USD bounces back, JPY to strengthen, AUD rallies

To put it mildly there was plenty of volatility in the wake of the US elections. Equities reacted badly as the prospects of higher taxes as part of a solution to resolving the fiscal cliff in the US came back into the frame. worries outweighed any positive impact from the potential for Fed QE to continue in its current form without the risk of being curtailed by Republican President.

Poor data out of Europe contributed to the market malaise as the growth trajectory into Q4 continued to worsen. The passage of Greek austerity measures through parliament failed to undo the damage. German industrial production fell sharply, down 1.8% MoM while downward growth revisions / upward deficit revisions from the European Commission dealt another blow to sentiment.

Growing pressure on the German economy may at the least prompt a more dovish stance at the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting today while the Bank of England (BoE) is set to increase its asset purchases today although it will be a close call on this front.

The USD came under pressure in the immediate aftermath of US President Obama’s victory. However, it didn’t take long for the usual higher risk aversion, stronger USD relationship to kick in, with the USD subsequently reversing all its losses and more. With elections out of the way markets are waking up to the reality of the considerable challenge ahead in resolving the fiscal cliff. Risk assets clearly don’t like what they see.

As only September US trade data and November Michigan confidence are left on the US calendar this week risk gyrations will continue to drive the USD though I suspect that gains will be restricted in the wake of lower US bond yields.

Most currencies except the JPY took advantage of a weaker USD but finally USD/JPY dropped on the back of the jump in risk aversion. The drop in US bond yields and the output of my quantitative models both suggest that the JPY should be firmer against the USD. The recently more aggressive stance of the Bank of Japan taken together with warnings of FX intervention may be helping to keep the JPY on the back foot, however.

Given that speculative JPY positioning has turned negative over recent weeks the BoJ’s stance maybe having some impact in shifting FX expectations especially as it has fuelled some portfolio outflows from Japan over recent weeks. Nonetheless, it won’t take long for JPY bears to become frustrated with the lack of downside traction in the currency, with USD/JPY subsequently set to edge back towards the 79.00 level

Stronger than expected Australian jobs numbers helped to boost the AUD this morning. Jobs were up 18.7k in October much more than consensus. Even better was the details of the report, with full time jobs up 18.7k and part time down 8k. The unemployment rate was at 5.4%, lower than expected. Overall, a solid report and in stark contrast to NZ jobs data this morning. The data will certainly give more juice to AUD/NZD and corresponds with my quant models looking for NZD downside and AUD resilience. The data will also likely dampen further expectations of another rate cut by the RBA in December which in any case looks like a close call.

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