On Friday, US eco data, including the Michigan consumer confidence were OK, but not strong enough to change USD sentiment for the better. Interest rate differentials were still marginally supportive for the euro. Post-Fed USD softness persisted. EUR/USD finished the session at 1.0738 from 1.0766 on Thursday. USD/JPY closed at 112.70 (from 113.31).
Overnight, Asian equities are trading with a slight risk-off bias. This is due to the G20 disappointment. The communiqué doesn't say anymore that the G-20 will intend to avoid all forms of protectionism, mirroring the US shift to more protectionism. Japanese markets are closed today. Even so, USD/JPY remains under pressure from ongoing overall USD weakness. USD/JPY trades around 112.60, near the lowest level this month. EUR/USD is trading around 1.0765. So, the post-Fed top (1.0782) remains also within reach. After a pause in the second half of last week, the oil price is again under pressure as supply concerns remain present.
Today, the eco calendar is completely empty. Regarding events, the Eurogroup meets on Greece, pension systems, the budgetary plans and the implementation of the Stability and Growth path. On Friday, Greece FM Tsakalotos said he expected to reach a deal by April 7 Eurogroup meeting. The problem is complicated though by signals the US is critical about IMF participation. ECB Weidmann speaks, as does Chicago Fed Evans. Last week, USD yields and the dollar drifted south even as the Fed hiked its rates. At the same time, the euro was well bid as markets pondered the chances of an early change in the ECB policy after hawkish comments from ECB's Nowotny. In a longer term perspective, policy divergence between the Fed and the ECB will probably remain big enough to support further USD gains. Yellen suggested that, considering the eco developments, the Fed policy might be relatively close to the ‘dot-path'. The day-to-day USD momentum remains soft though. A cautious risk-off sentiment and a further decline of oil might keep the dollar on the defensive short-term as there are no important US eco data/events to turn momentum in favour of the dollar. So, short-term are in no hurry to the jump in to add to USD long exposure. We wait for strong enough US data that might put a floor on the current USD correction.
Global context. EUR/USD 1.0874 resistance remains the line in the sand with intermediate resistance at 1.0829. We maintain the view that a sustained break of EUR/USD above this area will be difficult. The US/German (EMU) interest rate differential remains at an absolute high level. Especially at the short end of the curve, the differential might even re-widen. The fundamentals/ interest rate differentials are also supportive for USD/JPY, but of late the momentum/technical picture is not really convincing. We maintain the working hypothesis that the 111.60 range bottom should hold.
Political uncertainty to cap GBP rebound?
On Friday, there were no eco data in the UK. Trading in sterling was order-driven and technical in nature. Cable showed some erratic swings in the mid/high 1.23 big figure . The pair closed the session at 1.2396, near the intraday high. The rise in cable was at least partially due to USD softness. EUR/GBP reversed Tuesday's late session rebound (Nowotny). So, from this point of view, sterling still maintained a cautious bid in the wake of Thursday's (more hawkish) BoE policy statement. EUR/GBP finished the session at 0.8663 (from 0.8733 on Thursday).
Overnight, the Rightmove House price measure rose 1.3% M/M to be up 2.3% Y/Y. However, the improvement doesn't help sterling. During the weekend, the debate on a Scottish independence referendum continues. A clash between London and Edinburgh highlights the higher number of institutional issues that could complicate the Brexit procedure. Sterling is reversing a (small) part of Friday's rebound this morning. The cautious risk-off sentiment mighty also be a slightly negative for sterling. There are no other important UK eco data today. So, political headlines (Scotland/Brexit) will remain in focus. At the end of last week, both sterling and the euro were in good shape. Some EUR/GBP consolidation might be on the cards. Despite Thursday's somewhat more hawkish BoE approach, we don't see a real risk for BOE tightening anytime soon. So, any rebound of sterling shouldn't go too far.
Last week, the sterling decline took a breather. Some time ago, EUR/GBP cleared the 0.8592 resistance, improving the MT technical EUR/GBP picture. We don't expect a sustained EUR/USD rebound, but a combination of temporary euro consolidation and ongoing sterling softness as the Brexit negotiations are nearing, might trigger some more ST EUR/GBP gains. The 0.8854 correction top is the next key resistance. The nervous swings over the previous days suggest that a clear break beyond 0.8854 will be difficult without important (UK negative) news.
This non-exhaustive information is based on short-term forecasts for expected developments on the financial markets. KBC Bank cannot guarantee that these forecasts will materialize and cannot be held liable in any way for direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this document or its content. The document is not intended as personalized investment advice and does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold investments described herein. Although information has been obtained from and is based upon sources KBC believes to be reliable, KBC does not guarantee the accuracy of this information, which may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute a KBC judgment as of the data of the report and are subject to change without notice.