Asian currencies running into resistance

As the US Q3 earnings season gets underway caution is prevailing as reflected in the losses in US and European equity markets overnight. The VIX jumped as risk aversion increased in the wake of lower revised growth estimates from the IMF and worries that earnings will be far less flattering than in previous quarters. Nonetheless, stronger than forecast earnings from Alcoa helped to kick of the earnings season in positive mode.

In Europe the visit by Chancellor Merkel to Athens was accompanied by reassuring statements from the German leader but this was to little avail as demonstrations in the Greek capital continued. Reports that lenders are discussing extending Greece’s bailout program by two years may provide some relief, however.

Spain remains the major focal point and in this regard there is no progress in the country moving forward with a bailout request much to the chagrin of peripheral debt markets and the EUR. There are few data releases of interest today of which the Fed’s Beige Book will be the main highlight. The market tone will continue to remain cautious but we don’t expect a major relapse in risk appetite.

The USD continues to make good headway in an environment of higher risk aversion, as the USD index continues to maintain a strong correlation with risk. We see little reason for this to reverse although EUR/USD may run into some support around the 1.2824 area. Our preferred crosses include playing short EUR/AUD given that our model indicators show that AUD is oversold at current levels.

Asian currencies will run into some resistance against the background of a firmer USD and the ADXY index is struggling to break higher. The PHP and THB have been the major outperformers so far this month, with most other Asian currencies have weakening.

India has been the biggest beneficiary of renewed portfolio flows to the region, unsurprising in the wake of recent reform announcements registering around $1.3 billion of equity flows month to date. USD/KRW looks like it will struggle to break below 1110 having failed on its attempts to break through this level. Equity capital inflows to Asia are on par with the inflows registered in 2009 and 2010.

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