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Currency Market Analysis

Aug 19, 2019 | Currency Market Analysis

Global Themes

G7 summit, Jackson Hole, Italian politics and meeting minutes; the week ahead
In a relatively light week of economic data, traders will be paying close attention to Brexit headlines, US-China trade tensions, geopolitical risks, including the Italian no confidence vote on Tuesday, and key events such as the Group of Seven (G7) summit this weekend and the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Jackson Hole symposium towards the end of the week. The minutes of the Fed’s and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) latest monetary policy meetings will also be unveiled, with dovish expectations likely to weigh on both the Euro and the US Dollar. The warning signals of a looming recession last week, in the form of inverting yield curves in the US, UK and Germany, continue to spook investors and will likely play a part in future monetary policy decisions.
- Boris in G7 summit spotlight
- Euro weak ahead of data and Italian politics
- Fed minutes and Jackson Hole

GBP

Boris in G7 summit spotlight
In the absence of any top-tier economic data from the UK this week, attention will remain firmly on Brexit developments and the G7 summit where Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be under the microscope in the global arena. The British Pound rallied last week on the latest developments in UK politics that the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties are attempting to topple Mr Johnson’s government in an effort to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario and delay the exit date again.

Sterling remains ultra-sensitive to Brexit-related news, which is beginning to ramp up as the October 31 deadline date draws nearer. The big news over the weekend is the leaked government document, named Operation Yellowhammer, which has outlined the risks of a no-deal Brexit and how many companies are still not prepared for such an outcome. Brexit fatigue seems to have set in amidst the multiple delays to the departure date and continued lack of clarity, particularly for smaller businesses, on what leaving the EU without a deal might mean. It is this uncertainty that has weighed on the pound ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. However, the probability of a no-deal scenario continues to rise, which has dragged Sterling to multi-year lows against many major currencies.

GBP/USD was precariously perched above $1.20 last week, before staging a rebound of 1% on the news of a looming vote of no confidence in the government when Parliament return from recess in September. Upside traction may be limited though, given the political uncertainty that comes with any election.

EUR

Euro weak ahead of data and Italian politics
A busy week of macro Eurozone data floods the markets, kicking off with final inflation figures from July at 10:00am. Flash PMIs from Germany and the Eurozone, consumer confidence from the bloc and minutes from the ECB’s July policy meeting will all be revealed on Thursday. The Euro is at risk of depreciating further after enduring heavy selling pressure last week.

The downside pressure came following dire economic data from Germany, raising the prospect of a recession to come. Moreover, reports that the ECB is preparing for a substantial stimulus package to help support the dwindling Eurozone economy sent the common currency tumbling lower on Friday afternoon. GBP/EUR capitalized, jumping back above €1.09 and on towards €1.10, and putting an end to the longest weekly losing streak in history for the pound against the Euro. The weaker Euro also meant EUR/USD sank back into $1.10 territory after failing to hold above $1.1240 on multiple occasions last week. The risk averse market conditions saw the Euro seesaw against its major peers, as investors weighed up the Euro’s safe-haven status with the suffering Eurozone economy.

The ECB minutes on Thursday will be closely monitored and could spark further downside if more dovish communication is revealed. A new round of quantitative easing and rate cuts are expected so the minutes will likely have to over-deliver on dovish news to send the Euro even lower. The tense relationship between Italy’s two governing parties is also punishing the beleaguered Euro, and the no-confidence vote on Tuesday is expected to bring yet more instability.

USD

Fed minutes and Jackson Hole
The salient event from across the pond this week is on Wednesday evening, when the Fed releases the minutes of its July meeting when interest rates were cut for the first time since 2008. The market mood is somewhat calm and upbeat this morning, helped by hopes of a US-China trade deal. The Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium could start to shake things up again towards the end of the week though.

Investors will be scanning the Fed’s minutes for any signals of further rate cuts on the horizon to help support the US economy. The change in policy from tightening to loosening comes at a time of slowing economic activity across the world and heightened uncertainty as geopolitical tensions continue to taint market sentiment. The unrest in Hong Kong, the US-China trade spat, and Brexit, are all dominating headlines and driving market sentiment. In addition, investors will be on alert for any further clues about the Fed’s monetary policy stance when Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at the Jackson Hole symposium. The 3-day event starts on Thursday, with the theme of “Challenges for Monetary Policy” and Mr Powell speaks on Friday.

The US Dollar strengthened last week after the surprise announcement by US President Donald Trump stating a delay to some tariffs on Chinese goods, which helped lift risk appetite. The dollar erased most of its losses experienced at the start of last week except against the pound. GBP/USD is creeping towards $1.22 this morning, extending its recovery rally from last week.


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