With everyone scrambling to buy into the bathsalts rally, and shorts rushing to cover with a panic bordering on a QE-announcement, it is somewhat ironic that today's voice of muted reason comes from none other than Liebor expert extraordinaire: Barclays, whose suggestion is simple: lock your profits: "We remain bearish on EURUSD, expecting it to grind slowly down to 1.15 over the next 12 months. We therefore suggest investors look to fade this morning's European currency strength versus the USD and non European commodity currencies such as the AUD and CAD." Why? They have their listed reasons. The unlisted ones are the same that every other bank has for becoming bearish recently (we have recently listed Citi, Goldman, SocGen and DB to name but a few): for a real fiscal and monetary policy intervention to take place (i.e., a rescue package that lasts at least a few months, as opposed to today's several day max rally): the market has to be tumbling. That, as we have explained repeatedly, is the only way to get a powerful response. Everything else is (quarter end) window dressing.
EUR: EU Summit is not a game-changer for the EUR
Very little progress, if any, on short-term measures was expected from this week's EU summit. However, the conclusions, so far, have exceeded expectations. Risk has rallied as a result. We expect the general improvement in sentiment to have legs because the measures announced tackle the dislocation in the banking sector. Also, later today further agreements on the roadmap towards fiscal integration are possible. We suggest investors remain long cyclical, non European currencies, such as the AUD versus the USD.
However, the news overnight is not a game changer for the EUR. The agreement to allow Spanish banks to be directly recapitalised from the ESM is conditional on a single supervisor for euro are banks being established. This is not expected until the latter half of this year. In the interim, aid to Spanish banks will continue to inflate Spanish sovereign debt levels. In addition, headlines this morning have already started to water down the other conclusions reached. For example, the agreement to deny seniority to ESM resources used to recapitalise banks has been limited to Spain and there is no agreement over the seniority of EFSF resources. Similarly, Mrs. Merkel's comments that "countries must fulfil conditions for bond-buying programmes that Troika must check" suggest the agreement on how to implement the conclusions reached is not as strong as headlines initially suggested.
As a result we expect investors to remain cautious. This will keep the risk premium on the EUR elevated. Moreover, euro area growth is very weak and structural change takes time. We continue to expect the ECB to keep monetary policy very loose for some time and to cut rates by 50bp next week, a move which is not fully priced in by the market. We remain bearish on EURUSD, expecting it to grind slowly down to 1.15 over the next 12 months. We therefore suggest investors look to fade this morning's European currency strength versus the USD and non European commodity currencies such as the AUD and CAD.