Bernanke eyed for QE clues

Range trading is likely to dominate. However, the news flow remains negative, with disappointing retail sales data in the US combined with more the decision by the German constitutional court to delay its decision on the ESM bailout fund until September 12, highlighting the lack of potential for any rally in risk assets in the near term.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided markets with a further dose of caution, with its warning that risks to global growth “loom large” as it cut its forecasts for global growth. Pressure on policy makers to provide more stimulus will grow, but the room for and efficacy of such stimulus is questionable.

The weaker than expected June US retail sales report released yesterday has resulted in fuelling expectations that Fed Chairman Bernanke will announce a shift towards more quantitative easing later today. Consequently the USD has come under pressure losing ground so far this week.

While the USD is set to be restrained ahead of Bernanke’s speech to the Senate we do not believe he will announce a change in stance. Therefore, any USD weakness is likely to prove temporary in the short term. The inability of risk appetite to improve further and the ongoing uncertainties in the Eurozone reinforce the view that the USD’s downside will be limited.

Today’s US releases are likely to reveal gains in June industrial production, and a likely strengthening in long term capital flows in May, factors that will help to provide the USD with further support.

Although the EUR has bounced this week data today will only serve to reinforce its overall downward trajectory. The July German ZEW survey is set to decline further. The range of forecasts for this volatile survey is wide between -10 to -30, with our forecast towards the lower end.

The plethora of negative news in terms of policy progress continues to dampen sentiment and hamper the EUR’s ability to recover. Whether its persistent downgrades of economic growth across Eurozone countries, stalling of reforms and austerity plans, or delays in implementing agreed upon measures, the news is unambiguously bad.

Dashed hopes of progress towards finding and implementing solutions have led to a renewed deterioration in speculative appetite for EUR. Although the potential for short covering remains high, the trigger for any short covering is decidedly absent. We maintain the view that EUR/USD will test 1.2000 over coming weeks.

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