Greece is never far from the headlines and the big news over the weekend was once again centred on this small (in terms of economy size) eurozone Country, with the agreement by Eurozone members to provide up to EUR 30 billion in loans to Greece. This will be supplemented by additional contributions from the IMF to the tune of around EUR 15 billion. The rate of around 5% for the three-year fixed loan is well below that yielding on Greek debt but above the International Monetary Fund (IMF) standard lending rate. In other words, the terms of the loan are far more favourable than they would currently face in the market.
After weeks of haggling the decision to detail the amount and terms of a loan for Greece will help reassure markets and likely result in a narrowing in Greek spreads over the near term. Further details will be finalised early in the week including conditions imposed on Greece as well as the exact amount of the IMF contribution but the real test of confidence will be the reception to Greece’s EUR 1.2 billion sale of 3 and 6-month paper at the beginning of the week.
Markets were already embarking on a short covering exercise in EUR/USD early last week according to the latest CFTC IMM report which showed a reduction in net EUR short speculative positions. As a result of the weekend’s agreement the EUR looks set to consolidate its gains into the beginning of this week. Further out, there are still plenty of risks ahead and sellers are likely to emerge around EUR/USD resistance at 1.3696.
Data releases this week will be conducive to maintaining further support for risk appetite whilst shoring up recovery expectations. In particular US March retail sales are set to jump on the back of strong autos spending (consensus 1.2% monthly gain). March industrial production is also likely to record a healthy reading (consensus 0.7% month-on-month), whilst gains in both manufacturing (Empire manufacturing and Philadelphia Fed) and consumer confidence (Michigan confidence) for April are likely.
There will also be plenty of attention on Chinese data this week with a plethora of releases over coming days including FX reserves, GDP, loans data, inflation, retail sales and industrial production. In short, the data will continue to reveal a robust economic performance, which will be good for risk appetite and Asian currencies, but will also add to the pressure to revalue the Chinese currency, CNY, soon.
The USD impact will depend on whether the market reacts to firmer risk appetite or signs of stronger US growth. I suspect the former will apply for now, likely keeping the USD on the back foot early in the week. The main beneficiaries include risk currencies such as AUD, NZD and CAD as well as most Asian currencies. AUD/USD is set to target technical resistance around 0.9407 whilst NZD/USD will set its sights on resistance around 0.7252 over the next few days.