US 10-year bond yield boosts greenback
The US dollar rallied sharply against the major currencies overnight as US 10-year bond yields surged back above 1.60%. The dollar index of major currencies rose sharply by 0.58% to 96.22 overnight, more than offsetting the previous day’s falls and leaving major technical support at 95.50 intact once again.
EUR/USD has fallen 0.70% to 1.1300 and has traced out a number of failures ahead of 1.1400 resistance. Failure of support at 1.1270 heralds a retest of 1.1200. GBP/USD has fallen 0.40% to 1.3470, with resistance at 1.3550, last week’s high and the 100-day moving average (DMA). Failure of support at 1.3400 signals the next leg lower. The widening US/Japan rate differential has pushed USD/JPY 40 points higher to 115.75 today, Asia’s biggest FX mover. Assuming that US yields remain elevated, there is nothing on the charts to stop a rally to 118.00 in the coming weeks.
The US dollar rally stopped the AUD, NZD and CAD rallies in their track, marking an abrupt end to their holiday season rallies. Although equities rallied on diminishing omicron fears, that same situation has allowed US yields to rise sharply, lifting the US dollar. The US dollar rally could peter out if sentiment remains strong, but the moves in equities and currencies highlight what a messy year could be ahead, without the unifying theme of the post-vaccine recovery central bank back-stop in play. In the meantime, AUD/USD has fallen to 0.7200 overnight and is in danger of retesting 0.7100. NZD/USD has fallen to 0.67800 and could revisit 0.6700 initially, and USD/CAD moving higher to 1.2800.
With USD/CNY anchored around 6.3700, and China content with monetary settings for now, including daily liquidity via the repo, Asian currencies have remained anchored as well. However, some cracks are starting to appear, with USD/KRW rising to 1194.50 today and USD/MYR jumping higher to 4.1800. If US yields continue to move higher this week, Asian FX weakness could become more widespread, with INR, PHP, and IDR the most vulnerable to widening yield differential perceptions.
Oil moves to the top of its range
Oil prices edged higher overnight, Brent crude rising 1.25% to USD 78.90, and WTI climbing 0.85% to USD 75.95 a barrel. Diminishing omicron concerns have supported oil through the holiday period and the spectre of OPEC+ now looms over energy markets. The OPEC+ monthly meeting has rolled around quickly this time, probably because they left the last one open in December as omicron hit, to support prices. The JMMC and full grouping meet this week with the OPEC+ still-open meeting oil floor having done its job without costing a cent. I do not expect any changes or surprises from OPEC+ this week, but its mere threat should keep a floor under prices this week.
Oil has risen again in Asia, helped along by Indonesia banning coal exports over the weekend, having exported so much this year that their own stocks in Java for power generation are now dangerously low. The ban will impact China the most initially, but given their inventory building, should not cause too much of a stir. In the meantime, it has been enough to life oil prices in Asia by around 0.50% to USD 79.35 for Brent, and USD 76.35 a barrel on WTI.
Brent crude has support at USD 77.60 and USD 77.50 barrel, its 100-day moving average (DMA), followed by USD 77.30. It has resistance at USD 80.00, and USD 82.00 a barrel. WTI has support at USD 75.00 and then USD 74.60, its 100-DMA. It has resistance at USD 77.50 a barrel, and then USD 79.30.
Gold’s Christmas rally ends abruptly
Gold showed, once again, how frail bullish sentiment is as recent long positions were stopped out overnight, gold falling 1.50%, or USD 28.50 an ounce, intraday to close at USD 1801.50 an ounce. Some short-covering has seen it creep up to USD 1804.00 an ounce in Asia.
Gold’s attempts to stage a meaningful recovery remain unconvincing, with traders cutting long positions at the very first sign of trouble intra-day. This time it was the US bond market, with yields rising sharply and sending gold into an equally vicious tail-spin, unwinding its entire Christmas rally. This is not the first time we have seen this sort of price action in the last month, with gold’s most consistent pricing factor being its ability to disappoint bullish investors.
Gold has resistance at USD 1830.00 and USD 1840.00 an ounce, although it would be a huge surprise if we saw those levels this week. Support lies at USD 1790.00, followed by USD 1780.00 an ounce. USD 1790.00 to USD 1820.00 is my call for the range this week.