Dollar closed broadly higher last week, and closed as the strongest as boosted by a couple of factors. Firstly, House approved Senate's version of budget blueprint, and cleared an important procedural step for getting the tax cuts done by the end of the year. Secondly, markets responded positively to news that Fed chair Janet Yellen is out of the race for a renewal. Instead, Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Stanford University economist John Taylor are now the front runners. Powell is reported to be slightly more favored by US President Donald Trump and is seen as a less hawkish candidate. But after all, there is still a possibility of Powell/Taylor combination for chair/vice of Fed. And either one seems to be more welcomed by the markets than Yellen. Thirdly, Q3 GDP came in at an impressive 3% annualized growth, despite the impacts of hurricanes.
Dollar is trying to recover in Asian session today after the steep new year selloff. Nonetheless, the greenback remains the second weakest one for the week, just next to Kiwi. S&P 500 and NASDAQ closed at records high at 26951.81 and 7006.90 overnight. DOW also gained 104.79 pts or 0.42% to 24824.01. 10 year yield staged a strong rebound by gaining 0.06 to 2.465 but that was mainly driven by surge in European yields, including Germany and UK. In other markets, gold breached 1320 handle before retreating mildly today. WTI crude oil is also holding above 60 handle.
Yen jumps sharply this week and is extending it's broad based rally today. There are a couple reasons noted in the markets for the move. The sudden escalation in tension in Middle East, between Qatar and other nations, is seen a a factor. The uncertainties over election in UK is another one. However, we'd believe Yen's strength is more concerned with the outcome of former FBI director James Comey and the impact on US President Donald Trump. And investors are getting increasingly impatient on the lack of progress in Trump's tax reform and economic policies. This is clearly seen in the sharp fall in US bond yields and persistent weakness in Dollar.
Dollar remains generally in range after getting some mild support from FOMC statement. While there was sign of building up of downward pressure prior to FOMC, it seems that traders are holding their bets ahead of Friday's non-farm payroll report. Price patterns in most dollar pairs suggest that they are turning into more prolonged near term consolidation. There is still no clear sign of reversal yet. Elsewhere in the forex markets are also mixed as the actions are mostly consolidative.
US stocks were once again boosted by optimism on Senate passing the tax bill. DOW gained 331.67 pts or 1.39% to close at 24272.35. S&P 500 rose 21.51 pts or 0.82% to end at 2647.58. Both were at record highs. NASDAQ lagged behind but still gained 49.58 pts or 0.73%. Though, Asian markets don't follow and are trading mixed at the time of writing. It should also be pointed out that treasury yield also staged strong rally. 10 year yield closed up 0.041 at 2.417 and looks very safe from key near term support at 2.273. More positive news on tax bill could push 10 year yield through near term resistance at 2.475, which will give support to Dollar, in particular USD/JPY.
Dollar recovers mildly today but momentum stays weak. Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker said that he's open to a March hike, but markets thought otherwise. Harker noted that he's "supportive of three rate hikes" this year depending on how the economy and policies evolve. And, more importantly, "March should be considered as a potential for another 25 basis point increase". While he said the Fed is not behind the curve now, he wants to "make sure we don't get behind the curve". Meanwhile, fed fund futures are pricing in just 8.9% chance of a March hike, down from prior day's 13.3% and nearly 30% last month. Dollar index continues to hover tight range around 100 handle. Technically, as it's close to key support level between 99.0/99.5. There is prospect of a short term rebound.
The greenback got dumped, as a result of a series events happened over the past day. Defeat of GOP Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race and the miss of the core CPI were followed by a final version of tax bill. The day culminated in the conclusion of the FOMC announcement, which saw a 25 bps rate hike as expected, but with two dissents. US dollar fell against major currencies with the DXY index losing -0.71% for the day. Treasuries firmed, sending yields higher with the 2-year and 10-year yields dropping -4 points and -5 points respectively.
The forex markets are generally staying in tight range today. Yen is attempting to extend recent down trend but momentum is relatively weak. In particular, USD/JPY is feeling a bit heavy ahead of 114.36 key medium term resistance level. Euro is firm as Sentix investor confidence stayed closed to 10 year high in July. But both Dollar and Sterling are mildly stronger and they pare some of last week's losses. Canadian Dollar is also in consolidation even though markets are expecting BoC to deliver a 25bps rate hike later in the week. In other markets, Gold dips to as low as 1204 and is held below 1210 handle so far. WTI crude oil is mildly lower at around 44.0.
BOE voted 7-2 to raise the Bank rate by +25 bps to 0.5%, the first time in over a decade, in November. Two deputy governors, Sir Jon Cunliffe and Sir Dave Ramsden, voted to leave borrowing costs unchanged. BOE voted unanimously to leave the asset purchase program unchanged at 435B pound. Governor Carney declined to comment when the unwinding would begin. Traders have begun to dump British pound ahead of the announcement on profit-taking. The selloff accelerates upon release of the meeting statement and the quarterly inflation report. The rate hike this month is to remediate excessive inflation which has sustainably overshot the +2% target for months.
Yen weakness broadly today as market sentiments improved. Major European indices open higher with FTSE and DAX up 0.5% at the time of writing while CAC is up 0.8%. The development is helped by recovery in oil prices as WTI is trading back above 43 after dipping to as low as 42.05 last week. Swiss Franc also follow Yen and trades mildly lower. Strength is seen in Sterling and commodity currencies but upside is limited so far. Gold, on the other hand, suffered steep selling to as low as 1236.5 earlier today and is back at 1244.
US equities surged yesterday on Santa rally, yet DJIA failed to take out 20k handle and closed at 19974.62, up 91.56 pts, or 0.46%. It was, nonetheless, a record high. Meanwhile, S&P 500 also gained 8.23pts, or 0.36%, to close at 2270.76. Treasury yields also closed higher with 10 year yield gained 0.026 to 2.568 but stayed in recently established range. Dollar stays firm and is trading higher against most major currencies for the week, except versus Yen as USD/JPY is stuck in consolidation. In other markets, Gold trading sin tight range between 1125/1145 as sideway consolidation extends. WTI crude oil is trading higher at 53.6 but is held below recent resistance at 54.51..
Dollar recovers mildly today but remains the weakest major currency for the week so far. Consumer inflation data from US looks promising. Headline CPI rose 0.3% mom, 2.1% yoy in December, accelerated from November's 1.7% yoy. Core CPI rose 0.2% mom, 2.2% yoy, accelerated from prior month's 2.1% yoy. Both met market expectations. Technically, the declines in Dollar and treasury yields seem to be losing some momentum. But volatility is anticipated on Donald Trump's inauguration data this Friday. Meanwhile, it should be noted that after all the rhetorics and speculations, fed fund futures are still pricing in 67.8% change of another rate hike by Fed by June. That hasn't changed much in recent weeks.
The markets are lacking a clear direction for the moment as traders await the highly anticipated Jackson Hole symposium of global central bankers. Sterling is the notably weaker one this week but there is no follow through selling seen today. The pound is trying to recovery against Dollar, Euro as well as Yen. EUR/USD is still staying in range below 1.1908 as recent consolidation extends. Some strength is seen in Canadian Dollar today as USD/CAD dips through 1.2525 temporary low. That could be thanks to WTI oil's recovery back above 48. Gold is also hovering in tight range below 1300.
The financial markets stabilized today with major European indices trading mixed. DAX jumps 0.5% at the time of writing while FTSE and CAC stays in tight range around break even. US futures also point to flat open. In the currency markets, commodity currencies are soft but generally confined in yesterday's range. Yen is firmer against all others but there is no follow through buying to push it throw Monday's highs yet.
The forex markets are pretty steady in range as another week starts, as usual. Euro surged to highest in more than two years against Dollar last week as aftermath of Jackson Hole symposium. The common currency retreats mildly today but remains firm across the board. Focus will turn back to economic data this week first, in particular job data from US. So far, EUR/USD is in health up trend to take on 1.2 handle next. Attention will be on UK and EU and another round of Brexit negotiation starts. In response to the criticism on lack of clear positions, Prime Minister Theresa May's government released seven policy papers ahead of the meeting. And officials on both sides would have to expedite their work in order to make enough progress to start the talks on post Brexit trade agreements in October. EUR/GBP is facing 0.9304 key resistance for the moment. Negative news out of the negotiation could power the cross through this level.
British pound's post-BOE rally has more than evaporated over the past two weeks. Political uncertainties and the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations are the key reasons driving sterling lower. Despite mounting pressure on PM Theresa May to step down, we believe it would be hard to materialize as there lacks charismatic leaders within the Conservative Party and the move might trigger a snap election and a Labor government. Progress of Brexit talks has remained slow. The next round of talk in Phase I would begin this week, amidst EU Parliament's overwhelming vote that previous talks has not brought sufficient progress. EU member states are due to vote next week to decide whether the talk can progress to the next phase. It is getting likely that BOE would increase the Bank rate by +25 bps in November. However, we do not consider this as the beginning of a tightening cycle as UK's macroeconomic developments remains fragile.
In US, long term treasury yields jumped after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday that ultra-long bonds are "something that could absolutely make sense for us at Treasury." 30 year yield rose 0.059 to close at 3.011, back above 3.000 handle and took out 55 day EMA. 10 year yield also rose 0.043 to close at 2.325, but was limited below last week's high and 55 day EMA. Mnuchin also said that it will probably take two years to hit 3% growth, with the help of tax and regulatory reforms, as well as better international trade agreements. He emphasized that USD 2% in revenue can be generally over 10 years if growth is boosted from 2% to 3%. Dollar is trading mixed after weaker than expected ISM manufacturing released overnight. NASDAQ extended the record run and rose 0.73% to close at 6091.6. S&P 500 also rose 0.17% but was limited below 2400 handle. DJIA lost -0.13%.
The financial markets are treading water in quiet holiday trading. DOW closed -0.03% down at 24746.21 overnight. S&P 500 closed down -0.11% at 2680.50. Nikkei is also trading up around 0.1% at the time of writing. In the currency markets, Aussie is the clear winner for the week while Yen is broadly lower. The markets may need to wait for consumer confidence from US to give it back its life.
Euro surges to highest level since 2015 against Swiss Franc today as boosted by solid improvement in economic sentiments. But the common currency is overwhelmed by Aussie and Kiwi on strong risk appetite. Meanwhile, Sterling also regained ground after the pull back following BoE Governor Mark Carney's cautious speech yesterday. Dollar is generally softer as markets await FOMC policy decision and press conference tomorrow. In other markets, Gold is gyrating in tight range around 1310 but is vulnerable to another dip to 1300 handle. WTI crude oil is also struggling around 50.
BOE sent a hawkish message at the September meeting, noting that the majority of the members agreed that some withdrawal of stimulus should be appropriate in coming months. The key reason for the upcoming tightening is strong inflation which the central bank expects to rise above +3% in October. The market interpreted this as a signal that the historically low interest rate would be raised soon. Sterling rallied to a one-year high against the US dollar and a two-month high against the euro after the announcement. The market has now priced in over 54% chance of a rate hike in December. On the monetary policy this month, the BOE voted 7-2 to leave the Bank rate unchanged at 0.25% and unanimously to keep the asset purchase at 435B pound.