Fade gains in the euro

The USD’s drop over recent days has almost wiped out half its rally since October 17. Only the JPY has lost ground over this period. More modest weakness is in prospect for the USD in the short term although I do not look for the currency to drop sharply. Given their strong correlations with the USD index any decline will bode well for EUR, GBP, SEK, CHF, CAD and several emerging market currencies.

Most commentators are ascribing USD weakness to the improving risk appetite but the USD index has maintained a low sensitivity to my risk aversion barometer, suggesting that the relationship is tenuous at present. The reality is that there is probably a bout a profit taking rather than any major shift in USD sentiment and this is set to continue for the time being.

EUR/USD’s impressive resilience over recent weeks highlights the hurdles to anyone wanting to short the currency. Underling EUR support remains firm as reflected in the recent turnaround in the Eurozone basic balance position (direct investment + portfolio flows + current account) while there may also be an element of FX reserves recycling flows providing support of the EUR.

Additionally the market has been giving Eurozone officials the benefit of the doubt with regard to a Greek debt sustainability solution and the lacklustre reaction of the EUR following the Greek deal this morning highlights that much was already priced in. The deal which effectively lowers interest rates that Greece has to pay on its debt while giving it more time to pay the debt paves the way for a EUR 34.4 billion loan tranche in December.

Finally, the threat of ECB Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) activation continues to threaten to provide a major back stop to any EUR pressure. At current levels the upside for the EUR looks far less compelling. I suggest taking profits / fading the rally on any test of resistance around EUR/USD 1.3030 and EUR/GBP 0.8120.

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