EUR Supported, AUD dives, NZD jumps

Today is probably not the best day to sell EUR given that the ECB policy decision looms on the horizon. Whilst there is a risk of a ‘buy on rumour, sell on fact’ impact on the EUR following the European Central Bank (ECB) decision later today the relatively high probability that the ECB flags a rate hike in July will likely give further support to the EUR especially as it is not fully priced in by the market.

Of course should ECB President Trichet fail to mention “strong vigilance” in his press conference the EUR could suffer but this is likely to be a lower probability event. Some justification for higher rates will come from an upward revision in the ECB’s inflation forecasts. Consequently EUR/USD looks well supported around 1.4450.

The Bank of England is unlikely to deliver any surprises today, with an unchanged policy rate outcome and asset purchases target likely. The outcome will keep GBP restrained versus USD but given the likely contrast with the ECB, EUR/GBP could head higher as the currency pair continues to set its sights on the 0.90 level.

Even against the USD, GBP is unlikely to extend its gains, with 1.6474 likely providing a near term technical cap. The dichotomy of weaker activity and higher inflation is clearly causing a problem for policy makers but we still believe a rate hike is likely later in the year. In the meantime GBP remains vulnerable to further data disappointments over coming weeks.

There was more bad news for the AUD today in the form of a weak than forecast May employment report. The data will reinforce expectations that the RBA will not hike interest rates over coming months, with July and August effectively ruled out, though a hike in September remains probable.

The data had major impact on AUD which dropped sharply below the 1.0600 handle versus USD. Clearly the combination of the RBA statement and weak jobs data has resulted in a major headwind against further near term AUD appreciation. AUD will remain under downward pressure in the short-term, with technical support seen at 1.0440.

Unlike the RBA the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) opened the door for higher interest rates following its unchanged policy decision today, with the Bank stating that “a gradual increase in the overnight cash rate over the next two years will be required”. Despite noting some caution about the strength of the NZD and its impact on the economy the Kiwi strengthened versus the USD

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