Forex today: global trade tensions, unwinding of reflation trade, euro outperforms, higher betas/EM whacked

Forex today was, yet again, about trade tensions where protectionist measures and threats from the US seem to be increasing on a daily basis - weighing on the higher betas mostly while an unwinding of the reflation trade plays out. 

In a new threats against trade partners, President Donald Trump has called for the EU and China to remove trade barriers and tariffs, or face the consequences in addition to  barring many Chinese companies from investing in U.S. technology firms, and by blocking additional technology exports to Beijing, said a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with administration plans.

EUR/USD was the best performer in the FX space on the back of dollar weakness, picking up a trade war angst bid of half a cent from 1.1628 European lows to 1.1710 in NY, closing at 1.1703. The culprit was a narrowing of the US/DE spread where the 10-yr Bund-Tsy spread was unable to retest the May low last week at the same time where the IMM speculative long positions have been closed with shorts already leaving room for more upside in EUR/USD.

GBP/USD was firmer ahead of the EU Summit but choppy on the way up to 1.3280 and closing there, +0.13% on the NY session within the North American range of between 1.3289-1.3251. However, looking ahead, it is hard to see how the bulls can make much further progress despite trade war angst the valley of the shadows of Brexit uncertainties and risk. Eyes from here will be the EU summit Jun 28/29 while risks will be over the UK and EU's endeavors to come to a trade agreement. As for the cross, the pair ranged between 0.8819 and 0.8792, ending the NY session at 0.8812 and +0.25% for the session as the euro picks up a better bid than the pound on dollar weakness. 

USD/JPY was looking in at a two-week low of 109.36 before demand came in and took the pair to 110.03 and a test of the 100-hr SMA at 110 the figure. As far as US 10yr treasury yield went, these were in a lower range of 2.86% and 2.90%, while the 2yr yields ranged between 2.52% and 2.55%. Fed fund futures yields continued to price 1 ½ more hikes in 2018. The VIX was at its highest since April which leaves the upside exposed to fading, where in fact eager beavers/bears capitalised early on the break in NY and took the pair down to a close of 109.73 where increasing threats and protectionist measures from the US keep the safe haven yen in play. 

As for the commodities, oil was lower and copper was carving out a deeper downside in the June rout. Gold was making a close below the 200-D SMA for the first time since the end of last year and all in all, the Aussie was the underperformer as a result, falling from 0.7440 to 0.7397, before edging back to 0.7410 and 0.7418 for the close. The Kiwi was able to brush reasonable equity market weakness and ended at 0.6890 from 0.6901 the high and 0.6883 the low with all eyes on the RBNZ this week. 

Key notes from US session:

No scheduled events in Asia today, instead, analysts at Westpac note that the US calendar is fairly busy with second tier data"

"The Conference Board survey of June consumer confidence is expected to see the headline index hold at 128.0, not far short of February’s 130 which was a high since 2000.

There may be a little more interest than usual in the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey, given the steep slide in the Philadelphia Fed survey last week which hurt the US dollar. Consensus is +15 for June after +16 in May, well above the 20 year average of +2. Also on the slate is the S&P CoreLogic version of April house prices, not at all market-sensitive. Consensus is 6.8%yr for the 20 city index.

Fed presidents Bostic (Atlanta) and Kaplan (Dallas) are listed to speak. Both have been saying their base case is for 3 hikes this year i.e. just 1 in H2."

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