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EUR/USD: The US is Not Very Good, Europe is Not Very Bad

On Friday, June 5, the Dollar Index (DXY) hit a three-week low, while the euro showed its largest weekly gain against the dollar in a year. This was due to the US not performing as well as expected and Europe not faring as poorly.

Disappointing private sector employment statistics from ADP (150K versus the forecasted 163K and previous 157K) and an increase in repeated jobless claims (238K versus 234K) for the ninth consecutive week indicate a cooling labour market. The slowdown in business activity in the service sector, the fastest in four years, and the drop in the ISM Index from 53.8 to 48.8 points, below the threshold of 50.00, suggest that the US economy is not as smooth as the Federal Reserve (Fed) would like.

The FOMC’s June meeting minutes mentioned that monetary policy should be ready to respond to economic issues, a sentiment echoed by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Consequently, this gloomy macroeconomic data increased the likelihood of a monetary expansion cycle and interest rate cuts in September from 63% to 73%. Derivatives are almost certain that there will be two 25 basis point (bp) cuts in 2024, lowering the rate from 5.50% to 5.00%. This caused US Treasury yields and the DXY to drop, while stock indices and EUR/USD rose. The S&P500 set its 33rd record this year, and EUR/USD reached a high of 1.0842 on July 5.

The euro was also bolstered by the situation in France. The left-wing “New People’s Front” (NFP) and the government bloc “Together for the Republic” (Ensemble) joined forces to prevent the right-wing from gaining power, which might end successfully. If the right-wing “National Rally” (RN) does not gain an absolute majority in the new parliament after the second round of elections, there will be no confrontation with the EU or Frexit (analogy with British Brexit).

Polls indicate the right-wing will secure 190 to 250 out of 577 seats, while 289 are needed for an absolute majority. The second round of elections will be held on Sunday, July 7, which might cause gaps in euro pairs on Monday.

Last week, the euro was also supported by the European Central Bank, or rather, by the minutes of its June Governing Council meeting. On one hand, 25 out of 26 Council members voted for a 25 basis point rate cut. However, this decision was made with several caveats concerning still high wage growth rates and the persistence of inflation, which resists and does not want to drop to the target level of 2.0%.

Preliminary June data showed that the CPI decreased only by 0.1% from 2.6% to 2.5%, and the Core CPI remained at 2.9% (y/y), above the consensus forecast of 2.8%. ECB officials fear the CPI might rise due to geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, raw material and energy price increases, and other factors. This almost rules out a rate cut at the ECB Governing Council meeting on July 18 and suggests only one act of monetary expansion in the second half of 2024.

Key US labour market data released at the end of the week on Friday, July 5, could change the dollar’s position and the EUR/USD dynamics. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), non-farm payrolls (NFP) increased by 206K in June, lower than May’s 218K but above the forecast of 190K. Other data showed the unemployment rate rose from 4.0% to 4.1%, and wage inflation dropped from 4.1% to 3.9% (y/y).

After the publication of this data, EUR/USD ended the week at 1.0839. However, this does not mean it will start the next week at this level. Traders are closely watching the French elections and the political situation related to the November US presidential elections. Biden’s interview with ABC News at 00:00 GMT on Saturday, July 6, when markets are closed, could also impact dollar pairs.

As of the evening of July 5, analysts’ forecasts for the near future are as follows: 55% predict the pair will rise, 45% foresee a fall. In technical analysis, all trend indicators and oscillators on D1 are in favour of the euro, although a quarter indicate the pair is overbought. The nearest support is in the 10790-10805 zone, followed by 1.0725, 1.0665-1.0680, 1.0600-1.0620, 1.0565, 1.0495-1.0515, 1.0450, and 1.0370. Resistance zones are at 1.0890-1.0915, 1.0945, 1.0980-1.1010, 1.1050, and 1.1100-1.1140.

Notable events in the upcoming week include Jerome Powell’s testimony in the US Congress on July 9 and 10, updated CPI data for Germany and the US on Thursday, July 11, and US initial jobless claims. The week will end with Germany’s retail sales data and the US Producer Price Index (PPI) and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.

GBP/USD: The Pound Gained with the Labour Party

The pound sterling and British stocks rose after the opposition centre-left Labour Party secured a convincing victory in the parliamentary elections. The British currency achieved a weekly gain of 1% – the best in the last seven weeks.

According to Reuters, the Labour Party won 337 out of 650 seats, indicating a majority in the House of Commons. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded defeat and congratulated his opponents on their victory. In turn, Labour Party leader and Prime Minister-elect Keir Starmer declared that from today “we are embarking on a mission of national renewal and starting to rebuild our country.” Starmer will replace Sunak as Prime Minister, ending 14 years of Conservative rule.

The markets responded positively to the national election results. The pound became the only component of the DXY to strengthen (by 0.2%) this year. “Apart from the weakening of the dollar,” commented Singapore’s DBS Bank, “the markets warmly welcomed the victory of the opposition Labour Party. This will put an end to years of political and economic uncertainty under Conservative leadership following the Brexit referendum in 2016. Labour leader Keir Starmer, while he is alive, has ruled out the possibility of the UK joining three blocs – the EU, the single market, and the customs union. […] However, Labour may seek more favourable trade agreements by aligning with EU rules in specific sectors such as agriculture, food, and chemicals.”

“As for monetary policy,” continued DBS strategists, “the OIS market assesses a 62.4% probability of the Bank of England (BoE) cutting the rate by 25 basis points to 5.0% at the meeting on August 1.” However, DBS believes this will not significantly harm the pound, provided that expectations for a Fed rate cut in September increase.

The final note of the five-day period saw the GBP/USD pair at 1.2814. Specialists from another Singaporean bank, UOB, believe the likelihood of the pound strengthening has increased. They note that a strong resistance level is in the area of last month’s high of 1.2860. The median forecast for the near term is as follows: 35% of analysts expect further pound strengthening and pair growth, 50% foresee a decline, and the remaining 15% are neutral. As for technical analysis on D1, 100% of trend indicators are green. Among the oscillators, 90% are green, a third of which are in the overbought zone, and the remaining 10% are neutral grey. In case of further decline, the pair will find support levels and zones at 1.2735-1.2750, 1.2680, 1.2655, 1.2610-1.2625, 1.2540, 1.2445-1.2465, 1.2405, and 1.2300-1.2330. In case of growth, the pair will meet resistance at levels 1.2850-1.2860, followed by 1.2895, 1.2965-1.2995, 1.3040, and 1.3130-1.3140.

Among the events of the coming week, the publication of UK GDP data for May on Thursday, July 11, stands out. The next important event, as previously mentioned, will be the publication of a fresh inflation report in the United Kingdom on July 17.

USD/JPY: Back to 1986

The yen lost over 12% against the dollar this year due to the large interest rate differential between Japan and the US. It continued to lose ground in the first half of the past week, reaching a new 38-year high of 161.94 on Wednesday, July 3, but failed to break above 162.00 due to disappointing US statistics.

Until Friday, Japanese officials largely refrained from discussing possible interventions. According to several experts, they may fear the wrath of the United States following sharp remarks from American authorities regarding recent similar actions. However, on July 5, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki once again stated that the authorities would closely monitor the state of the stock and currency markets. A week earlier, he expressed that he was “deeply concerned about excessive and unilateral movements in the forex market” and hoped that “confidence in the Japanese currency remains.”

OCBC Bank economists noted that “USD/JPY will follow US Treasury yields and the dollar. A reversal in USD and a Fed rate cut or a BoJ signal to normalize (rate hike or accelerated balance sheet reduction) is needed for a downward reversal, none of which seem to be happening.” OCBC concluded that the path of least resistance for USD/JPY might still be upward unless there is intervention. “Intervention, at best, is a tool to slow the yen’s depreciation, not to reverse the trend,” they added.

The week ended with USD/JPY at 160.78. UOB Group analysts noted that the pair’s upward momentum is starting to weaken, but only a break below 160.45 would indicate that the USD will not strengthen further. If the pair breaks above 162.00, the next level to watch is 163.00. OCBC economists see further targets for USD/JPY at 164.00 and 164.90, with support at 160.20, 158.10 (21 DMA), and 156.90 (50 DMA).

Many traders remain cautious, fearing another intervention by Japanese authorities. 65% of analysts expect another intervention and a southward movement of the pair, while the remaining 35% point north. Among trend indicators on D1, only 10% point south, with the rest looking north. Oscillator indicators are 25% red and 75% green.

No significant macroeconomic data is expected for Japan in the upcoming week.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Back to February 26

The last five days of June gave investors hope that the black streak was over. But alas! On the first day of July, the bulls’ strength waned, and BTC/USD turned south again, easily breaking support around $60,000 and plummeting to a local bottom at $53,543, a level last seen on February 26.

A long time ago, in 1961, the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, uttered a phrase that became famous: “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” So, the current victory of the bears over the bulls also has many “fathers,” although not a thousand. Several factors influenced the decline of the crypto market.

Firstly, investor disappointment that bitcoin failed to reach a new all-time high (ATH) after the April halving. Due to the halving of their reward, BTC miners were forced to sell a significant amount of their coins to cover operational costs. It was reported that their reserves reached a 14-year low. Downward pressure was also exerted by the German government, which began selling a large amount of bitcoin (about 50,000 BTC) seized by the police from a pirate site in January.

Sales intensified sharply after the announcement on June 24 that creditor payments from the bankrupt crypto exchange Mount Gox (Mt.Gox) would start in early July. These assets had been blocked, and now 20,000 former clients are to receive a total of 162,100 BTC (about $9 billion). According to a K33 study, the anticipation of this event put significant pressure on digital asset prices. Traders assumed that most recipients would be inclined to sell their tokens, given that BTC’s price had risen exponentially since 1994. Real panic ensued when test transactions were observed on wallets associated with Mt.Gox.

According to Quinn Thompson, CEO of the crypto hedge fund Lekker Capital, the market has largely accounted for the German government’s actions and Mt.Gox creditor payments. Thus, this negative pressure is expected to gradually weaken, as noted by Fundstrat analyst Tom Lee.

Another disappointment was the anticipated launch of Ethereum exchange spot ETFs last week, which did not materialise. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected the applicants’ S-1 form submissions, requesting additional adjustments by July 8. Therefore, approval may occur closer to mid-month or later, if at all. As a result, investors withdrew a record $119 million over the past two weeks, the highest since August 2022, making Ethereum an outsider in the crypto market.

Overall, global cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds recorded a third consecutive week of outflows, losing a total of $1.2 billion in investments. Most of the losses came from US spot Bitcoin ETFs, with about half of the inflows coming from retail investors, who typically lack long-term planning and patience. Many whales also began to take profits due to the absence of positive signals. The stock market also played against digital assets. In the last two months, both the S&P500 and Nasdaq Composite consistently hit record highs, prompting some investors to shift their funds from cryptocurrencies to stocks.

Despite the current gloomy outlook, many experts remain cautiously optimistic about the future. MN Trading founder Michaël van de Poppe believes an upward reversal will occur with the upcoming listing of Ethereum ETFs. Another expert, Ali Martinez, noted that in previous years, when June ended in a downtrend, there was a sharp rise the following month: historically, bitcoin gained an average of 7.42%. However, he believes July may be more challenging than usual due to the shock from Germany’s bitcoin sales and Mt.Gox creditor payments.

Santiment analysts observed that both bullish and bearish sentiments in X, Reddit, Telegram, 4Chan, and BitcoinTalk networks are waning, indicating traders’ loss of interest in trading. “We interpret this as fear and apathy among the crowd – a potential bottom signal,” Santiment noted. “At the same time, there is increased talk about holding cryptocurrencies, which could be a positive sign.”

“Bears still control the situation, but bitcoin is heavily oversold,” said analyst Willy Woo. He believes markets will correct the oversold condition, but at this stage, it does not indicate fundamental demand growth or guarantee a sustained bullish trend. Woo emphasized that a breakout of the resistance line on the daily bitcoin RSI chart will create a “technical but not fundamental recovery.”

According to Blockware Intelligence experts, bitcoin needs to overcome the $65,000 level to develop a rebound. This level corresponds to the acquisition cost for short-term investors. Currently, the digital gold prices have dropped below the total cost of short-term holders for the first time since August 2023. “Last summer, under similar circumstances, the price remained in a sideways trend for another two months before breaking out again," added Blockware Intelligence specialists.

Pratik Kala, a DigitalX analyst, predicts consolidation and low volatility for the crypto market in July. He stated, “Bitcoin is looking for the next major catalyst to move up. It’s not visible on the horizon yet, but things will change as the US elections approach.” Quinn Thompson from Lekker Capital also believes that the current “overly bearish” sentiments will gradually shift. He sees the US presidential elections as a growth catalyst for the crypto market, along with increased liquidity from the Fed and the launch of spot ETH ETFs. Another reason for growth could be the increased profitability of mining. Thompson predicts bitcoin will reach $100,000 and Ethereum $7,000 by November.

Galaxy Digital founder Mike Novogratz shares Thompson’s view, recently forecasting bitcoin will hit $100,000 by the end of 2024. Tom Lee of Fundstrat expects an even higher figure of $150,000.

As of writing this outlook on the evening of Friday, July 5, BTC/USD is trading at $56,400 and ETH/USD at $2,975. The total crypto market capitalization is $2.06 trillion ($2.24 trillion a week ago). The market lost about $625 billion over the last 30 days. The Crypto Fear and Greed Index dropped from 47 to 29 points in 7 days, moving from the Neutral zone to the Fear zone.

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