USD edges higher

There appears to be some prevarication over possible military strikes on Syria resulting in less angst in markets over an imminent strike. Consequently risk appetite edged higher overnight while US Treasury yields also rose. Potential military strikes have also led to firming oil prices. Pressure on vulnerable emerging market assets has continued unabated however, with tapering worries and domestic vulnerabilities resulting in ongoing capital outflows.

In Asia the INR and IDR remain under considerable pressure. However, INR forwards recovered somewhat overnight and the spot rate strengthened in the wake of the introduction of a forex swap window for Indian oil firms. The measure will help to alleviate some of the demand/supply pressures for USDs but is however, unlikely to arrest the decline in the INR for long. In Indonesia the central bank may increase policy rates by 50bps today which ought to help the IDR in the short term.

The USD gained a little ground as US yields rose. The USD may benefit as markets fret about possible military action against Syria resulting in an attendant rise in risk aversion. Nonetheless, a series of negative data surprises over recent days contrasting with positive surprises in Europe leaves the USD rather vulnerable against major currencies. In contrast the USD is set to continue to remain firm against many emerging market currencies given the ongoing outflow of capital in the wake of higher US yields and tapering fears.

AUD’s tentative recovery in early August has proven to be an abject failure. Like many other high beta currencies AUD has suffered as risk aversion has intensified recently. Additionally speculation of further policy easing has also dampened the AUD. Consequently speculative sentiment remains weak. In reality, further rate cuts may depend on whether the AUD can rally following an over 15% fall since April. Any failure for the AUD to gain ground may stay the hand of the RBA. Although it has found some support today, further downside pressure is likely with a breach of the 5 August low at 0.8848 expected.

GBP underwent some volatility in the wake of BoE governor Carney’s speech. Initial weakness was bought into as shorts were covered however, leaving the currency back where it started. Carney’s speech was interpreted as dovish, with the governor noting that the BoE was read to loosen policy if higher market rates impacted the economy. Nonetheless, there was little immediate implication for policy. Overall GBP is likely to be constrained around resistance at 1.5590, with gains limited ahead of the BoE policy meeting next week.


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