Respite for Asian currencies

Pressure on policymakers in developed economies to orchestrate more predictable exits from unconventional monetary policies has intensified as reflected in comments at the Jackson Hole symposium the wake of the intense volatility in emerging market assets over recent weeks. While it is unlikely that a crisis is looming there is no doubt that mixed messages and lack of clarity over exit policies is having a demonstrable impact on EM assets.

Such clarity is unlikely to come this week. However, a pull back in core bond yields from recent highs will likely contribute to a calmer tone to markets at the turn of the week and some further near retracement in a positive direction for risk assets. Whether this lasts will depend on the clarity of the message from central bankers and in this respect speeches by four Fed officials over coming days, ECB’s Weidmann today and BoE governer Carney on Wednesday, will be scrtutinized.

The data slate is not particularly heavy but looks skewed towards relatively more positive Eurozone releases. In the US a likely drop in July durable goods orders today and pull back in consumer confidence tomorrow will provide little support to US asset markets including the USD while the trend of positive data surprises in Europe including likely gains in August economic sentiment indices and German IFO will add further evidence that growth will turn positive in Q3.

In Japan labor market data will reveal relative strength, with a low unemployment rate, helping to support the consumer. Inflation is set to rise further too, suggesting that policy measures are garnering some success. However, the upward trend in inflation is by no means guaranteed and ultimately renewed aggressiveness on the JPY will be needed as inflation tops out.

How will this leave currency markets? The USD is likely to continue to fare poorly against the EUR and GBP especially given the less than impressive data releases expected this week while the JPY is likely to remain on the back foot, pressured in part by firmer risk tone.

On the Asian currency front, further short term retracement is likely, especially for those currencies that have been beat up the most, namely INR and IDR. However, gains will likely prove limited, with tapering concerns and capital outflows showing little sign of reversing. Additionally, a likely disappointing Q2 GDP release in India at the end of the week will be unhelpful for the INR.

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