EUR rallies, AUD and CAD eye rate meetings

Some consolidation and even slightly more upbeat tone have helped risks assets to settle and the outlook today is for more of the same. The respite looks temporary unless followed by concrete measures out of the Eurozone to stem the crisis, however. Attention will focus on today’s emergency teleconference between G7 leaders in which they are expected to put more pressure on European leaders to act.

However, continuing stalemate in Europe, with Spain’s push for an injection of funds from the Eurozone bailout fund into its banks facing resistance from Germany who believe that any funding should come as part of a formal bailout package. Despite the lack of traction in Europe, the EUR has managed to eek out further gains, with the rebound from the lows around 1.2287 versus USD gaining traction. Near term resistance is seen around 1.2625.

There has been a change of heart by many ahead of today’s Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting. Weaker global data in particular in China, with both the manufacturing and non manufacturing purchasing managers indices (PMI) coming in weaker than expected, have added to worries about the path of the Australian economy.

Taken together with some deterioration in Australian money market conditions, weaker commodity prices and growing European contagion risks, the RBA will probably want to shield the domestic economy, with another 25bps rate cut. Talk of a 50bps easing today has done the rounds but this seems excessive given that it would fall hot on the heels of 50bps rate cut at the beginning of May.

The AUD has priced in some easing and a likely 25bps rate cut is unlikely to put much pressure on the currency but much will depend on the accompanying statement. In any case, downside risks remain in the current environment.

The Bank of Canada also meets today to decide on its policy rate settings. Unlike in Australia there has been no change of heart ahead of the meeting, with the BoC set to keep its policy rate on hold at 1%. The central bank has sounded more upbeat than most and the drop in the CAD over recent weeks has in any case acted to loosen monetary conditions.

Although somewhat resilient compared to its commodity counterparts such as AUD and NZD, the CAD is playing catch up, having been the worst performing currency so far this month. Speculative positioning has drifted lower too, although it is still close its three month average. This implies room for a further reduction in long positions as the CAD fails to outperform.

Recent weakness in US economic data highlights the risks ahead for Canada and the CAD, suggesting that investors will continue to take a cautious tone towards the currency over coming weeks. A more neutral statement from the BoC will likely keep CAD sentiment subdued.

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