EUR/USD: Close Start of QE End
The Fed did not make any changes to its monetary policy at its meeting on September 21-22. However, the regulator made it clear in its commentary that it was possibly ready to start a gentle tapering of the monetary stimulus (QE) program as early as November.
More than half of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) members believe that interest rate hikes will begin a few months after the end of QE, that is, even before the end of 2022. In total, in the period 2022-2024 the Fed plans to raise rates at least 6 times. (For comparison, the ECB will only start doing this in three years).
Such prospects were in favor of the dollar, the DXY index rose to 93.498, and the EUR/USD pair renewed its monthly minimum, falling to 1.1683.
There was a slim chance that the start of QE tapering would be announced now. But that hasn’t happened, and the Fed will continue to print new dollars for now in a volume of at least $120bn a month. The amount of money on US household balance sheets increased to $16.5 trillion in Q2 and will continue to grow in the near future (it was $12.7 trillion at the end of 2019). But there is bound to come a time when the population starts spending that money supporting the American economy after QE winds down.
Such statistics have given investors confidence in a bright future and revived their risk appetites, pushing the S&P500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones stock indexes up again. By the end of the week, the stock market had virtually compensated for the losses suffered on Monday due to information about the possible bankruptcy of Evergrande, one of China’s largest construction companies. Its debt of 2 trillion yuan ($309 billion) is the world largest and is nearly 80 times its net worth (about $3.9 billion). According to Bloomberg, Evergrande includes 200 offshore and 2,000 Chinese companies operating in many countries, so the bankruptcy of such a giant would deal a powerful blow to the global economy.
The recovery of investors’ interests in risky assets and the outflow of money to the stock market reversed the trend of the EUR/USD pair to the north on Thursday. The weakening of the dollar accelerated after the publication of weak data from the US labor market.
Initial jobless claims rose to 351,000 in the week, against the forecast of 320,000. The number of repeated applications for state benefits increased to 2.8 million. This is certainly not a disaster, but a wake-up call for the Fed. And if the NFP and other indicators, which will be published on October 8, turn out to be disappointing as well, the regulator may consider delaying QE tapering for a more distant period.
Both of these factors helped EUR/USD bulls raise the pair to 1.1750 on September 23. As for the end of the working week, the pair struck a final chord at around 1.1715 after the speech of FRS Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday evening.
The fact that the US Central Bank can start winding down QE in 1-2 months and complete the process by mid-2022, after which it will proceed with an interest rate hike, allows forecast a stronger dollar in the medium term. Most experts (65%) expect a rise in the US currency and a further decline in the EUR/USD pair in the coming week. They are supported by 85% of oscillators and 100% of trend indicators on D1. The remaining 35% of analysts vote in favor of the pair’s growth, and 15% of oscillators also indicate that it is oversold.
Support levels are 1.1705, 1.1685, 1.1600 and 1525. Resistance levels are 1.1750, 1.1800, 1.1845, 1.1908, 1.1975, 1.2025 and 1.2100.
Of the events to come, Germany’s federal elections, which will be held on Sunday 26 September and after which Chancellor Angela Merkel will leave office, should be noted. US capital and durable goods orders will be released on Monday September 27. There will be statistics on the consumer markets of Germany and the Eurozone on the last day of the month, as well as data on the US GDP. And finally, the ISM Manufacturing PMI will be released on Friday October 01.
GBP/USD: Bank of England Hawks Win
The past week can be safely called the week of Central banks. Not only the US Federal Reserve, but also the Banks of England, Japan and Switzerland flourished it with their meetings. And while the latter two are not ready to sweep course just yet, the UK regulator has erupted with hawkish rhetoric all of a sudden.
The Bank of England has been extremely passive over the past few years, following in the wake of the ECB and the Fed. And it lasted until the middle of last week. But, apparently, leaving the EU made such behavior impossible. At its meeting on Thursday, September 23, the bank made decisions that made the market literally flinch, and the GBP/USD pair soar by 140 points, from 1.3608 to 1.3748. The regulator not only announced its plans to tighten monetary policy, but also outlined the timing of the refinancing rate increase. The first increase to 0.25% is due in May 2022 and it will rise to 0.50% in December.
In contrast to the Fed’s vague timetable, the Bank of England’s plan outlined fairly clear milestones, which, as already stated, the market received with enthusiasm. But the GBP/USD pair did not go above 1.3748, because despite the lack of concrete figures at the moment, the Fed’s massive plan to end QE will be implemented, and in a short enough time frame. This cooled the fervor of the pound supporters, and as a result, the week-long bout of bulls and bears on the GBP/USD pair ended with a victory for the latter: starting the five-day run at 1.3730, it ended it at 1.3670.
Technical analysis is also on the bear side: both oscillators and trend indicators are red on D1. It is not only the trend of the last two weeks that affects, but also the dynamics of the three months of the past summer. But as for the experts who forecast the week ahead, the vote is 50 to 50.
Resistances are at levels 1.3690, 1.3765, 1.3810, 1.3910, then 1.3960, 1.4000 and 1.4100. The bulls aim to refresh the June 01 high at 1.4250. Supports are in zones 1.3640, 1.3600, 1.3570 and 1.3520.
In terms of macro statistics, the UK GDP for Q2 2021 will be released on Thursday 30 September. And, while the previous value was positive (+4.8%), it is now forecast to go negative, minus 1.5%.
USD/JPY: Japanese Doves Lose
The USD/JPY pair has been moving along the 110.00 horizon since last March, making rare attempts to get out of the 108.30-111.00 trading channel. This time too, having started the five-day period at 109.95, it reached a height of 110.78 by the end of the week, and ended the trading session at 110.75.
Unlike other central banks in advanced economies, the Bank of Japan remains committed to ultra-soft monetary policy and negative interest rates. That is why the yen is still of interest not as a tool for making money, but as a safe haven currency.
The start of the week was good for it: the risk aversion triggered by the possible bankruptcy of Evergrande pushed the pair USD/JPY down to the horizon of 109.10. However, things went wrong later. Investors wanted profit again, turning to risky assets. After the Fed meeting, the 10-year US treasuries yield soared above 1.44%. In fact, the yield spread on Japan’s 10-year bonds and similar US bonds has gone beyond the recent consolidation in favor of US bonds. And such a balance of strength played into the hands of USD/JPY bulls, weakening the yen’s position.
If the Bank of Japan continues to maintain dovish policy and the US Fed actively winds down its fiscal stimulus program, the yen will not feel good. And the USD/JPY pair will still take the 112.00 high by storm. The Japanese currency can be saved by either another drop in demand for risk assets or simply market reluctance to move the pair above the established medium-term corridor.
At the moment, 60% of experts believe that the USD/JPY pair can get close to 112.00. But only half of the analysts vote for it to move above that level. The second half believes that the pair will return to the above-mentioned corridor again.
As for the indicators on D1, 65% of the oscillators look north, the rest are either colored neutral gray or signal the pair is overbought. But the trend indicators unanimously vote for the continuation of the hike to the north.
Support levels are unchanged: 110.15, 109.60, 109.10, 108.70 and 108.30. The dream of the bears (it seems to be already impossible) is to retest the April low of 107.45. The nearest resistance levels are 110.80, 111.00 and 111.65. The ultimate goal of the bulls is still the same: to reach the cherished height of 112.00. And maybe even overcome it.
As for the events that will take place in Japan in the coming week, we note the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Japan on Tuesday September 28 and the publication of the Tankan Index of Large Producers of the country for the Q3 on Friday October 01. But will they be able to seriously affect the USD/JPY quotes? In our view, not likely.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Whales prepare for Bear Attack
This week’s BTC/USD and ETH/USD charts are very similar to those of the S&P500 and Dow Jones stock indices. The reason is fluctuating investor sentiment.
The risk of default on obligations of one of the largest construction companies in China, Evergrande, which has accumulated debt in the amount of 2 trillion yuan ($ 309 billion), provoked panic in the financial markets on September 20. Investors began to get rid of risky assets, crashing stock markets. The cryptocurrency market did not escape the sell-off either. If bitcoin was at $52,870 on Monday, it fell to $39,666 for a short time on Tuesday, losing up to 25% of its value.
The panic caused by Evergrande subsided on September 22, followed by a correction, and moderate risk appetite returned to investors after the Fed meeting, and the charts crept further north. However, it was too early to think that the sell-off was over. After rising to $45,150, bitcoin flew down again on Friday, September 24, then fought back and is trading at $43,000 at the time of writing.
The reason for another fall was China again, with the People’s Bank of China declaring all cryptocurrency related activities illegal, promising to take tough action against violators. The ban includes the services of foreign crypto exchanges provided in the country, among other things.
In addition to pressure from regulators, whale behavior is another warning sign. On the one hand, the number of coins they own is growing. If in February there were an average of 3236 BTC per whale, this figure increased to 3722 BTC in September. But the number of whales themselves has decreased by 15% and now stands at 2,125. This is thelowest for the last 15 months. In addition, significant amounts of their coins have flowed from their wallets to exchange accounts. This suggests that the whales are preparing for a possible continuation of the bear market.
Of course, whales are not a single entity. And despite the general desire to make a profit, they can be divided into short-term and long-term investors. The former are prone to speculation and quick fixation of small profits. The second, such as MicroStrategy, prefer to restock on price downturns. And it is thanks to them that the market is kept from a complete collapse.
As for investor sentiment, the data provided by Glassnode in the latest report is interesting. Since late July, while the price of bitcoin has been climbing from $31,000 to $52,000, long-term holders have sold coins they purchased between the $18,000 and $31,000 levels. According to analysts, this suggests that some of the passive investors have moved into the category of active traders selling coins that were purchased at close to current prices.
The total crypto market capitalization has again dropped below the psychologically important threshold of $2.0 trillion and is at $1.84 trillion. The Crypto Fear & Greed Index has moved from the neutral zone (48 points) to the Fear zone. It was 27 on Thursday, September 23, at the low of the week, and it grew slightly on Friday September 24 – up to 33 points.
In general, the crypto market is now in a state of uncertainty, some influencers predict unprecedented growth for it, while others, like the president of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, believe that this “bubble” will burst soon. Of course, this discord applies not only to bitcoin, but also to ethereum.
The ETH price dropped 40%, from $4,020 to $2,650 in just three days last week, from September 20 to September 22. At the same time, JPMorgan bank strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou believes that it should be even lower. In his opinion, the fair price for this altcoin is $1,500, based on the metrics of network activity.
The opposite view is taken by cryptocurrency trader and analyst Lark Davis, who said that ETH will reach $10,000 in the coming weeks. He noted that large investors, banks and corporations continue to invest in the ethereum ecosystem. Davis cited its limited supply in the market as another factor in favor of altcoin growth. 87% of Ethereum coins have not moved for more than three months, indicating investor reluctance to sell their savings. In addition, a significant shortage is created by burning of underlying transaction fees as well as by an increase in ethereum 2.0 staking deposits.
And in conclusion, one discovery that could be called a sensation. It turns out that exactly 100 years ago, the famous auto industrialist Henry Ford was already putting forward the idea of replacing gold with a so-called “energy currency.” The issue was raised by him in the New York Tribune as early as 1921. It is striking that Ford’s proposed project to launch a new currency is strikingly similar to the description of BTC, which was presented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
The front page of the newspaper featured an article detailing the “energy currency” that Ford believed could replace gold and become the backbone of a new era’s monetary system. This currency would be fully functioning on the basis of “units of force”, and it was proposed to build a huge hydroelectric power station to issue it. Thus, it could become the most stable and secured monetary unit and would prevent the growth of the rich who profit from speculating in gold.