Growth fears intensify

A bad day for risk assets yesterday threatens to extend further. Weaker than forecast data releases in China and the US weighed heavily on market sentiment supporting the theory that the global economy is repeating the pattern of Q1 strength followed by weakness over the remainder of the year. Growth worries helped to exacerbate the fall in gold prices with the precious metal dropping by 15.5% this month alone while dragging down other commodity prices.

There are plenty of data releases today including CPI inflation in the US, Eurozone and UK as well as the German ZEW investor confidence survey, US industrial production and housing starts. Given market sensitivity to weak data any disappointment will reinforce the risk off tone but this seems unlikely as the data in general is likely to be somewhat better.

AUD was thumped by weaker Chinese data releases and a deterioration in risk appetite. Although the drop has been steep over recent days AUD is unlikely to fall much further, with plenty of appetite for the currency around 1.0300. Nonetheless, AUD/USD has dropped below its 100 day moving average level 1.0414 a breach of which threatens to mark a stronger down move.

For those investors wanting to re-enter long AUD positions I prefer to play the currency on the crosses, especially versus NZD which has also suffered recently. My quantitative model of AUD/NZD suggests some upside scope in the currency pair, with short term fair value seen around 1.24.

USD/JPY’s pull back has extended further as Bank of Japan governor Kuroda’s policy announcement effect has faded and risk aversion has picked up. I look for any slippage in USD/JPY to be limited however, with my quantitative model suggesting that short term fair value for USD/JPY is around 95.68. The currency pair has been undermined by the drop in US Treasury yields over recent weeks resulting in a reduced US yield advantage over Japan.

Moreover, the upcoming G20 meeting this week has also provoked some hesitancy among JPY bears given expected comments aimed at Japan not to engineer a competitive devaluation of its currency. Technical indicators suggest that the primary trend remains higher for USD/JPY, with a break below 96.07 required to signal a change in short term trend.

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