Rates and Currencies Act like They are From Different Planets
Stronger than expected US inflation and retail sales, and counter-intuitively Treasury yields softened, and the dollar strengthened. The 10-year yield slipped four basis points on the week to 1.32%. The yield has risen in three of the past 15 weeks. It is tough to argue that it is a fluke. While it is holding above the 200-day moving average (~1.25%), the 30-year yield has spent the last two sessions below its 200-day moving average (~1.975). The implied yield of the December Eurodollar futures fell five basis points last week and is off near 15 bp over the past five weeks.
The dollar rose against all the major currencies but the Japanese yen, which eked out a negligible gain. The combination of economic data and central bank statement (and an end to asset purchases) spurred the market to price in an RBNZ rate hike as early as next month (August 17). Still, the Kiwi finished slightly lower on the week. Still, it joined the yen and Swiss franc, whose central banks are widely expected to be among the laggards in adjusting monetary policy, to be the only currencies that have risen here in July against the US dollar. Perversely, the other two high-income countries in the front of the queue to adjust policy, Norway and Canada, have the poorest performing currencies this month (~-2.80% and -1.70%, respectively).
Dollar Index: The Dollar Index rose by about 0.6% last week. Still, it is up less than 0.30% in July after rising 2.9% in June. In recent days, it has held below the three-month high set on July 7, near 92.85. The MACD is slowly declining, while the Slow Stochastic has pulled back from overbought territory but is threatening to cross higher. The year’s high was set at the end of March near 93.45. A break of that March high would have bullish implications and it least signal at test on the 94.40-94.50 area. On the other hand, a move below 91.55 would suggest a high may be in place.
Euro: The euro fell to new three-month lows last week, slightly above $1.1770. The single currency has spent the last three sessions within the range set on July 13 (~$1.1770-$1.1875). Immediate resistance is seen in the $1.1840-$1.1850 area. Ahead of the ECB meeting on July 22, the risk is on the downside as the market prepares for a dovish forward guidance adjustment in light of its new symmetrical 2% inflation target. The MACD has not confirmed last week’s lows. The Slow Stochastic edged out of oversold territory but has moved sideways in the second half of last week. A convincing low does not appear to place, and the next important support area is seen closer to $1.17.
Japanese Yen: After matching a five-day high on July 14 (~JPY110.70), the dollar reversed lower, arguably with the drag of falling yields, and finished below the previous session’s low. The outside down day saw follow-through dollar selling the following day, but good bids were seen around JPY109.70. The greenback recovered a bit ahead of the week, as yields edged higher and settled slightly above JPY110.05. Although the MACD and Slow Stochastic appear to be poised to turn higher, they haven’t yet. The correlation between US 10-year yield and oil prices over the past 30-day is near the highest since March 2019 (~0.52, rolling 30-day correlation of differences). A move above JPY110.85 could see the dollar rested the month and year high around JPY111.65. Below the JPY109.50 area, support is seen ahead of JPY109.00.
British Pound: Strong inflation and consumption figures spurred hawkish rhetoric from a couple of BOE officials and firmer short-term UK rates, but sterling still fell around 0.95% against the US dollar and lost about 0.35% against the euro. Indeed it posted a weekly close below $1.38 for the first time since April. Sterling closed poorly, and although it held above the recent lows in the $1.3730-$1.3740 area, it looks weak. The cap near $1.39 looks stronger than support, and the 200-day moving average may beckon (~$1.3695). The Slow Stochastic has cycled to the middle of the range without a strong recovery in prices, and it looks to be poised to level out. The MACD moved gently off its lows but could turn down again.
Canadian Dollar: What a miserable two-week stretch for the Canadian dollar. It has fallen in eight of the ten sessions and has fallen by 2% over this run. The data has been firm, and the Bank of Canada did take another step toward slowing its bond purchases. The greenback covered the week’s range in two days. There were buyers for it on the pullback after the Bank of Canada’s announcement near CAD1.2425, and the following day it was flirting with the upper Bollinger Band (~CAD1.2610) and the 200-day moving average around (~CAD1.2625). Above there, the CAD1.2700 marks the halfway point of the US dollar’s sell-off since last November’s election, but there appears to be little chart resistance ahead of the CAD1.2740-CAD1.2750 area. The MACD is stretched but continues to move higher. The Slow Stochastic has flatlined below last month’s high.
Australian Dollar: With a little more than a quarter of the population having received a single vaccine and a longer and tighter lockdown in parts of the country, the economic prospects have dimmed. They offer a stark contrast with New Zealand. The Australian dollar was sold to new lows for the year ahead of the weekend, as it slipped below $0.7400. We have recognized the risk of a move to $0.7380, which would complete the retracement (61.8%) of the rally since the US election last year. Below there may not be much support for another half of a cent. The MACD has is nearly a horizontal line in the trough, while the Slow Stochastic is moving sideways a little above the low set earlier this month.
Mexican Peso: The US dollar set the week’s range on July 13 (~MXN19.8150-MXN20.0820). It finished the week near the lower end of the range, but this represented only a small loss for the greenback (<0.15%). Still, it is the third decline in the past four weeks. The JP Morgan Emerging Market currency index eked out a minor gain last week (0.1%) to end a two-week decline. Although the peso is the only LATAM currency to rise so far here in July (0.4%), it was a poor performer last week in the region. The Brazilian real came back into favor rising 2.8%, the Peruvian sol rose 1.6%, and the Colombian peso rose slightly more than 0.6%. The Chilean peso lost the most in the region (~1.25%) despite the central bank hiking rates and suggesting it may be the first of several. The momentum indicators are mixed. Broad sideways trading seems like the most likely near-term scenario. The MXN19.75 area offers support below MXN19.80.
Chinese Yuan: The yuan was virtually unchanged against the dollar last week, finishing slightly below CNY6.48. It leaves it off by about 0.33% here in July and up by nearly 0.75% year-to-date. Three-month implied volatility settled June a little above 5%. It began last week above 5% and finished at its lowest level since March 2020 (~3.93%). The lower end of the near-term dollar range appears around CNY6.45, but it looks poised to test the upper-end that comes in around CNY6.49. The greenback has not traded above CNY6.50 for about three months. Although the firmness of June economic data shows the quarter ending on an upbeat, the PBOC does not appear to be in a hurry to ease policy further. The 10-year onshore yield fell to fell to 2.92% on July 13, its lowest in a year. The low currency volatility and the non-correlation of the bond market to other major bond markets attract foreign asset managers. Year-to-date, the US 10-year yield has risen 40 bp, the German Bund by 22 bp, the British Gilt 43 bp, and the Chinese bond yield is off almost 20 bp.
Bannockburn Global Forex