Overview: Yesterday's dollar surge has stalled. It is consolidating its gains and is softer against all the G10 currencies. After popping above JPY140 yesterday, there were no follow-through greenback buying in Tokyo. Most emerging market currencies are also firmer, including the South African rand, which plummeted by 2.8% yesterday on the back of the central bank's warning of downside currency risks as it delivered a 50 bp hike. The Chinese yuan is also firmer to snap a four-day fall.
Reports suggest that the partisan forces in the US are negotiating a two-year debt ceiling/spending deal. This is part of the drama, and a last-minute agreement remains the most likely scenario. Most of the large equity markets in the Asia Pacific advanced, though Hong Kong was closed. Europe's Stoxx 600 is steady to slightly higher. It has fallen for the past three sessions. US equity futures are narrowly mixed. European 10-year bond yields are 1-2 bp softer, including Gilts yields, which had risen by more than 30 bp this week coming into today. The 10-eyar US Treasury yield is off four basis points to about 3.78%. Gold was sold through support at $1950 yesterday and briefly slipped through $1937 today before catching a bid to recovery back to $1957. A move above $1960 would help lift the tone. July WTI is also stabilizing after plummeting nearly 3.4% yesterday. It dipped below $71.00 yesterday and is in almost a dollar range above $71.50 today. It settled near $71.70 last week.
Pressure continues to mount on the Bank of Japan to act. Yesterday, the Japanese government revised higher its economic assessment for the first time in ten months. It was upbeat consumption, production, and exports. Earlier today, Tokyo's May CPI was reported. The headline and core (excluding fresh food) rates slowed to a 3.2% year-over-year pace from 3.5%, which is slightly less than expected. The underlying rate that excludes fresh food and energy ticked up to 3.9%, a new cyclical high. The yen has been trending lower and fell to new lows for the year yesterday before steadying today. The yen has declined for seven of the past eight weeks. The yield on the 10-year JGB, which approached 0.35% last week and set a new high for the month earlier todays (0.45%) to draw near the 0.50% cap. At the same time, the 10-year breakeven (the spread between the inflation-linked security and conventional bond) has shot up from below 60 bp in the middle of last month to almost 100 bp now. Meanwhile, there is still speculation that Prime Minister Kishida is considering snap elections to take advantage of his bump in the polls. A new wrinkle has emerged, though in Tokyo. The problem arises because of the population shift toward the cities from the rural areas has led to re-drawing of districts. The junior partner in the national coalition (Komeito) and the LDP are fighting over which should run new candidates in the new districts in Tokyo. An agreement remains elusive and Komeito will not cooperate with the LDP in Tokyo, but the national coalition remains intact.
Australia's April retail sales were flat, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% increase. Australian retail sales rose by an average of 0.6% last year and averaged 0.2% in the three months through April. The squeeze on Australian households may intensify in the coming months as mortgages issued during the early days of the pandemic will begin floating. The highlight next week is the April CPI figures. The newly minted monthly series has been moderating this year after peaking last December at 8.4%. It was at 6.3% in March and may have slipped below 6% for the first time since April 2022. The central bank meets on June 6 and the market sees little chance of a hike. However, it is not convinced that the RBA is finished either.
The dollar kept knocking on JPY140 yesterday until it gave late in the session. Stops appeared to have been triggered, which may have also been related to the $1 bln of options expiring there today. The jump in US 10-year yields, above 3.80% for the first time in two-months helped spur the greenback's gains. Still, there were no further yen sales in Tokyo today and the dollar is consolidating and found support in early European turnover near JPY139.50. On the top side, the next important chart area is around JPY142.50. That said, the dollar's run-up has stretched the momentum indicators. Also, given the one-way nature of the recent move, words of warning from Japanese officials are increasingly possible. Our base case is that US yields are also near the end of their recovery and softer economic data next week (jobs and auto sales) will help cap both. The Australian dollar was sold through $0.6550, was the (61.8%) retracement of the dollar from the multi-year low set in the middle of last October near $0.6170. Follow-through selling pushed it briefly below $0.6500 earlier today before recovering to almost $0.6530. There appears to be little chart support ahead of $0.6400. Momentum indicators are stretched here too. Of course, they can remain oversold for some time, but it suggests the bulk of the move is over. PBOC officials cautioned banks about the exchange rate movement at the end of last week. Still, the yuan fell in the first four sessions this week and extended its losses into today before recovering. The dollar reached almost CNY7.08 before reversing and falling to nearly CNY7.0450. State-owned banks reportedly were the featured dollar sellers in the offshore market and when they pulled back, the greenback recovered toward CNY7.0650. The dollar's weekly gain of around 0.75% matches the gains seen in each of the past two weeks. It is the sixth weekly advance in the past seven weeks. The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY7.0760 (CNY7.0756 median projection in Bloomberg's survey). The dollar has entered our target band of CNY7.07-CNY7.11.
UK retail sales improved in May after falling a revised 1.2% in March (initially -0.9%). The 0.5% gain in May was a little better than expected. Excluding gasoline, retail sales rose by 0.8%. The UK reports its retail sales in volume terms. Investors are still reeling from the stronger than expected April inflation report. The 10-year Gilt yield may snap a seven-day increase today. During this run, the 10-year yield has by about 50 bp. The swaps market sees the year-end policy rate a little over 5.50%. It is a little softer today after rising consistently for the past seven sessions.
The eurozone highlight next week is the preliminary May CPI. The base effect suggests the pace will likely slow from April's 7.0% year-over-year rate. Last May (and June) eurozone CPI rose by 0.8% month-over-month. These will drop out of the 12-month comparison. Consumer prices are expected to have risen by 0.3% this month. This would see the year-over-year rate slow to around 6.4%, which would be the lowest since February 2022. The core rate is stickier. It slowed in April (to 5.6% from the cyclical high of 5.7% in March). It was the first decline since last June. A small decline in May is expected, which would be the first back-to-back slowing of the core rate since June-July 2021. The ECB meets on June 15 and the market is highly confident of a quarter point hike (to 3.50%) and sees the terminal rate closer to 3.75%.
A convincing break of $1.07 could spur a euro move toward March low near $1.0515. The year’s low was set on January 6 close to $1.0485. It has already come off almost four cents from its high and the downside risk may be another two cents. Momentum indicators are stretched, and the euro has settled near session lows in recent days. At this point, it may take a close back above $1.08 lift the tone. The euro has been confined to a narrow range of about a quarter-of-a-cent below $1.0745. There are some large month-end options expires at $1.0675 and $1.0750. Two-and-a-half weeks ago, sterling was approaching $1.2700, its best level since last June. The outside down day on Wednesday from a high near $1.2470 took it to about $1.2360, and yesterday's follow-through selling brough it to almost $1.2300. The break of our $1.2345 target opens the door to around $1.2240. If that is violated, it could spur another cent move. As one might expect with nine losses in the past 11 sessions coming into today, the momentum indicators are oversold. Sterling held yesterday's low so far today but may stall in front of $1.2380.
The US debt ceiling morass continues and Fitch's threat to downgrade its credit rate had little impact. There are reports today suggesting a two-year deal may be in the works. US yields through the curve are softer today. The dollar extended its three-week rally that carried it to new highs for the year against the yen, yuan, and the Australian and New Zealand dollars yesterday. It reached its best level against the euro in two months and US markets are closed on Monday and its best level against sterling since early April. The Dollar Index rose above 104.00 for the first time since St. Patrick's Day, surpassing the (61.8%) retracement of the bank-stress induced slide that saw it fray the 101.00 area.
The market's outlook for the June 14 FOMC meeting is fluid. The odds of a hike were more than halved to less than 20% after Fed Chair Powell spoke at the end of last week. The odds gradually rebuild this week and is back around 40% chance of a quarter-point hike. When the bank stress peaked in mid-March, the implied policy rate at the end of Q3 briefly fell by 4%. By the end of last week, it was a little above 5.0% and it reached 5.30% yesterday before easing back to around 5.22%. In addition, the Fed funds futures imply year-end effective Fed funds rate of about 4.90%. Coming into today, it has risen in 13 of the past 15 sessions. It began the advance with an implied yield of 4.11% on May 4. We suspect the interest rate adjustment is nearly over, and weaker jobs growth and auto sales due next week may persuade others.
A bevy of US data will be released today. Personal income is expected to have increased by 0.4% in April, matching the Q1 average. Personal consumption expenditures were flat in March after the 2% surge in January and a 0.1% gain in February. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey projects a 0.5% increase. The Fed targets the headline deflator at 2% on average. A 0.3% increased that is expected translates into a nearly 4% annualized pace through the first four months of the year. (vs. ~3.3% in the previous four months. The year-over-year rate is expected to edge up to 4.3% from 4.2%. The core deflator may have held steady at 4.6% year-over-year. The advanced estimate of goods deficit in April is expected to have edged slightly higher to near $86 bln from $84.6 bln in March. It was around $106.3 bln in April 2022 and $86.3 bln in April 2021. A drop in Boeing orders in April (from 60 in March to 34 in April) can be expected to weigh on durable goods orders. Still, when defense and aircraft (and parts) are excluded, durable goods orders are expected to have fallen for the third consecutive month. A bright spot could be that core durable goods shipments may have risen for the first time since January. The final University of Michigan survey is also due. Market participants pay more attention to the inflation expectations than to the consumer confidence. Recall that the preliminary results showed the 5-10-year inflation expected rose to 3.2% (from 3.0%), which represented a new cyclical high. Note that the Atlanta Fed's GDP tracker will be updated after the data dump. The last iteration saw the US economy tracking about 2.9% annualized growth in Q2. This may be the best it gets for the next several quarters.
The US dollar reached CAD1.3655 earlier today, its best level this month but a little below the high seen at the end of April (~CAD1.3670). There are options for about $360 mln that expire today at CAD1.3665. The greenback retreated to around CAD1.3615 in the European morning. Support is seen in the CAD1.3580-CAD1.3600 area. The US dollar is trading within yesterday's range against the Mexican peso (~MXN17.7530-MXN17.8790). It has found a base over the last couple of sessions near MXN17.75. It may take a break of this week's low (~MXN17.7250) to boost confidence that the shake-out is over. The greenback closed near MXN17.7860 last week.
Opinions expressed are solely of the author’s, based on current market conditions, and are subject to change without notice. These opinions are not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any currencies or markets. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as research or as investment, legal or tax advice, nor should it be considered information sufficient upon which to base an investment decision. Further, this communication should not be deemed as a recommendation to invest or not to invest in any country or to undertake any specific position or transaction in any currency. There are risks associated with foreign currency investing, including but not limited to the use of leverage, which may accelerate the velocity of potential losses. Foreign currencies are subject to rapid price fluctuations due to adverse political, social and economic developments. These risks are greater for currencies in emerging markets than for those in more developed countries. Foreign currency transactions may not be suitable for all investors, depending on their financial sophistication and investment objectives. You should seek the services of an appropriate professional in connection with such matters. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not necessarily complete in its accuracy and cannot be guaranteed.
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