently force sharp moves across euro pairs.

The euro had strengthened significantly against the US Dollar and other major counterparts as markets predicted the European Central Bank would be among the most aggressive to raise interest rates from record-lows. Indeed, the ECB has since hiked target rates by 0.50 percent, and Overnight Index Swaps have priced in another 33bps through the coming 12 months. The US Federal Reserve, by comparison, has left interest rates at record lows and traders predict a mere 17bps in interest rate increases through the same stretch. Interest rate differentials favor further EURUSD strength, but it will be important to see momentum remain in favor of further euro gains—especially on key data.

Expectations call for German and broader European Consumer Price Index inflation remained above the ECB’s official target of 2.0 percent through July, and central bank president Jean Claude Trichet has been resolute in calling for fairly aggressive monetary policy measures on elevated price pressures. It will be important to watch for surprises in CPI results as well as employment figures, as both are likely to figure into future ECB moves.

Ultimately, the euro’s direction against key counterparts should depend on traditional fundamentals—not ongoing struggles with periphery nation debt. There remain details that need to be sorted out with the new deal on Greek debt, and individual parliaments must ratify the deal. Yet the long-term nature of the deal suggests troubles with Greece are less relevant to day-to-day price action. Spanish and Italian bond yield surges remain a concern, but stability at or around current levels would decrease fears of further debt stresses.

The Euro/US Dollar has traded to key resistance at a falling trendline from May lows, and whether or not the pair can move above $1.44 could set the tone for the coming months of trade. We will watch European data with great interest, while ongoing developments surrounding US debt ceiling concerns could likewise affect USD pairs. – DR


US Dollar Traders Have to Monitor Debt Talks, Euro Market, Risk Trends


US Dollar Traders Have to Monitor Debt Talks, Euro Market, Risk Trends

By John Kicklighter, Currency Strategist

22 July 2011 21:54 GMT

The US Dollar $USD IndexNY Spot Close 9457.56
US_Dollar_Traders_Have_to_Monitor_Debt_Talks_Euro_Market_Risk_Trends_body_USDOLLAR_risk.png, US Dollar Traders Have to Monitor Debt Talks, Euro Market, Risk Trends

US Dollar Traders Have to Monitor Debt Talks, Euro Market, Risk Trends

Fundamental Forecast for the US Dollar: Neutral

The countdown for the US is getting serious. We have concluded another weak where the US government has failed to come to a compromise on its deficit troubles. Further creating troubles for the greenback, we have seen the European funding market (a source of liquidity costs that plays to the dollar’s safe haven status) come into at least a temporary period of relief with a massive bailout effort by the EU; while risk appetite trends have taken a considerable jump to defer that long-threatened collapse. That said, all of these headwinds will do more to anchor the currency than necessarily generate a meaningful trend over the next week.

Heading into the new trading week, the deficit debate carries the greatest potential sway over the dollar. Depending on how this situation evolves; it could have a sweeping effect over the single currency and even the broader financial markets. Yet, it is prudent to work within reasonable probabilities to interpret how this matter will influence the dollar. If our outlook were for two weeks, it would be a virtual guarantee that the greenback is in for significant volatility and even a significant trend. However, our outlook is just for the upcoming week. That being the case, the outlook is far more fluid. Considering the deficit ceiling will be officially breached on August 2nd, there is time for political maneuvering as Democrats and Republicans gain points for sticking to their guns. It is a severely low probability that this situation ends in a technical default and the likelihood of a solution before next weekend is high.

How the deficit solution impacts the dollar and capital markets is a function of what is agreed to. If the limit is simply lifted to avoid the pain of a default event, it could offer temporary relief to capital markets and the greenback in equal parts. That said, the follow through would likely be limited as ratings agencies have warned the reasoning for a downgrade runs beyond just the quick fix and to the lack of long-term fiscal plan. Alternatively, should there be proposal that targets significant deficit reduction over a reasonable timeframe through a revenue (taxes) focus, an expenditure (spending) focus or a mix of both; it could be seen as an effort to pump the break on the economy and withdraw the very stimulus that has driven confidence and capital markets since the Great Recession – which would weigh on risk appetite which adds a safe haven appeal to the dollar as it garners attention for improved outlook for stability. If we end the week without a clear solution; expect volatility to grow increasingly unstable as rumors and headlines spur fear and speculation.

Another major driver for the dollar that fits within the ‘theme’ category is the blowback the greenback bears from the perception of the Euro Zone’s credit health. This past week, officials announced sweeping policy agendas to smother the sense of crisis contagion in the sovereign and private lending markets. There were major efforts adopted; but there are also significant shortfalls. Ultimately it comes down to market sentiment. If the steps taken don’t boost confidence or if risk aversion is an engrained and global driver, the euro will continue its slide and thereby boost its most liquid counterpart: the dollar.

When it comes down to it, these more pervasive and vague problems will determine the dollar’s activity level and general direction. However, there are a few scheduled events that can stir short-term volatility and perhaps even contribute or detract from existing trends. We have consumer confidence and housing sector data; but the real market-mover is the first reading of 2Q GDP. Depending on how risk trends are behaving, the outcome for the dollar can follow risk trends or speculation for additional stimulus. – JK


Dollar Ignores Budget Headway, Earnings and Suffers for Risk Rally


Dollar Ignores Budget Headway, Earnings and Suffers for Risk Rally

Dollar Ignores Budget Headway, Earnings and Suffers for Risk Rally

By John Kicklighter, Currency Strategist

20 July 2011 05:07 GMT
  • Dollar Ignores Budget Headway, Earnings and Suffers for Risk Rally
  • Euro Surprisingly Steady Despite Portugal Surprise Gap, Rising Greece Uncertainty
  • British Pound: Will the BoE Minutes Stir Volatility Like the Last Statement?
  • Canadian Dollar Rallies after BoC Rouses Interest Rate Hikes
  • Australian Dollar Torn Between a Rally in Capital Markets, Dovish Turn from RBA
  • Swiss Franc Marks a Sharp Correction but was it Risk or the Euro’s Doing?
  • Gold Rally Ends with Record Highs but Not Record Consistency

Dollar Ignores Budget Headway, Earnings and Suffers for Risk Rally

Looking at the mix of performance against its most prominent counterparts, it was clear that the currency was following its traditional risk appetite lines. This in itself is rather remarkable because we have seen this particular driver drop off as an immediate catalyst in recent days because of the uncertainties surrounding the countdown for the US to surpass its legal budget ceiling. Gauging the convictions behind investor sentiment Tuesday, we can defer to the benchmark S&P 500 Index which rallied a remarkable 1.7 percent – the biggest single-day rally since March 3rd and a sound rejection of a major boundary to bearish progression (the 1,300 level). We can assess this particular catalysts’ influence over the greenback by the severity of the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollar’s rallies against the common benchmark. Offering further confirmation of just how pervasive risk trends were, we would further see the greenback actually gain traction against the Japanese yen and Swiss franc – a more convincing funding currency and safe haven respectively.

This rally in risk appetite is somewhat suspicious given the fundamentals that were on tap through Tuesday; but it makes more sense when we reflect on the underlying market conditions we are dealing with. Volatility is a stubborn hold over from the previous two weeks when headlines were stirring capital turnover; but the masses are still refusing to generate a consistent direction (bullish or bearish) due to the big-ticket threats that are loom just over the horizon. The investor sentiment influence is certainly showing through in the Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index’s (ticker = USDollar) bearings; but EURUSD is a better guide for the currency’s views beyond the volatility of risk appetite. The benchmark pair gained on the day; but ultimately it is deeply mired in congestion. For this cross specifically we isolate two major, conflicting fundamental drivers. On the euro’s side, the uncertainty surrounding the sovereign debt crisis is providing consistent pressure (more on that below). That is directly contrasted by the fear that we will reach August 2nd without a fix for the US debt ceiling. Through this past session, President Obama voiced support for the ‘Gang of Six’ proposal that would reduce the deficit by $3.7 billion. And, though Speaker of the House Boehner remarked that it didn’t go far enough, it seems that the government is working towards an agreeable compromise.

The other important driver for the day (the housing data offered little in the way of lasting influence over the dollar) was the round of 2Q earnings. At the top of our watch list were the bank reports: Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon. The health of these financial sector giants represents a strong driver for investor optimism, offer a valuable reflection to the health of the financial sector and presents its own reflection of underlying growth. The BoA $9.1 billion loss is a good reflection of the troubles with the mortgage market as well as the increased regulation; while the $0.33 earnings-per-share speaks to the leveraged use of accounting to maintain fragile market confidence.

Euro Surprisingly Steady Despite Portugal Surprise Gap, Rising Greece Uncertainty

While we haven’t seen another critical step towards the total spread of the Euro Zone sovereign debt crisis; the headlines continue to undermine any positive arguments that are made in support for the euro. The heavy headline flows from the region Tuesday were topped by Portugal Prime Minister Coelho’s announcement that a previously unreported 2 billion euro budget gap was uncovered. Perhaps just as notable though, Spain and Greece auctioned off debt to dubious yields and bidders; ECB member Nowotny seemed to open the door to allowing a temporary default for Greece; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to curb expectations of a solution for the crisis by the close of Thursday’s summit.

British Pound: Will the BoE Minutes Stir Volatility Like the Last Statement?

The Bank of England rate decision has been a non-event for the sterling for a number of months now. On the other hand, the minutes that reflect the policy authority’s discussions, reasoning for their hold and forecast for the future can certainly catch the markets off guard. Considering inflation and economic activity futures have eased while European financial stability is under pressure, a bearish shift is possible.

Canadian Dollar Rallies after BoC Rouses Interest Rate Hikes

No change was expected from the Bank of Canada’s rate decision this past trading session; and indeed, the central bank wouldn’t disappoint. That said, the statement that followed the decision offered a little more illumination than was expected. The market focused on the missing word ‘eventually’ in reference to when rates would rise. With a forecast for the economy to hit full potential by mid-2012, this is a good hawkish mix.

Australian Dollar Torn Between a Rally in Capital Markets, Dovish Turn from RBA

Like its monetary policy regime, the Australian dollar is not untouchable. After the RBA minutes reported that it could hold on rates for an extended period of time to assess the financial market feedback from Europe’s troubles and inflation pressures, the currency started to pullback. It is difficult to see exactly how much influence this has on a pair like AUDUSD; but AUDCAD offers a better contrast to policy expectations.

Swiss Franc Marks a Sharp Correction but was it Risk or the Euro’s Doing?

Monday’s pullback could have been written off as volatility; but the stumble from the franc Tuesday cannot be brushed off so quickly. The tumble against high-yielding currencies like the Aussie and kiwi dollar’s can be attributed to the risk appetite run; but USDCHF and EURCHF reversals are more intrinsic to the franc’s fundamentals. The currency comes under the magnifying glass when the market doesn’t blindly sell euros.

Gold Rally Ends with Record Highs but Not Record Consistency

We were so close to hitting that unprecedented 12-day run; but ultimately, gold wouldn’t make it. After 11 consecutive days of advance; the precious metal would finally fall back on suggestions that the US president and Congress were coming closer to a palatable compromise on the ever-problematic debt fears. That said, issues in the US and Europe are far from resolved; so don’t build a large short just yet.

ECONOMIC DATA

Next 24 Hours

GMT Currency Release Survey Previous Comments
0:30 AUD Westpac Leading Index (MoM) (MAY) 0.2% Leading index growth declined since April
1:00 AUD Consumer Inflation Expectation (JUL) 3.3% Expectations may point to actual CPI
5:00 JPY Coincident Index (MAY F) 106 Japanese economic measures have recovered after March, though still not at pre-quake levels
5:00 JPY Leading Index (MAY F) 99.8
6:00 EUR German Producer Prices (MoM) (JUN) 0.0% 0.0% An expected fall in long term price change may result in dovish ECB decisions
6:00 EUR German Producer Prices (YoY) (JUN) 5.5% 6.1%
7:00 JPY Convenience Store Sales (YoY) (JUN) 5.7% Broader tracking of Japanese retail
8:00 EUR Italian Industrial Orders s.a. (MoM) (MAY) 2.3% -6.4% Italian orders expected to increase, led by exports though not likely to have major effects on country’s own debt problems
8:00 EUR Italian Industrial Orders n.s.a. (YoY) (MAY) 10.2% 5.8%
8:00 EUR Italian Industrial Sales s.a. (MoM) (MAY) 1.5%
8:00 EUR Italian Industrial Sales n.s.a. (YoY) (MAY) 14.2%
9:00 EUR Italian Current Account (euros) (MAY) -5604M Payments balance recovered last month
11:00 USD MBA Mortgage Applications (JUL 15) -5.1% Could improve on housing starts
12:30 CAD Wholesale Sales (MoM) (MAY) 0.1% -0.1% Same level sales could have some push behind future rate hikes
14:00 EUR Euro-Zone Consumer Confidence (JUL A) -10.2 -9.8 Advance data shows softer confidence
14:00 USD Existing Home Sales (MoM) (JUN) 1.9% -3.8% Sales expected to recover following today’s better home starts
14:00 USD Existing Home Sales (JUN) 4.90M 4.81M
14:30 USD DOE U.S. Crude Oil Inventories (JUL 15) -1500K -3124K Reduction in crude inventories again could mean pickup in demand, though moderately weaker than previous
14:30 USD DOE U.S. Distillate Inventory (JUL 15) 1500K 2967K
14:30 USD DOE Cushing OK Crude Inventory (JUL 15) 615K
14:30 USD DOE U.S. Gasoline Inventories (JUL 15) -100K -840K
14:30 USD DOE U.S. Refinery Utilization (JUL 15) 0.0% -0.4%
22:45 NZD Net Migration s.a. (JUN) -360 Further outmigration could point to weaker domestic economy
23:01 GBP UK Nationwide Consumer Confidence (JUN) 49 55 EU troubles expected to drag
23:50 JPY Adjusted Merchandise Trade Balance (Yen) (JUN) -¥250.4B -¥474.6B Trade balance expected to moderately recover as large manufacturing industries and companies recover after earthquake
23:50 JPY Merchandise Trade Exports (YoY) (JUN) -4.1 -10.3
23:50 JPY Merchandise Trade Imports (YoY) (JUN) 11 12.3
23:50 JPY Merchandise Trade Balance Total (Yen) (JUN) -¥149.0B -¥855.8B
GMT Currency Upcoming Events & Speeches
1:30 JPY BOJ Deputy Governor Yamaguchi to Speak in Matsumoto City
2:00 CNY Conference Board China July Leading Economic Index
8:30 GBP Bank of England Minutes
14:30 CAD Monetary Policy Report
22:15 USD Fed’s Sack to Speak to Money Marketeers in New York

SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE LEVELS

CLASSIC SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE – 18:00 GMT

Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist 2 1.5160 1.6600 86.00 0.8900 1.0275 1.1800 0.8620 118.00 146.05
Resist 1 1.5000 1.6300 81.50 0.8550 1.0000 1.1000 0.8520 113.50 140.00
Spot 1.4133 1.6121 79.19 0.8248 0.9500 1.0731 0.8557 111.92 127.67
Support 1 1.4000 1.5935 78.50 0.8075 0.9500 1.0400 0.7745 109.00 125.00
Support 2 1.3700 1.5750 76.25 0.7900 0.9055 1.0200 0.6850 106.00 119.00

CLASSIC SUPPORT AND RESISTANCE –EMERGING MARKETS 18:00 GMTSCANDIES CURRENCIES 18:00 GMT

Currency USD/MXN USD/TRY USD/ZAR USD/HKD USD/SGD Currency USD/SEK USD/DKK USD/NOK
Resist 2 13.8500 1.7425 7.4025 7.8165 1.3650 Resist 2 7.5800 5.6625 6.1150
Resist 1 12.5000 1.6730 7.3500 7.8075 1.3250 Resist 1 6.5175 5.3100 5.7075
Spot 11.6639 1.6586 6.9301 7.7950 1.2154 Spot 6.5124 5.2758 5.5280
Support 1 11.5200 1.5725 6.5575 7.7490 1.2145 Support 1 6.0800 5.1050 5.3040
Support 2 11.4400 1.5040 6.4295 7.7450 1.2000 Support 2 5.8085 4.9115 4.9410

INTRA-DAY PIVOT POINTS 18:00 GMT

Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist 2 1.4288 1.6250 79.50 0.8315 0.9647 1.0833 0.8660 112.95 128.28
Resist 1 1.4210 1.6186 79.35 0.8281 0.9574 1.0782 0.8609 112.43 127.98
Pivot 1.4140 1.6113 79.08 0.8217 0.9528 1.0690 0.8521 111.81 127.40
Support 1 1.4062 1.6049 78.93 0.8183 0.9455 1.0639 0.8470 111.29 127.09
Support 2 1.3992 1.5976 78.66 0.8119 0.9409 1.0547 0.8382 110.67 126.51

INTRA-DAY PROBABILITY BANDS 18:00 GMT

\Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/JPY GBP/JPY
Resist. 3 1.4334 1.6280 80.02 0.8356 0.9591 1.0873 0.8676 113.65 129.34
Resist. 2 1.4284 1.6240 79.81 0.8329 0.9568 1.0838 0.8646 113.22 128.92
Resist. 1 1.4234 1.6200 79.60 0.8302 0.9546 1.0802 0.8616 112.78 128.50
Spot 1.4133 1.6121 79.19 0.8248 0.9500 1.0731 0.8557 111.92 127.67
Support 1 1.4032 1.6042 78.78 0.8194 0.9454 1.0660 0.8498 111.06 126.84
Support 2 1.3982 1.6002 78.57 0.8167 0.9432 1.0624 0.8468 110.62 126.42
Support 3 1.3932 1.5962 78.36 0.8140 0.9409 1.0589 0.8438 110.19 126.00

v

Written by: John Kicklighter, Senior Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com


Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing


Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

By Joel Kruger, Technical Strategist

15 July 2011 04:44 GMT
  • Thursday price action fails to inspire any real directional bias
  • USD recovers after Bernanke dismisses possibility for QE3
  • S&P jumps into mix and also warns of potential US ratings downgrade
  • Eurozone trade balance only key release in European session

All things considered, Thursday’s session of trade was relatively uneventful from a price action standpoint, with markets in the end, closing near their daily opening levels. The Greenback had initially been weighed down across the board on concerns over a potential downgrade to US credit ratings, but managed to fight its way back in the latter half of the day, with US economic data coming in as expected and more importantly, Fed Chair Bernanke throwing cold water on any real hopes for further accommodation from the Fed.

When asked if the Fed would consider additional accommodation, the Fed Chair said that the central bank was not considering this as an option at the present time. The US dollar was very well bid as a result with market participants also retracing some of their moves from the previous day’s testimony when it seemed as the door was open for potential QE3 measures. However, ongoing concern over the US debt ceiling also would not completely go away, with S&P joining into the mix and also warning of some form of a downgrade to US ratings over the coming days even in a situation where the ceiling were raised. Specifically, the S&P analyst said that the chances for a sovereign rating downgrade in the next 90 days had risen considerably

Looking ahead, the European economic calendar is extremely quiet, with the only key release coming in the form of the Eurozone trade balance. But as was the case on Thursday, the quiet economic calendar for the session should be a welcome development as broader global macro forces are at play. US equity futures and oil prices consolidate their latest declines, while gold sits on the opposite end of the spectrum and consolidates gains by record highs.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Fed_Chair_Significantly_Downplays_Prospects_for_Additional_Easing_body_Picture_5.png, Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

TECHNICAL OUTLOOK

Fed_Chair_Significantly_Downplays_Prospects_for_Additional_Easing_body_eur.png, Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

EUR/USD: Overall, price action remains quite bearish and we continue to like the idea of selling into rallies in anticipation of a more sizeable pullback below the 200-Day SMA. The longer-term moving average resides by the 1.3900 figure and a clear break below will open the door for a test of next key support in the 1.3750. In the interim, look for the formation of a fresh lower top somewhere ahead of 1.4400. Thursday’s topside failure by a convergence of moving averages just under 1.4300 could very well offer itself as a strong candidate for this next lower top.

Fed_Chair_Significantly_Downplays_Prospects_for_Additional_Easing_body_jpy2.png, Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

USD/JPY: The latest daily close below 79.50 certainly compromises our constructive outlook with the market breaking down below some solid multi-day range support in the 80.00 area and dropping into the 78.00’s thus far. This now puts the pressure back on the downside and opens the door for a retest and potential break below the record lows from March by 76.30. At this point, a daily close back above 80.00 would be required at minimum to relieve downside pressures.

Fed_Chair_Significantly_Downplays_Prospects_for_Additional_Easing_body_gbp2.png, Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

GBP/USD: We classify the latest price action as some consolidation ahead of the next major downside extension with the market now looking to establish back below the 200-Day SMA and extend declines through next key support at 1.5750 further down. In the interim, look for any rallies to be well capped ahead below 1.6250 on a daily close basis. Back under 1.6000 helps to confirm and should accelerate.

Fed_Chair_Significantly_Downplays_Prospects_for_Additional_Easing_body_swiss1.png, Fed Chair Significantly Downplays Prospects for Additional Easing

USD/CHF: Despite the intense downtrend resulting in recently established fresh record lows below 0.8100, short/medium/longer-term technical studies are looking quite stretched to us, and we continue to like the idea of taking shots at buying in anticipation of a major base. Aggressive bulls may want to look to establish fresh long positions ahead of 0.8000, while conservative counter-trenders will want to wait for a daily close back above 0.8200 at a minimum.

Written by Joel Kruger, Technical Currency Strategist


Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar Risk


Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar Risk

By David Liu, 15 July 2011 02:36 GMT

The following table includes the correlation between gold and the most popular currency pairs over various timeframes. A value close to +1 indicates a strong positive relationship between gold and the pair, while a value close to -1 indicates a strong negative relationship. Colored values indicate week-to-week changes of over 30%.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Gold USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF
3 Day 15 Min -0.94 0.91 0.90 0.91 0.94 -0.85 -0.91
1 Week 60 Min -0.46 0.18 0.44 -0.07 0.62 -0.92 -0.94
2 Week 60 Min -0.36 0.12 0.24 0.05 -0.24 -0.41 0.44
1 Month Daily -0.26 0.18 0.32 -0.66 0.12 0.50 -0.52

Weekly Commentary: Short term correlations with gold and dollar pairs rose to the highest in recent history as Moody’s threatened to downgrade US government treasury pending the ongoing debt scuffle in the House of Representatives. The fear that the safest asset in the world may lose its status hurt the dollar on all sides as investors flocked to both foreign currencies and precious metals.

For more about the debt ceiling and what it means for the dollar, please refer to this analysis.

On a longer term outlook, the Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained in tandem with the yellow metal, showing increased safe haven demand. Fundamental problems this week ranging from a possible contagion of the European debt crisis to Italy to the possible US debt downgrade induced further flights to safety. Despite the record flows, markets are looking forward to second quarter earnings next week and a possible conclusion to the debt fight.

Gold-Forex_Correlations_07152011_body_Picture_1.png, Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar RiskGold-Forex_Correlations_07152011_body_Picture_2.png, Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar RiskPlease note: Chart uses franc rate as CHFUSD to show safety correlation with gold.

Gold-Forex_Correlations_07152011_body_Picture_3.png, Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar RiskGold-Forex_Correlations_07152011_body_Picture_4.png, Gold and Currencies Correlations at Record on US Dollar RiskWritten by David Liu, DailyFX Research


6 Month Euro Forecast: Looking for the EURUSD at 1.25


6 Month Euro Forecast: Looking for the EURUSD at 1.25

By David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist

13 July 2011 06:00 GMT

The Euro has done well through the first half of 2011, rallying to fresh multi-year highs against the US Dollar and strengthening against almost all G10 counterparts. There remain clear fundamental risks for the single currency in the second half of 2011, and we look for the Euro to fall. The major concern is whether several at-risk countries can remain stable despite clear debt crises. The European Central Bank’s next actions may prove pivotal—especially as the Euro has strengthened on robust interest rate forecasts and is at risk of losses on any significant downgrades. The number of risks to the Euro arguably outweighs those to the US Dollar, leaving us watching for further EURUSD declines. We look for the EUR/USD to end 2011 below 1.25.

European Sovereign Debt Crisis – Where Did We Start and Where Do We Stand?

The euro zone financial debt crisis continues to threaten EUR stability and remains a key risk through the second half of the year. At the forefront of traders’ minds is Greece—can the southern European state withstand market pressures and remain solvent?

Despite a €110 billion three year bailout agreement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Greece has yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The difficulty lies in the structure of the bailout deal. When the International Monetary Fund agreed to loans, it required that the Greek government return to the debt markets for its borrowing needs as soon as 2012. At the time, this request seemed reasonable. With backstops from the EU and IMF, international investors would be more likely to buy Greek debt. Yet the continuing sell-off in Greek bonds underline that few are willing to hold existing Greek debt—much less buy any newly-issued debt.

The cost to insure against a Greek debt default has recently hit record-highs as seen through Credit Default Swaps, and current sovereign debt ratings imply a 50 percent chance of a Greek default within the coming five years.

A further bailout seems increasingly necessary and likely, but uncertainty over Greece’s ability to repay debts could likewise spread to other at-risk government treasuries.

Spain and Portugal Outlook Uncertain on Funding Needs

The key risk with periphery debt crises has and will always be contagion—will Greece’s troubles affect other periphery nations and even spill into the core through higher bond yields? In absolute terms, bailouts for Greece, Portugal, and Ireland have cost relatively little. Together, the three economies comprise approximately 5 percent of total euro zone Gross Domestic Product. If EMU titans Spain (8.9 percent of GDP) and Italy (12.8 percent of GDP) fall into trouble, however, European coffers may not be able to cope with the required fiscal aid.

The spread between benchmark Spanish and German government bond yields has recently widened to its largest since the inception of the euro—implying that Spain’s relative debt risk is worsening. And though a 10-year Spanish government bond yield of approximately 5.5 percent is low by historical standards, the widening gulf could further exacerbate government deficits. Much the same can be said for Italy. A key question is whether bond troubles in periphery nations can spread to the core, truly threatening the stability of the single currency zone.

Of course, there have been plenty of reasons that the euro has strengthened despite these readily apparent sovereign debt crises.

European Central Bank – Can They Continue to Hike Rates?

Expectations that the European Central Bank will be among the most aggressive central banks in raising interest rates has driven speculative interest in the euro, pushing the price up in the first half of this year. A key question will be whether the ECB will follow through on lofty forecasts and continue to raise interest rates, further supporting the currency.

Robust interest rate forecasts have driven the euro higher against the US Dollar and Japanese Yen—currencies that hold the dubious honor of the two lowest-yielding among the industrialized world.

Overnight Index Swaps, a tool used by major financial institutions to bet on and hedge against interest rate moves, show that traders expect the ECB could raise rates three times through the second half of 2012 in order to head off inflation in the Euro Zone. This compares to forecasts that the US Federal Reserve will leave interest rates roughly unchanged through the same stretch. The Bank of Japan is similarly forecast to leave monetary policy effectively unchanged and to keep Japanese short-term interest rates near zero.

Yet in markets nothing is guaranteed, and indeed we might argue that the euro has seen about all of the yield-linked support it will enjoy. That is to say, it would likely take a material improvement in ECB forecasts (and subsequent rate hikes) to continue driving EUR gains.

Can the European Central Bank continue to set hawkish monetary policy despite clear economic and fiscal struggles in periphery nations? ECB President Jean Claude Trichet has continued to emphasize that the central bank sets policy for the whole of the monetary union and cannot ignore mounting inflationary pressures. Yet with fiscal austerity packages guaranteed across the euro zone, demand-driven inflation could quickly abate and lessen the need for tightened policy.

All else remaining equal, the euro would almost certainly fall on a sharp downgrade in ECB interest rate expectations. Of course, nothing ever remains equal in financial markets and there are a number of mitigating factors that could strongly affect the single currency.

Financial Markets Continue to Drive Currencies

The euro remains a currency closely linked to equities markets, with the EUR/USD tending to rise with stocks, and tending to fall when stocks fall. Further market turmoil could almost certainly derail the recent EUR strength. The correlation between the Euro/US Dollar currency pair and the US Dow Jones Industrial Average has recently been trading near record levels; Dow variation has theoretically explained up to 45 percent of Euro movements. Part of this relationship is the US Dollar’s appeal as the currency of many popular “safe” investments—most notably US Treasury Bonds. On the other side of it, the euro is arguably among the most at-risk assets in financial market upheaval as debt market difficulties could further exacerbate the current European sovereign debt crises.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average limped into the second half of the year, declining for six consecutive trading weeks and posting its worst performance in nearly a decade. It should come as relatively little surprise that especially sharp equities sell-offs forced EURUSD weakness, and indeed a continuation could see the US Dollar further regain ground against its high-flying European counterpart.

Euro in Favorable Long-Term Trend but with Considerable Risks in the Second Half of 2011

The Euro remains well within a decade-long uptrend against the US Dollar, but the medium-term outlook is fraught with risk as doubts remain about euro zone economic and political stability. Of course, the US Dollar is not without its own issues and actual EURUSD price action will depend on a great number of different dynamics.

Whether or not the euro remains in its broader uptrend will greatly depend on developments in sovereign debt crises and market expectations regarding the European Central Bank. It seems that risks generally favor Euro losses, and indeed our forecast remains bearish into the end of 2011.