The USD remains a clear beneficiary in the ‘risk off’ environment enveloping markets at present. Indeed as reflected in the latest jump in USD (IMM) speculative positioning the market is turning increasingly to the USD at a time of intense stress. Moreover, the run of better economic data over recent weeks including October existing home sales yesterday points to less need for further Fed quantitative easing, which comes as further relief to the USD.
Further information on this front will be revealed in the Federal Reserve FOMC minutes on Wednesday, with the Fed set to keep the option open. Even the lack of agreement by the US Congressional Supercommittee on a deal to cut the US budget deficit by $1.2 trillion has failed to dent the USD’s progress as the failure of deficit talks was largely expected. Further USD gains are likely but the pace of its upside move will slow.
Although sentiment towards the Eurozone has deteriorated further EUR/USD is just about clinging onto the 1.3500 level despite several forays lower. More active European Central Bank (ECB) bond buying likely helped dampen some bearishness on the currency although reports suggest that the central bank has imposed a limit of EUR 20 billion on such purchases.
The EUR is not being helped however, by ongoing rumblings of a EUR break up despite Greek Prime Minister Papademos attempting to downplay talk of a Greek EUR exit. A meeting today between Italian Prime Minister Monti and EU officials will be in focus, with markets looking to see further signs of commitment to reforms. We expect no let up in pressure on the EUR, though further declines are likely to be slower, with last week’s low around 1.3420 providing short term support.
GPB has been an underperformer, with the currency on the path for a re-test of the 6 October low around 1.5272. News this week will not be helpful for the currency, with potentially dovish Bank of England monetary policy committee (MPC) minutes likely to inflict further damage, with support from the MPC for more QE set to be revealed.
Ahead of the minutes, UK public finances data today will not make for attractive reading just over a week away from UK Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn statement, which will likely reveal a downward revision to growth forecasts and an upward revision to deficit forecasts. GBP has even lost ground against the beleaguered EUR although we continue to believe that the overall trend will continue to be lower for EUR/GBP over coming weeks.