Some Respite For The Euro

Following several days in which confidence in Greece’s ability to weather the storm was deteriorating, news that Greece asked for EU/IMF help helped to boost global markets and the EUR.  Meanwhile strengthening economic and earnings news helped to provide an undercurrent of support for markets, which boosted the end week rally in risk appetite.  

A 27% jump in US new home sales in March, a firm durable goods orders report as well better than expected earnings, with around 80% of companies reporting first quarter earnings beating expectations, highlight that US economic recovery is becoming increasingly well entrenched.  This is likely to be confirmed by the release of US Q1 GDP this week, set to register over 3% annualised quarterly growth.  

In Europe the picture is far more divergent, with exporting countries such as Germany doing well as evidenced from surveys such as the IFO and ZEW surveys, but in contrast the club med countries are not doing so well.  The highlights of the data calendar this week are April confidence indicators and the flash reading of Eurozone CPI.  Confidence indicators are likely to reveal some improvement, but despite Friday’s EUR/USD bounce, the data will be insufficient to prevent EUR/USD continue to move lower, with 1.3150 still a firm target over coming weeks.  

The official request for aid from Greece from the EU/IMF begins a new chapter in the long running saga for the country.  Greece will officially detail the amount of aid needed in a letter to the European Commission and European Central Bank who will then decide whether to approve it.  

A few dates to note are the maturing of EUR 8.5 billion in bonds on May 19, the completion of discussion with the IMF, EU and ECB on May 6 and state elections in Germany on May 9, which could throw a spanner in any financial support from Germany for Greece.   Meanwhile Greek unions are threatening further strikes to protest against austerity measures that Greece needs to carry out to win any aid package.   

Aside from Greece, attention will continue to be focussed on earnings but the main event of the week will be the Fed FOMC meeting on 27/28 April. Whilst a no change outcome is highly likely, with interest rates set to be left at between 0-0.25%, there will be plenty of attention on whether the Fed removes the comment that policy rates will remain low for an “extended period”. If the comment is removed the statement will be taken in somewhat of a hawkish context, which would boost the USD.

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