Thu, Feb 09, 2023 @ 13:35 GMT
HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisMarkets Steady as Investors Eye Earnings and ECB

Markets Steady as Investors Eye Earnings and ECB

European markets edged cautiously higher on Tuesday as investors digested upbeat corporate earnings and news that Rishi Sunak would replace Liz Truss as U.K. prime minister.

The latest German IFO Business Climate Index supported sentiment by showing some signs of stabilisation, albeit at low levels. Most Asian shares staged a sharp rebound during early trade, tracking the recovery from Wall Street as soft economic data fueled bets around the Fed softening its hawkish stance. Interestingly, some stability returned to Chinese markets following Monday’s historic selloff as traders weighed bargain prices against China’s uncertain political landscape and economic outlook.

In the currency space, the offshore Yuan has weakened past the psychological 7.30 level following the party congress, while dollar bulls are taking a pause amid expectations around a potential Fed pivot. Sterling has appreciated against every G10 currency this morning ahead of Rishi Sunak’s meeting with King Charles and his first public address later this morning. The euro seems to be on standby and is likely to remain trapped within a range until the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday.

Will the ECB come to the euro’s rescue?

Markets widely expect the central bank to raise interest rates by another 75 basis points on Thursday, in a move to contain inflation which is well above the 2% target. Given how this has already been priced in, this may offer little support to euro bulls that have been beaten black and blue by a stronger dollar over the past few months. Much attention will be directed towards President Christine Lagarde’s press conference which will be closely scrutinised by investors for clues on the central bank’s next policy move. If policymakers move ahead with a 75bp hike and open the door for more jumbo hikes in the future, this could provide some support to the euro. A shock 100bp rate hike would inject euro bulls with fresh inspiration to break decisively out of the current range. Should the central bank surprise markets with a smaller than expected 50bp hike, the EURUSD could tumble back to 0.9700 and lower. Whatever the outcome of the ECB meeting, it is likely to set the tone for the euro over the next few weeks.

Currency spotlight – Time for king dollar to rest?

The dollar has weakened against most G10 currencies since the start of the fourth quarter thanks to the improving market mood and expectations around the Fed dialing back on its hawkish stance. As economic data in the United States continues to illustrate a gloomy picture, this could fuel speculation around the jumbo-sized rate hikes coming to an end. Throughout 2022, dollar bulls have derived strength from safe-haven flows, optimism over the US economy, and Fed rate hike expectations. As some positivity returns to global markets amid robust earnings, and shaky US data prompts the Fed to drop its aggressive approach towards rates, this could hit dollar bulls hard.

Looking at the technical picture, DXY bulls look exhausted on the daily charts with prices back within a range. A breakdown below the 111.50 support level could trigger a decline toward 110.00 and 109.00, respectively. If prices can break out above 113.50, the DXY could retest its 20-year high at 114.78.

Oil prices wait for fresh catalyst

Oil prices are likely to swing between losses and gains as fears over a global economic slowdown collide with caution over tightening supply. Brent remains under pressure this morning, trading around $90.25 as of writing. As investors juggle with slowdown concerns, sharp changes in risk sentiment, dollar volatility, and other themes impacting the supply/demand dynamics, this could result in more choppy price action into year end.

Looking at the technical picture, Brent remains under pressure on the daily charts. Prices are trading below the 50-, 100- and 200-day Simple Moving Average. A breakdown below $90.00 could open a path toward $87.00 and $82.50. Should prices push back above $92.00, the next key level of interest can be found at $95.00.

Commodity spotlight – Gold

After staging a stunning rebound last Friday, gold has found itself under pressure thanks to the improving market mood and rising Treasury yields. Appetite towards the precious metal is likely to remain shaky as investors evaluate whether the Fed will indicate next week if it will remain hawkish after raising interest rates by another 75 basis points in November. In the meantime, gold could trend lower until a fresh directional catalyst is brought into the picture. Talking technicals, sustained weakness below $1655 could open the doors towards $1615 and $1600 respectively. A breakout above $1655 may trigger an incline towards $1670 and $1680.

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