Currency Market Analysis

Jun 10, 2015 | Currency Market Analysis

Global Themes

The U.S. dollar tumbled to multiweek lows after remarks from Japan’s central bank chief suggested the Asian currency may have hit bottom. In a broad decline, the dollar sank 1% against the yen to two-week lows and slipped to three-week lows against the euro and Canadian dollar. The head of the Bank of Japan told lawmakers that the yen’s “very weak” state means it’s not likely to fall further. The yen is days removed from plunging to 13-year lows against the greenback. At the very least, Mr. Kuroda’s remarks should help slow any further descent in the Japanese currency. The dollar has struggled to maintain its jobs-induced bounce from last week as many, including the IMF, think the Federal Reserve should wait another year before boosting interest rates. The dollar meanwhile has been data-deprived this week but that changes over the balance of the week when retail sales come due Thursday and consumer optimism on Friday. A steady ascent in European bond yields to fresh multimonth highs helped underpin the euro. A weaker U.S. currency and stronger oil prices above $60 buoyed the Canadian dollar. Britain’s central bank governor speaks later today.


The data-deprived dollar so far this week has largely looked abroad for its cues. The dollar has struggled as Japan has talked up its currency from 13-year lows and bonds in Europe continued to offer juicer yields. Uncertainty remains at a fever pitch however and the dollar could catch a break should data over the coming two days speak better about the consumer, the economy’s lead growth engine, and turn up the heat on the Fed to raise rates. Retail sales Thursday are forecast to top 1% while consumer sentiment Friday is expected to brighten.


Once again, fresh bouts of weakness for the yen have proven short-lived, repeating a pattern that has been in place for several months. Japan’s central bank governor singlehandedly helped the yen up from 13-year lows hit last week after he told Japanese lawmakers that the yen’s “very weak” state suggests weakness for now has run its course. A better week for the Japanese economy has also added to the yen’s renewed buoyancy.


Surprisingly bullish U.K. factory data and another leg lower for the greenback helped the pound bolt to two-week highs. Suggesting a better start to the second quarter, industrial output topped forecasts with a 0.4% gain in April while the prior month got upgraded. More event risk looms before the end of the day however which could keep the pound on vulnerable ground. Britain’s central bank governor around 4 p.m. ET today is due to deliver his Mansion House speech that last year served as a launching pad for the pound when Mr. Carey hinted at the potential for an earlier U.K. rate hike.


Headed back below C$1.20? The loonie edged closer to a key psychological level against a weaker U.S. currency. The loonie has drawn steady support recently from better data on Canada’s job market, resurgent oil prices above $60 and the still cloudy outlook for U.S. interest rates. The current market remains highly favorable though, considering the loonie started 2015 below C$1.17.


The euro steadied after soaring to three-week highs overnight against the dollar. The steady ascension in European bond yields to new multimonth highs has a growing number of euro bears on the run. Still, not all bears have scampered away since Greece’s debt crisis continues to drag on. Greece’s premier is in Brussels today to try to forge a deal to tap the remaining funds from its bailout which expires at month-end.

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