The dollar rallied in the second half of last week, but looks set to consolidate first before extending the rally. The yen was not the weakest major currency. That dubious honor goes to the Australian dollar.
The overnight economic data dump started in China, where both exports and imports rose more than expected, at 14.7% and 16.8% respectively, on expectations of a 9.2% and 13% rise. The result was a trade surplus of $18.16 billion versus expectations of $16.15 billion. The only problem with the data is that as always, but especially in the past few months, it continued to be completely made up as SocGen analysts, and others, pointed out. The good data continued into the European trading session, where moments ago German Industrial Production rose 1.2% despite expectations of a -0.1% drop, up from 0.6% and the best print since March 2012. The followed yesterday's better than expected factory orders data, which also came at the best level since October. Whether this data too was made up, remains unknown, but it is clear that Germany will do everything it can to telegraph its economic contraction is not accelerating. It also means that any concerns of an imminent ECB rate cut, or a negative deposit rate, are likely overblown for the time being, as reflected in the kneejerk jump in the EURUSD higher.
A look at the price action in the foreign exchange market and the technical forces in the week ahead.
Overview of the price action in foreign exchange and outlook for the week ahead.
It is one thing for the market to no longer pay attention to economic fundamentals or newsflow (with the exception of newsflow generated by fake tweets of course), but when the mainstream media turns full retard and comes up with headlines such as this: "German Ifo Confidence Declines After Winter Chilled Recovery" to spin the key overnight event, the German IFO Business climate (which dropped from 106.2 to 104.4, missing expectations of 106.2 of course) one just has to laugh. In the artcile we read that "German business confidence fell for a second month in April after winter weather hindered the recovery in Europe’s largest economy... “We still expect there to have been a good rebound in the first quarter, although there is a big question mark about the weather,” said Anatoli Annenkov, senior economist at Societe Generale SA in London." We wonder how long Bloomberg looked for some junior idiot who agreed to be memorialized for posterity with the preceding moronic soundbite because this really is beyond ridiculous (and no, it's not snow in the winter that is causing yet another "swoon" in indicators like the IFO, the ZEW and all other metrics as we patiently explained yesterday so even a 5 year old caveman financial reported would get it).
A few weeks ago, we wrote of the Swiss People's Party's efforts to gain enough signatures to force the Swiss National Bank (SNB), who 'supposedly' guarantees the price stability in Switzerland, to stop selling its gold reserves. This last week, as the FT reports, they reached the required 100,000 signature mark and on Thursday the federal chancellery confirmed Switzerland is to hold a referendum that would ban the central bank from selling its gold reserves, force it to keep at least 20% of its assets in the metal, and repatriate gold reserves held abroad and keep them at home. Following Cyprus' forced sales and discussions of the net wealth in other European peripheral nations, proponents of the Swiss measure flatly reject the idea of sales, arguing that disposals of gold reserves at low prices between 2001 and 2006, as well as more recently, have cost Switzerland billions of Swiss francs. The "Save Our Swiss Franc" initiative proclaims, "today gold is almost the only really valuable asset left on the SNB’s balance sheet." The SNB, however, is concerned at, "the monetary policy implications of the demands in the initiative." A date for the referendum has not yet been set - but the FT notes that previous 'referenda' have taken up to several years from acceptance to actual vote.
Switzerland is the place that has traditionally stood above all the rest in its reputation for financial stability. Why? Because the currency was well-managed, the banking system was sound, and the country had a long tradition of treating capital well. Over the last few years, however, these advantages have collapsed. Just a small handful of countries inspire confidence in the marketplace. And the most popular seems to be Australia. Now, there’s really no such thing as a “good” fiat currency. But given such fundamentals, it’s easy to see why Australia is replacing Switzerland as a global safe haven.
It is the yen, not the dollar, that is the key currency in the foreign exchange market.
The downside technical correction in the dollar that we have been anticipating appears to have begun against most of the major currencies. The drift lower against the yen over the past month has ended, and although we are skpetical of the impact of the stimulative monetary and fiscal policies in Japan, technically it is difficult to resist the momentum for additional yen weakness.
An oveview of the technical condition of the major currencies. Offered as a compliment to macro analysis.
An overview of the technical condition of the major currencies. See why we anticipate a heavier US dollar in the week ahead.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB), which supposedly guarantees price stability in Switzerland, currently holds about 1,040 tons of gold reserves after gradually selling off at least 1,550 tons and now members of the Swiss People's Party, the far-right Swiss Democrats and the Lega dei Ticinesi movement, is confident a nationwide vote will be called (after they gathered 106,000 signatures) on stopping the sale of gold reserves held by the SNB. It also wants gold bars stored in the US to be returned. As Swiss Info reports, the People's Party leader Luzi Stamm comments, "Gold reserves guarantee the stability of the Swiss franc. They ensure that that private savings, salaries, pension keep their value," warning that gold must not be the object of speculation for the SNB or for politicians and demanding the SNB keep a minimum of 20 per cent of its assets in gold, twice the current level. In addition, they want to force the government to disclose where the gold reserves are stored, since "it is only in safe hands if it is kept in Switzerland."
A weekly overview of the technical condition of a number of currencies against the US dollar. It is meant to compliment and supplement fundamental analysis. We retain a mostly favorable outlook for the US dollar, though skeptical of the scope for additional significant gains against the Japanese yen.
Retail investors are piling into the stock market again in the false belief that the worst of the economic crisis is over. Alas, those who are not properly diversified may again be in for a rude awakening.
The US dollar rose to new multi-month highs against several of the major currencies, including the euro, Swiss franc, British pound and the Japanese yen. The BOJ, BOE and ECB meet last week and none changed policy. The Swiss National Bank meets on March 14 and is also unlikely to change policy. The Federal Reserve meets the following week and is widely expected to stay its course. It is not monetary policy then providing the new trading incentives.
Nor can the dollar's gains be attributed to political uncertainty in Europe stemming from the inconclusive Italian elections, as was the case previously. The immediate shock has worn off and Italian stocks and bonds have recovered the lion's share of those initial losses.