FX market outlook

FX market outlook

Posted on Wednesday, April 25 2018 at 8:46 am GMT+0000

Dollar hovers near 4-month highs; raft of corporate earnings due

Here are the latest developments in global markets:

  • FOREX: The US dollar index is 0.2% higher today, hovering just below its four-month high posted earlier in the week, as the continued rise in longer-term US bond yields has breathe some life back into the world’s reserve currency. Both the aussie and the kiwi are 0.45% lower against the greenback, extending recent losses.
  • STOCKS: US markets stumbled on Tuesday, pressured by concerns around rising borrowing costs, as well as discouraging signals from the industrial and technology sectors. The Dow Jones fell 1.74%, dragged lower by Caterpillar (-6.2%), whose CFO hinted the first quarter was probably the firm’s best for the year. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.7% as FANG shares (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google-parent Alphabet) all dropped by more than 3.5%. The S&P 500 tumbled by 1.34%. Futures tracking the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq 100 are all flashing red. Asian indices were a sea of red as well. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 and the Topix edge down by 0.28% and 0.11% respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng pulled back by 1.09%. In Europe, futures tracking all the major benchmarks were in negative territory, pointing to a lower open.
  • COMMODITIES:  Oil prices are practically unchanged on Wednesday, after retreating yesterday on the back of the broader sell-off in equity markets and a surprising build in the private API crude inventory data. Today, focus will likely turn to the release of the official EIA weekly stockpile data, though any major shifts in risk appetite also have the capacity to drive oil prices. In precious metals, gold is more than 0.4% lower today, currently trading near the $1323 mark. The yellow metal has struggled in recent days, as the rebound in the greenback is keeping a lid on any material advances in gold. With gold being denominated in dollars, an appreciation in the US currency makes the metal less attractive to investors using foreign currencies, thereby curbing its demand.

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Major movers: Dollar index hovers near 4-month highs, no reprieve for antipodeans

The dollar index is 0.2% on Wednesday, staying elevated near the four-month high of 91.10 it posted on Monday, supported by sustained advances in US Treasury yields. Earlier today, the yields on 10-year Treasuries broke above the widely touted 3.0% psychological level, and have remained above it since. Higher US bond yields tend to lift the dollar, as they induce investors to increase their exposure to that currency. It will be most interesting to see whether the dollar index can break above the 91.10 zone soon, as that is the upper bound of the sideways it has been trading since mid-January, and a move above it would turn the technical picture to cautiously positive.

Meanwhile, US stocks suffered as bond yields rose. Rising yields typically weigh on demand equities, as bonds become more attractive to hold relative to stocks. The fact that the borrowing costs of companies rise as well, diminishing their ability to buy back their own stocks, also plays a major role.

Elsewhere, the antipodean currencies – the aussie and the kiwi – continued to suffer. Both are 0.45% lower against the greenback today, extending the significant losses they posted recently. Fundamentally, both currencies appear to be battered by diminishing expectations for any rate increase by either the RBA or the RBNZ this year, following relatively soft data on inflation out of both Australia and New Zealand lately. The dollar’s latest rebound, combined with some key technical breaks to the downside, may have amplified the selloff.

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Day ahead: Raft of corporate earnings and EIA oil report on the agenda

With the rest of the day practically empty of country-specific releases out of major economies, the focus might turn to corporate earnings and the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on crude stocks.

On a busy corporate-earnings day, some of the big names reporting results include AT&T, Boeing, Comcast, eBay, Facebook, Ford and Twitter. Boeing and Comcast will publish their results before the market open, with all other earnings reports scheduled for announcement after the closing bell on Wall Street.

Major US equity indices recorded a considerable drop on Tuesday, as warnings by perceived-bellwether companies – perhaps most notably Caterpillar – of higher costs on the back of rising yields weighed on equity market sentiment. It would be interesting to see to what extent this narrative plays out today, diverting to some extent the attention from corporate releases and into the bigger picture for the stock market. How Treasury yields evolve today, and in the days to come, can also fuel or remove steam out of this story.

The EIA’s report on US crude oil inventories for the week ending April 20 due at 1430 GMT will be of interest to traders of the precious liquid which is trading around levels last seen in late 2014. Crude stocks are anticipated to decline by 2.0 million barrels, posting their second straight weekly drawdown. In the previously recorded week, they fell by 1.1m barrels.

An appearance before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins is on the agenda at 2015 GMT.