US dollar on the rise

Risk aversion is on the rise as uncertainties about Greece and worries about weaker economic data weigh on sentiment. A number of key events rather than data will be the main drivers this week. First and foremost amongst these is the vote in the Greek parliament on the country’s budget reform plan, which if passed will pave the way for the way for a disbursement of EUR 12 billion from the European Union / IMF and a new bailout package.

Meanwhile in the US talks on raising the debt ceiling are likely to resume in earnest, with the market likely to become increasingly nervous about the lack of resolution on the issue. Nonetheless, it is Europe that will dominate the headlines and on this front even if the reform plan is passed any market relief is likely to be limited given the ongoing uncertainty about private sector participation in any Greek debt roll over. This suggests that the EUR will remain under pressure over the week despite reassuring comments from Chinese Premier Wen.

Data releases will be relegated to background noise but what there is will not help sentiment. Signs of slowing activity remain evident as revealed in disappointing eurozone manufacturing surveys last week and this will be echoed in the US ISM manufacturing survey at the end of this week. Economic sentiment gauges in Europe are also set to reveal a decline. Given the lack of ammunition and/or unwillingness to risk using further stimulus from the Fed, the sensitivity of markets to weak data will be high, keeping risk aversion elevated.

Indeed, although well flagged the end of the Fed’s QE2 this week will mark a major shift in market dynamics, especially in currency markets where the USD will finally see a massive weight lifted from its shoulders. As indicated by Fed Chairman Bernanke following the FOMC meeting the Fed is not considering a further round of asset purchases, a fact that will help the USD to find firmer support.

Notably the USD index moved has above its 100-day moving average providing a positive technical signal given that it has failed on its last two attempts. The USD index now looks set to break its April high around 76.610.

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