Euro gives up its gains, GBP tracks lower

Although attention may briefly turn to the Fed FOMC outcome tomorrow the lack of progress to resolve’s Europe’s crisis threatens to inflict much more severe damage onto global markets. Against this background the European summit at the end of the week will be particularly important but the scope for disappointment remains high.

As with news of Spain’s banking bailout the positive EUR reaction to the Greek elections has faded even more quickly than I anticipated. EUR/USD’s inability to build on gains above 1.2700 despite extreme short market positioning, highlights the lack of confidence in resolving the crisis. EUR/USD appears to be increasingly following the moves in peripheral bond spreads and the news here is not good either especially in Spain, with spreads continuing to widen out.

The G20 communiqué offered no support to the EUR, with little by way of concrete measures while Germany continues to stick to its stance of no renegotiation of Greece’s bailout terms. The EU finance ministers summit in a couple of days time may provide some relief but only if concrete measures are outlined. In the meantime EUR/USD will continue to remain under pressure. As noted yesterday, I look for a test of EUR/USD 1.2515 which could happen as early as today.

Considering that the prospects of a further round of Bank Of England quantitative easing has grown as hinted at by BoE Governor King, GBP has shown some resilience. Indeed, it is not clear that GBP will weaken if and when the BoE expands its balance sheet again. My analysis reveals that the reaction of GBP has been mixed both to the announcement and implementation of asset purchases.

Inflation data will provide some clues to the room for further monetary stimulus while the minutes of the last MPC meeting two weeks ago will provide some inkling of the support within the Committee for fresh QE. CPI is likely edge higher but this will be due to seasonal factors, while the minutes will likely reveal two dissenters.

GBP meanwhile, will continue to track the EUR with the currency pair trading in a 0.80-0.81 range. EUR’s drop overnight has taken the wind out of GBP’s sails, but strong technical support will be found around GBP/USD 1.5601.

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