Equities continued their bounce back overnight helped by a reiteration from Fed officials that US monetary policy will remain highly accommodative through late 2014. Risk assets overcame a weaker than expected report on US jobless claims, with a smaller than expected trade deficit in February ($46 billion) helping sentiment. The launch of a North Korean missile which apparently failed did little to dent sentiment. Nonetheless, Spanish concerns continue to weigh on its markets, bucking the trend of improvement elsewhere.
Today’s data slate has little in terms of first tier data on tap, with inflation releases in Europe and the US in focus. The bigger influence will be a slate of Chinese data including Q1 GDP. The market has already priced in a good number (around 9% YOY) and therefore there is a risk of disappointment, which could hit risk assets. Also watch out for earnings from US financials including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo. So far US earnings have been positive, although admittedly its early days yet.
Downward pressure on EUR/USD has lessened for the time being and any further decline will be limited in the short term. While it is evident that the boost to markets provided by the European Central Bank’s Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) has faded, EUR bears have been dealt a blow from renewed prospects of securities market purchases.
Italy’s debt auction yesterday provided little help to the EUR but at least it was not cause of further selling pressure. Concerns about Spain continue but any further downside pressure on EUR/USD will be restricted to technical support around the 1.3004 level (March 15 low), with EUR/USD set to remain in a 1.30-1.32 range.
JPY has pulled back sharply against the USD over the past month as I repeatedly warned. But before I blow my own trumpet any further I would note that further downside risks to USD/JPY remain in place although the room is now more limited than in previous weeks. According to my quantitative model a drop to around 79.00 is likely to mark a low in USD/JPY.
Warnings by the Bank of Japan of more “powerful” monetary easing have helped to prevent further JPY strengthening over recent sessions. However, a renewed narrowing in the US 2-year bond yield advantage over Japan will likely limit any upside for USD/JPY as reflected in the extremely strong correlation between USD/JPY and yield differentials over the past 3-months.