Contest of the uglies

Although there is plenty of event risk in the form of the Greek confidence motion today market sentiment has taken a turn for the better as a ‘risk on’ mood has filtered through. There was little justification in the turn in sentiment aside from some reassuring comments from the EU’s Juncker but clearly markets are hoping for the best.

The contest of the ugly currencies continues and recently the EUR is running neck and neck with the USD. News that a final decision on a further tranche of aid for Greece and a second bailout package will not take place until early July was not digested well by European markets, although EUR/USD managed to show its resilience once again overnight.

EUR/USD looks like it will settle into a range over the short-term, with support around the 100 day moving average of 1.4170 and resistance around the 15 June high of 1.4451. A weak German June ZEW investor confidence survey may result in the EUR facing some resistance but the data is likely to be overshadowed by events in Greece.

Although Greece continues to dominate the headlines, the looming Fed FOMC meeting and press briefing tomorrow may just keep USD bulls in check especially given the likelihood of downward growth revisions by the Fed and no change in policy settings. Ahead of this news on the housing market is likely to remain bleak, with a likely drop in May existing home sales as indicated by pending home sales data.

USD/JPY continues to flirt with the 80 level but as yet it has failed to sustain a breach below this level. Contrary to speculation the JPY is not particularly reactive to risk aversion at present but instead continues to be driven higher by narrowing US – Japan bond yield differentials. This is pretty much all due to declining US Treasury yields rather than any increase in Japanese bond (JGB) yields.

However, while Japanese officials continue to back off the idea of FX intervention, even at current levels, data releases such as the May trade balance yesterday continue to build a strong case for weakening the JPY. Even economy minister Yosano sounded worried on the trade front in his comments yesterday. Despite such concerns, it will take a renewed widening in bond yield differentials to result in renewed JPY weakness which will need an improvement in US data to be forthcoming.

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