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Week Ahead: BOE and RBA to Standpat, Political Anxiety Runs High, Giving the Dollar a Lift

Started by PocketOption, Jun 16, 2024, 07:03 am

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PocketOption

Week Ahead:  BOE and RBA to Standpat, Political Anxiety Runs High,  Giving the Dollar a Lift

Under
other circumstances, the softer than expected US inflation readings and the
subsequent sharp drop in US interest rates would have weighed on the US dollar.
Instead, the greenback managed to do well, especially against the euro, sterling,
and Japanese yen. The 0.6% rise in the Dollar Index was the biggest gain in
two months. The Fed's hawkish hold, with the median dot shifting to one cut
this year from three in March (and last December) means that some other central
banks may cuts rates one or two more times before the Fed cuts. In addition,
political anxiety stemming from the snap French election for which President
Macron's party and allies could come in third place in the first round has seen
not only the French premium widen over Germany but others in the European
periphery saw the markets demand a greater premium. In the UK, some polls warn
that the Conservatives could also be relegated to third place in the July 4
election. A political compromise in South Africa, which saw the ANC retain the
presidency and the speaker of the National Assembly helped lift the rand, which
was the only emerging market currency that rose against the dollar last week. The
Mexican peso remains volatile as president-elect Sheinbaum endorse judicial
reform.

The political issues will
linger in the week ahead, while the economic highlights include the Reserve
Bank of Australia and Bank of England meetings. Neither central bank has
prepared the market for a rate cut. A hawkish hold is more likely from the RBA,
where the central bank indicated there was a discussion about rate hikes at
recent meetings. The swap market has discounted about a 50% chance of a cut
this year. The Bank of England is closer to delivering its first cut. There is
a nearly a 50% chance of a cut in August and around an 85% chance by the end of
September. Indeed, the market is pricing in almost an 80% chance that two cuts
will be delivered in H2. Brazil's central bank will also stand pat at it June
19 meeting. It has cut the Selic target rate by 325 bp starting last August. Inflation
improvement may be stalling, and the currency has fallen to 18-month lows. It
is not just that interest rate policy is on hold, but that swaps market is
pricing in that the next move will be a hike. US economic data highlights
include May retail sales and industrial production. They likely increased
sequentially after a soft April. The flash June PMIs will be released at the
end of the week.

United States: Our hypothesis has been that while
the US economy is gradually slowing, much of the high-frequency data in April
seemed to exaggerate it. Most of the May surveys and the jobs data showed
improvement sequentially. This will likely continue this week with May retail
sales and industrial production. They were both flat in April, but the US
economy has not stagnated. The median forecasts in Bloomberg's survey calls for
a 0.2% increase in retail sales and a 0.4% rise in industrial output. At 15.9
mln (SAAR), we already know that auto sales were stronger than expected, and
the best since April 2023. perhaps helped by lower prices. May housing data
will likely be mixed but in the opposite direction. Housing starts, which rose
5.7% May, are expected to have slowed a little, while existing home sales fell
by nearly 2% in April, are expected to have risen slightly. At last week's FOMC
meeting, four officials thought no rate cuts this year would be appropriate. Seven
thought one cut may be necessary, and eight said two rate cuts may still be
delivered. It appears that the softer CPI and PPI played a bigger role in the
market's reaction function than the Fed's forward guidance. The market is
pricing a smidgeon more than two cuts this year. After the  employment data on June 7, the market had one cut and about a 40% chance of a second cut. 

The Dollar Index pushed above
105.70 before the weekend, its best level since May 9, and fulfilled the
(61.8%) retracement of the retreat since peaking on April 16 near 106.50. The
momentum indicators are trending up and five-day moving average is above the
20-day moving average and both are rising. The gains are fraying the upper
Bollinger Band but the political uncertainty in Europe and the BOJ's reluctance
to move quicker to normalize policy has helped the greenback shrug off the
largest weekly decline in two-year rates (~20 bp) since January. European
political considerations have spurred an even sharper drop in German two-year
yield. As a consequence, the US premium over Germany widened by almost 15 bp
last week, the most in two months. The nearly 200 bp premium has not been seen
since the end of April. Initial support for DXY is seen around 105.15. A return
toward the highs cannot be ruled out.

United Kingdom: The UK reports May CPI on June 19 followed
by the Bank of England decision the following. The year-over-year headline
inflation rate may fall below 2% for the first time in three years but do not
expect a below target CPI will spur the Bank of England into action. What is
happening is the last year's jump is being unwound, and with the May report,
that process is nearly over. Consider that in H1 23, UK CPI rose at an
annualized rate of 6.6%. In H2 23, UK inflation rose at an annualized rate of
1.2%. In May 2023, CPI rose by 0.7% and this will drop out and be replaced with
a number closer to half of it. The central bankers are well aware of this base
effect and that services inflation remains elevated at 5.9% in April (6.9% in
April 2023). Core inflation has also been stickier than the headline and in
April slipped below 4% for the first time since October 2021. The Bank of
England itself forecasts CPI to finish this year at 2.5%. Its forecast for 2025
of 2.3% implies little fresh progress. The swaps market has the first cut
fully discounted in November and has about an 80% of a second cut. As recently
as mid-May, the market had two cuts fully discounted and around a 40% chance of
third cut. May retail sales are due the day after the BOE meeting. After the
outsized 2.5% drop in April retail sales (reported on a volume basis not
price), a recovery is likely. Still, it will not change views much that after a
0.6% expansion in Q1 24 (following two contracting quarters) the UK economy has
lost some momentum this quarter.

Sterling rallied to $1.2860
after the soft US CPI report, its best level in three months but the gains were
completely unwound in the following two sessions. And a new low for the week was
recorded ahead of the weekend, slightly above $1.2655. It is the lowest level in a month. The momentum indicators are headed lower, and
the five-day moving average crossed below the 20-day moving average for the
first time since May 1. Follow-through
selling could see sterling move toward $1.2550-80. The $1.2720-30 area may
offer initial resistance.

Australia:  The Reserve Bank of Australia meets a
several hours before the Bank of England on June 20. The swaps market has about a 50% chance of an RBA cut this year. .Last week's labor market data did not change many minds. The
unemployment rate eased to 4.0% (from 4.1%), and the economy created nearly 42k
full-time jobs in May. Australia has grown 160k full-time jobs in the first
five months of the year, down slightly from the 175k increase in full-time
positions in the Jan-May 2023 period. RBA Governor Bullock has eschewed her
reputation as a dove with a rate hike late last year. Growth is slowing (RBA
says from 2.0% in 2023 to 1.3% this year, slightly slower than the IMF's
projection of 1.5%). That growth is sufficient for the RBA to remain focused on
price pressures and the underlying measures averaged a 4.2% in the first
quarter.

The Australian dollar recovered
from its first close below $0.6600 since May 9 after the US jobs report and
traded briefly above $0.6700 after the US CPI. However, the greenback's
strength proved too much, and the Aussie fell back below $0.6600 before the weekend, but recovered to settled near $0.6620. Support is seen in the $0.6575-80 area. A break would signal a test on
$0.6540-45, where the (50%) retracement of the rally from the year's low
(~$0.6365) set April 19 and the 200-day moving average are found. 

China: The PBOC set the one-year Medium-Term
Lending Facility Rate before the markets open on Monday, June 17. The softer
than expected CPI reported last week (-0.1% month-over-month and unchanged at
0.3% year-over-year, has spurred some speculation of a cut. It has been at
2.50% since last August. Many economists look for more monetary stimulus but
the swaps market demurs. Beijing seems more interested increasing the volumes
rather than lowering the price. Also, China's macroeconomic data from May are
due around the same time. If the data are favorable, many observes cast doubts
on its authenticity. If the data is weak, many observers use it to argue for
structural reforms, which often sound like regime change. In any event, and
despite numerous efforts to support the property market, new and used houses
prices likely continued to fall. Property investment continues to slump and
residential property sales off nearly a third this year through April. China is
expected to report a small slowing in the pace of growth industrial production
and a slightly quickening in the pace of retail sales.

The PBOC continues to moderate
the dollar's rise against the yuan. It appears to be making a modest effort. The
dollar rose to CNY7.2560 at the end of last week, its best level since last
November. Claims that because China runs a large external surplus or that it
has plenty of reserves, the yuan should not come under selling pressure, seems,
frankly naive. The same argument could be made about the euro and yen, which
are more under-valued than the yuan. We have been looking for the dollar to
move back into its previous range (~CNY7.25-CNY7.30). Against the offshore yuan, the dollar is bumping against CNH7.2750.  It has only settled above it once this year (April 16).  Last year's high was a little below CNH7.37.  

Japan: Following last week's BOJ meeting, Japan
reports May merchandise trade balance and CPI in the week ahead. May's trade
balance typically deteriorates from April (18 times in the past 20 years) but
almost always improves in June. In the first four months of the year, Japan has
recorded an average monthly trade shortfall of JPY558 bln, despite the yen's
extreme under-valuation. Still, it is about a third of the deficit that was
recorded in the first four months of 2023 and less than half of the deficit in
the Jan-Apr 2022 period. The CPI will be reported at the end of the week. It
may pose headline risk, but the thunder has been stolen by the Tokyo CPI, which
was released a few weeks ago. Tokyo's CPI often runs a little below the
national pace, but the direction is similar. Tokyo's May CPI rose to 2.2% form
1.8% and the core rose to 1.9% from 1.6%. This warns of an uptick in the
national rate to around 2.7% (from 2.5%) and the core rate to 2.4% (from 2.2%).
The swaps market is pricing in almost a two-thirds chance of a 10 bp hike next
month.

The yen was unable to make
benefit much from the largest decline in the US 10-year yield (~22 bp) since
last December. After the US jobs data on June 7, the dollar settled at
JPY156.75. It traded to JPY158.25 at the end of last week after the BOJ stood
pat and did not reduce its JGB purchases. That was the highest the dollar has
been since the intervention at the end of April when the dollar rose above
JPY160. The US 10-year premium over Japan is below 330 bp, the lowest weekly
close this year and the nearly 20 bp of narrowing last week was most since
mid-December. This coupled with the dollar re-entering the previous
intervention area will likely turn the market more cautious about extending the dollar's rally.

Eurozone: The eurozone reports April's current
account and construction figures next week. The flash PMI is due at the end of
the week. However, political issues likely trump economics. Macron's call for
snap elections has roiled the French capital markets and peripheral European
bond markets. It also weighed on the euro that had already come off a cent from
$1.09 area after the US jobs data. France's right-wing Republican Party may
work with Le Pen's National Rally party in the June 30 election. Maron faced a
difficult fiscal challenge in any event. In April, the government revised its
estimate of this year's fiscal shortfall to 5.1% of GDP from 4.4%, and it may
still be underestimating it. The EC projects the French budget deficit, which
rose to 5.5% of GDP in 2023 would narrow to 5.3% this year and 5.0% in 2025. In
late May, S&P downgraded France's sovereign rating to AA- (matching Fitch's
rating, and one step below Moody's). Even before a new European Commission is
in place, the EU indicated that it would impose new duties starting next month
of as much as 38.1% on EV imports from China, depending on the brand and its
estimate of unfair subsidies. Some estimates suggest that the even with the tariffs, several Chinese brands may still see a higher profit in Europe than they do in their domestic market. China indicated it will retaliate and has
threatened measures to hit European agriculture, airplanes, and autos with
large engines. Beijing had previously launched investigations into some types
of European alcohol.

The euro shed around a cent last week, the largest decline in two months. There are two
considerations. First, the market is pricing in a second ECB rate cut before
the Fed cuts rates once. And although, US rates fell last week, German rates
fell faster, and the two-and 10-year differentials widened in the dollar's
favor. Part of the reason for this reflects the second consideration: Politics.
The uncertainty and disruption triggered by Macron's call for snap legislative
elections and some indication that his party (and allies) may slump into third
place raised anxiety in the eurozone, for which German debt is still seen as a
safe haven. This is also consistent with the performance of the Swiss franc,
which appreciated by slightly more than 0.7% against the dollar and nearly 1.7%
against the euro. The euro had been trading near $1.09 before the US employment
data on June 7 and traded below $1.0670 before the weekend. Nearby support is
seen around $1.0650, and a break of it, targets the low for the year set in
mid-April near $1.06. The $1.0720 area offers initial resistance. 

Canada: A key challenge for the Canadian dollar is
that the market thinks the Bank of Canada may cut rates two more times before
the Fed cuts once. The swaps market is discounting about a 2/3 chance that it
follows up last month's cut with another move in July.. A third  cut this year being delivered is fully discounted for early Q4. The upcoming
high-frequency data, which includes May housing starts and existing home sales,
April portfolio flows, and retail sales may not offset the disappointing jobs
data (35.6k loss of full-time jobs and the continued rise in unemployment). The
key is the May CPI report (June 25) following the softer than expected April
reading. 
The US dollar held below
CAD1.38 last week and settled near session lows before the weekend (~CAD1.3730).  Initial support is seen around CAD1.3700 and then last week's low near CAD1.3660. Still, only  a break of CAD1.3600 would be meaningful from a technical perspective. The swaps market
has the Bank of Canada cutting rates once and maybe two more times before the
Fed cuts once.

Mexico:  The peso's headlong plunge
continued. Investors and other market participants have been scrambling to the
exits following the recent election outcome and fear of the reforms being
contemplated, which may erode the checks on political power provided by the
judiciary. After plummeting 7.5% in the first week after the election, the peso
fell another 3.2% last week before stabilizing with the help of implicit
intervention threats, which we argue is a low rung on an escalation ladder. In
the 24 months through May, the peso has appreciated by about 15%. The dramatic
collapse will likely delay a second rate cut by the central bank. Tentative
dollar support is seen around MXN18.20-MXN18.30. The MXN19.00 area held on the
initial approach, but anecdotal reports suggest the liquidation of the stale
longs has not been completed, suggesting the risk of another test. Int this
context, intervention would give the longs better opportunity to exit. With
less fanfare, it was the Colombian peso that had the dubious honor of being the
poorest performing currency last week slumping almost 5% amid concerns
over fiscal policy. It stabilized ahead of the weekend after the government confirmed it remained committed to the fiscal rule. 



































 


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Source: Week Ahead:  BOE and RBA to Standpat, Political Anxiety Runs High,  Giving the Dollar a Lift