Bond and equity selling has been sustained as worries both about Federal Reserve tapering and liquidity in China’s banking sector continues to roil markets. Fed comments overnight did little to soothe market angst, with the Fed’s Fisher and Kocherlakota both revealing little concern about the market reaction to prospects of Fed tapering. However, both Fed officials were keen to point out that policy will remain accommodative even after the end of quantitative easing which helped to allay some of the pain on markets in overnight trading.
Reinforcing market volatility is the approach of month and quarter end. Several other Fed speakers will be on tap over coming days while 2, 5 and 7 year Treasury auctions will also be under scrutiny but ahead of the speeches and auctions markets will look to today’s US data releases including May durable goods orders, June consumer confidence and May new home sales for further direction.
EUR/USD failed to get much of lift from the rise in the German IFO business confidence survey in June and looks set to extend declines over coming sessions. Despite its drop from its high around 1.3420 EUR/USD has not been particularly sensitive to higher US yields over recent weeks but this may be changing. As revealed in the latest CFTC IMM report net speculative positioning in EUR/USD became positive for the first time in four months.
Now that the room for EUR short covering has disappeared EUR’s sensitivity to yield is likely to grow. The fact that the 10 year US Treasury yield differential with bunds has widened sharply will be difficult for EUR/USD to ignore, with attendant negative consequences for the currency. The lack of key Eurozone data releases over coming days will leave the EUR/USD increasingly at the mercy of US yield movements.
Another currency having to deal with a relatively thin data slate is GBP. Only the government’s Spending Review, Bank of England Financial Stability Report and second estimate of Q1 GDP are scheduled for release this week but none of these are likely to prove to be market movers. Having been hit by a firmer USD, GBP/USD has fallen well off its recent highs around 1.5752. On the crosses GBP looks a little healthier but is notably failing to make any headway against the EUR.
While the USD has rallied on higher US yields markets are not looking for a similar policy moves in the UK, especially given that some BoE MPC members are still inclined to increase asset purchases. Indeed, the recent rise in UK gilt yields may embolden the doves on the MPC. Although net speculative short GBP positions have not fully evaporated, the room for GBP upside is now very limited, with a firm USD in general set to continue to push GBP lower.