Markets remain in limbo ahead of a potential Greek debt deal although US equities managed to eek out small gains overnight. Stocks in the US have entered a bull market helped by the dovish stance of major central banks.
The Federal Reserve’s commitment to maintain accommodative policy until the end of 2014 and the European Central Bank’s (ECB)3 year LTRO have been drivers of the rally in risk assets. The BoE will contribute to the easy stance of central banks, with an increase in UK quantitative easing set to be announced today. The ECB in contrast is set to remain in status quo.
Will it be a buy on rumour, sell on fact reaction for the EUR to a Greek debt deal? Over recent days anticipation has grown that a deal on debt writedowns and in turn a second bailout package will emerge soon. This has helped to propel EUR/USD higher, with the currency hitting a high of 1.3289 overnight.
So far a deal has been lacking but leaders are expected to approve a draft agreement on fresh austerity measures between the main Greek political parties today. This should pave the way a deal on debt restructuring and a new loan package for the country due to be discussed today between Eurozone finance officials.
However, the EUR has already priced in a lot of good news on this front and even agreements on the issues above may not see the currency push much higher, with strong resistance around EUR/USD 1.3388. Separately today’s ECB meeting is unlikely to provide much direction for the EUR, with the Bank set to maintain current policy settings.
USD/JPY has managed a recovery of sorts but still remains in the middle of multi month 75.5-78.5 range. Nonetheless, the momentum over the short term will continue to be for USD/JPY upside, with resistance around 77.49 targeted. News that the Japanese authorities conducted ‘stealth intervention’ to weaken the JPY in late October/early November will have emboldened JPY bears.
However, at the same time they should also be worried as it is clear that even after all the intervention the JPY remains overly strong. Reflecting this is the fact that speculative and margin trading JPY positioning is at a very high level.
Moreover, while much has been made of the deterioration in Japan’s current account balance over recent months and the potentially negative impact on the JPY it should be noted that Japan’s basic balance (sum of direct investment + current account + portfolio flows) position remains healthy (for now) and is acting as an obstacle to JPY weakness.