EUR/USD: Why the Dollar Fell
Last week passed without sharp jumps. The dollar continued to fall in price, and EUR/USD returned by March 30 to where it was traded seven days before. The local maximum was fixed at 1.0925, and the five-day period finished at 1.0842.
The dollar continues to be pressured by the growth of investors’ risk appetite: American and European stock indices have been going up since mid-March. Asian markets are not lagging behind: they were supported by statistics on business activity (PMI) in the manufacturing industry in China.
As for US macro statistics, it did not look good. The country’s GDP growth for Q4 2022 was 2.6%, which is lower than both the forecast and the previous value (2.7%). But the number of initial applications for unemployment benefits, on the contrary, increased from 191K to 198K against the forecast of 196K. Both of these indicators indicate a slowdown in the US economy.
In addition, it has become obvious to market participants that the crisis, which knocked out American Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and European Credit Suisse, will cool the Fed’s hawkish ardor and make it act much more cautiously. This opinion was confirmed on March 30 by the head of the Richmond Fed, Thomas Barkin, who said that the bankruptcy of Credit Suisse ruled out the option of further raising interest rates by 50 basis points (bp).
European macro statistics turned out to be quite diverse. On Thursday, March 30, the value of the Harmonized Consumer Price Index (HICP) in Germany became known, which rose in March by 7.8% y/y. This is less than a month ago (9.3%), but higher than the forecast (7.5%). As a result, looking at these figures, the market decided that the ECB would have to continue actively tightening monetary policy and raising euro rates in order to fight inflation. The yield of German government bonds outperformed the yield of similar US bills, and EUR/USD reached weekly highs. Friday’s statistics, on the contrary, reassured bears on the dollar to a certain extent, as Eurostat reported that the Harmonized Consumer Price Index (HICP) fell in March in the euro area from 8.5% in February to 6.9% year-on-year (with a forecast of 7.1%).
The market reaction to this and other statistics on Friday (such as the US Personal Consumption Expenditure Index) was rather sluggish, as this day coincided with the last day of the Q1 2023, when many market participants have already recorded quarterly results in their reports.
Regarding the medium- and long-term prospects for EUR/USD, Bank of America (BoA) economists believe that “the market is again running ahead of the locomotive, incorporating early Fed rate cuts into prices, and reassessing these expectations is likely to put pressure on the pair in the short term.” According to the BoA forecast, “the EUR/USD rate will be 1.05 in the first half of the year, it will rise to 1.10 by the end of this year, and to 1.15 by the end of 2024, which is still below the long-term equilibrium value.” “We assume that the worst of the recent banking turmoil is behind us, but we remain concerned about two risks for the euro: the ongoing conflict over Ukraine and possible pressure on the Italian market from a hawkish ECB,” BoA explained.
If we talk about the outlook for the near term, at the time of writing, the evening of Friday, March 31, 55% of analysts expect further weakening of the dollar, 35% – its strengthening, and the remaining 10% have taken a neutral position. Of the oscillators on D1, 90% are colored green, and another 10% are colored red. Among trend indicators, 80% recommend buying, 20% – selling. The nearest support for the pair is located at 1.0800, then 1.0740-1.0760, 1.0680-1.0710, 1.0620 and 1.0500-1.0530. Bulls will meet resistance in the area of 1.0865, 1.0925, 1.0985-1.1030, 1.1110, 1.1230, 1.1280 and 1.1355-1.1390.
Of the upcoming week’s events, the publication on Monday, April 03, of data on business activity (PMI) in the manufacturing sectors of Germany and the USA is of interest. This will be followed by a whole stream of information from the US labor market. This will be statistics on the number of open JOLTS vacancies on Tuesday, April 4, the change in the number of people employed in the non-agricultural sector from ADP on Wednesday, and the number of initial applications for unemployment benefits on Thursday. And on Friday, April 7, we will have data on the unemployment rate and the number of new jobs created outside the US agricultural sector (NFP). It must be borne in mind that April 07 is Good Friday in Europe, the USA and a number of other countries, a day off, so the reaction to these figures will follow next week, on Monday April 10.
GBP/USD: Will the Pair Continue to Grow?
The dollar weakened not only against the euro, but also against the British pound. GBP/USD has risen by more than 600 points since March 08, in just three weeks. Only the key resistance in the area of 1.2425-1.2450 could stop its growth. But does the pound have the strength to climb further?
On March 23, the Bank of England (BoE) raised its key interest rate by 25 bp. to 4.25% (for comparison, the current rate of the US Federal Reserve is 5.00%). At the same time, the situation with inflation in the country is not improving. The United Kingdom remains the only developed economy where inflation has hardly fallen throughout the year and remains at double-digit multi-year highs. The main Consumer Price Index (CPI) in March was 10.4%, and the basic CPI was 6.2%. Therefore, many analysts expect that the increase in interest rates will be one of the main steps taken by the BoE at the upcoming meetings. Moreover, the regulator will have to keep the rate at high values for a long time, even though this will stifle the country’s economy. (GDP growth rates are now at near-zero levels. Thus, the data published on March 31 showed GDP growth in Q4 2022 by only 0.1%).
Pressure on the economy makes a number of analysts talk about the pound’s limited potential. However, despite this, many strategists believe that a recession will be avoided, and the rate hike will continue to push the pound higher. Thus, ANZ Bank economists expect the pair to rise to 1.26 by the end of the year. The forecast of their colleagues from the French Societe Generale looks even bolder: in their opinion, GBP/USD will follow EUR/GBP and gradually move up to 1.30.
The pair closed last week at 1.2330. At the moment, 45% of experts side with the dollar, the same number (45%) side with the pound, the remaining 10% have taken a wait-and-see attitude. Among the oscillators on D1, the balance of power is as follows: 85% vote in favor of green and 15% have turned neutral gray. Among the trend indicators, the absolute advantage is on the side of the green ones, those are 100%. Support levels and zones for the pair are 1.2270, 1.2200, 1.2145, 1.2075-1.2085, 1.2000-1.2025, 1.1960, 1.1900-1.1920, 1.1800-1.1840. When the pair moves north, it will face resistance at levels 1.2390-1.2425, 1.2450, 1.2510, 1.2575-1.2610, 1.2700, 1.2750 and 1.2940.
Statistics on the UK economy include the publication of the Business Activity Index (PMI) in the country’s manufacturing sector on Monday, April 3. The values of PMI in the services sector, as well as the composite value of this Index, will become known on Wednesday. And we remind you that Friday is a day off in the Kingdom.
USD/JPY: Will BoJ Change Course in the Summer?
Unlike its DXY “colleagues”, the Japanese currency has shown absolutely the opposite trend against the dollar. While the euro and pound were strengthening their positions last week, the yen was losing them. There are two reasons for this, in our opinion. First, the yen was pressured by the fact that March 31 is not only the end of the quarter, but also the end of the fiscal year in Japan. The second one, which has been said many times already, is the ultra-soft policy of the Bank of Japan (BoJ).
Kazuo Ueda, the new head of the regulator, who takes office on April 09, has repeatedly spoken out in favor of continuing the dovish course of his predecessor Haruhiko Kuroda. And of course, such statements do not contribute to the attractiveness of the national currency.
Since November 2022, concerns about financial instability have led to a surge in purchases of the yen as a safe haven. However, as Societe Generale strategists write, even the “safe harbor” needs change. USD/JPY needs more action from the BoJ to justify its big decline. If the Central Bank does nothing, USD/JPY is likely to rise even more. Societe Generale expects that any moves to change the monetary policy of BoJ will be made in June, which could send the pair to the 125.00 level. A sharp easing of the US Federal Reserve’s policy can also help the Japanese currency.
The comments of economists from ANZ Bank look similar. “In the short term, [BoJ] policy change looks unlikely,” they write. “If it does change, which we expect to happen after the second quarter of this year, the Japanese yen will rise on more favorable yield differentials. We expect USD/JPY to fall gradually to 124.00 by the end of the year.”
Here, however, one must take into account the statement of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, Shinichi Uchida, made on Wednesday, March 29. According to him, the adjustment of the regulator’s monetary policy to control bond yields is possible only if economic conditions and price stability improve, which will justify a gradual reduction in monetary stimulus.
So, the fall of USD/JPY to the zone of 124.00-125.00 is still a big question. It finished the last week at the level of 132.80. And as for the immediate prospects, at the moment, 40% of experts vote for the further movement of the pair to the north, 30% point in the opposite direction, and another 30% have abstained from forecasts. Among the oscillators on D1, 15% point south, 40% look in the opposite direction, and 35% are neutral. For trend indicators, 40% point to the north, the remaining 60% point to the south. The nearest support level is located in the zone 131.25, then there are levels and zones 130.50, 129.70-130.00, 128.00-128.15 and 127.20. Resistance levels and zones are 133.00, 133.60, 134.00-134.35, 135.00-135.35, 135.90-136.00, 137.00, 137.50 and 137.90-138.00.
No important macro data on the Japanese economy is expected to be released this week. The only thing that can be noted in the calendar is Monday, April 03, when the Tankan Major Producers Sentiment Index for Q1 2023 will be published.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: What Will Happen to Binance?
The crisis that crippled Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature and hit Credit Suisse has certainly helped the crypto market by reminding what decentralized finance was created for. However, investors’ fears about a new wave of the banking crisis in the US and Europe are gradually fading away, which is clearly seen on the BTC/USD chart. If during the March 10-17 rally, digital gold gained almost 45% in weight, it has been unsuccessfully trying to storm the important $29,000 resistance for the last two weeks. Bitcoin needs not only to rise, but to sustainably gain a foothold above this horizon. Then, according to a number of experts, starting from this, it will be able to reach the next goal of $35,000. In the meantime, BTC is supported by the $26,500 level.
This support survived even when the CFTC (U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission) filed a lawsuit against Binance on Monday, March 27, accusing the crypto exchange of conducting unregistered futures and options transactions, serving US customers bypassing restrictions, illegal operations (in including in favor of Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization in many countries) and market manipulation.
In relation to the last accusation, analyst Cory Swan has theorized that it was the founder of the Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ) crypto exchange who was all this time the bear who tried to crash bitcoin to $12,000. “CZ held a large short position against BTC, hoping for $12,000, and paying for his personal big trade with unsecured BUSD and unsecured altcoins,” Swann writes.
At the moment, opinions are divided regarding the future of Binance. Some believe that no one needs the funeral of such a giant, as this will be a collapse for the entire crypto industry. Others are confident that the CFTC will seek the most severe punishment for the exchange. Even in the event of a pre-trial settlement, she will face billions in fines and a ban on work in the United States. If the court nevertheless takes place and finds Binance and its management guilty, both many clients and financial counterparties around the world will immediately turn away from them.
According to a CNBC survey of industry influencers, the market remains bullish on the future of the first cryptocurrency at this stage. So Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino believes that bitcoin can “retest” the all-time high of $69,000. And Marshall Beard, strategic director of the Gemini crypto exchange, predicts that the coin may reach $100,000 this year. In his opinion, if the first cryptocurrency manages to overcome the previous maximum, it “would not take much time to rise even higher.” However, a new bullish rally requires powerful new triggers, both economic and news. But neither the first nor the second has yet been observed.
Bloomberg strategist Mike McGlone believes that gold and bitcoin will be the most popular instruments for investors in 2023. The precious metal will confirm the status of the safest asset. The cost of a troy ounce of gold will soon exceed $2,000. At the same time, the attractiveness of bitcoin, which is seen as an instrument independent of the traditional banking system, will increase. As the global economy worsens, the number of investors who prefer to keep their capital in BTC, gold, as well as in treasuries, will grow, according to a note prepared by McGlone.
The collapse of the banking sector is reminiscent of the crisis of 1929, so the Fed is tightening monetary policy. After the latest rate hike, investment in bitcoin has increased, although many observers expected its value to fall, Bloomberg strategist emphasized. In his opinion, the BTC rebound can be seen as a positive signal, as more traders continue to buy cryptocurrency even amid global uncertainty.
Place Holder partner and former head of Ark Invest crypto company Chris Burniske, like Mike McGlone, believes now is the time to buy bitcoin and ethereum, as they are created for precisely such crisis moments.
Venture capitalist and billionaire Tim Draper made similar recommendations. Draper wrote in a report aimed at entrepreneurs that companies “can no longer rely” on just one bank or regulator. “For the first time in many years, governments are taking over banks at the risk of becoming insolvent. Bitcoin is a hedge against the financial domino effect and over-control mismanagement.”
Draper suggested keeping short-term deposits for no more than six months in two separate accounts, at a local bank and an international bank. In his opinion, organizations should also transfer an amount equal to two salary funds into bitcoin or other digital assets. The billionaire stressed the importance of such a contingency cushion, as management is responsible for meeting payroll deadlines “even in times of crisis.”
Of course, as always, the voices of “crypto gravediggers” are heard. Thus, the analyst under the nickname Grinding Poet believes that “a retest of the 2018 lows is inevitable” and “the new target is $3,150.” The well-known gold bug and bitcoin critic Peter Schiff continues to stand his ground. Back in 2017, Schiff promised that the coin would soon be completely worthless. Despite the past 6 years, the entrepreneur has not changed his position. And now, in March 2023, he stated that “bitcoin’s zero price hike just dragged on a bit.”
Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, criticized bitcoin again, saying that the fundamental value of the first cryptocurrency is zero. He called BTC a highly speculative asset with no economic value or utility.
Cake Defi CEO Julian Hosp told Hanke that bitcoin is debatable, but it certainly has value. According to Hosp, there are undoubtedly people who need bitcoin, so the claim that the first cryptocurrency has zero value is fundamentally wrong.
We tend to agree with Hosp, because at the time of writing the review, on the evening of Friday, March 31, BTC definitely has value and is expressed in a very specific figure of $28,375 per coin. The total capitalization of the crypto market has grown slightly over the week, from $1.169 trillion to $1.185 trillion. The Crypto Fear & Greed Index also rose from 61 to 63 points in seven days and is still in the Greed zone.