Euro grinding lower as officials talk about Greek exit

The week begins in sour mood although notably Asian market pressure was limited even in the face of ongoing Eurozone tensions. China’s cut in its RRR over the weekend helped to limit the damage to markets but there are still plenty of negatives to chew on. Notably European officials are openly discussing and even preparing for the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro, an outcome that has grown in probability as fresh elections loom in Greece.

FX markets have finally awoken from their stupor, with a spike in volatility and moves out of long worn ranges registered. The USD has extended its upward trajectory that began in this cycle on 27th April. The rally looks strong and sustainable but is built largely on the fact that the USD looks less ugly than some other currencies rather than on positive US economic developments.

Admittedly US recovery is taking shape but the data is not sufficiently strong to erase expectations of further Fed quantitative easing, a factor that will limit the ability of the USD to capitalise on weakness elsewhere. Data over coming days will not help to provide much clarity on the issues, with April retail sales likely to be soft and the Fed FOMC minutes unlikely to deliver much new information. Even so, risk aversion is intensifying, providing the USD with firm support, suggesting that the USD will continue to edge higher over coming days.

The EUR in particular has sustained a drop below the psychologically important 1.30 level, spelling more downside risks. Greek politics and the potential for fresh elections remain at the forefront of attention. A small amount of relief on upcoming Greek bond redemptions following the EU’s deliverance of EUR 4.2 billion funds will not be sufficient to offset political worries.

EUR will also find direction from the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers meeting today who aside from Greek issues will also discuss the Spanish banking sector. Meanwhile, a meeting between French President and Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel will have the potential to move markets but the chances of a breakthrough on any fresh deal is limited.

Data releases will confirm Eurozone recession while the May German ZEW investor confidence survey is set to record a decline. All of this will not bode well for the EUR, with the currency set to grind lower over coming sessions. EUR/USD 1.2852 will be a crucial support level, a break of which will see EUR slide much further.


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