The Pound trades like an old beach roller coaster.

The Pound continues to trades like an old beach roller coaster.

Equity markets have remained cheered up by the passage of the Senate tax reform bill. But the market closed below interday high water marks as renewed weakness in the tech sector weighed at the bell. However, it’s not as if the tech sector is under stress but rather some equities rotation remain in vogue as investors seek out opportunities in more tax reform sensitive stocks.

So much for what was supposed to be the dollar’s day in the Sun, the G-10 focus was all about Brexit and Cable.

The British Pound

Last nights crucial negotiations put the Pound through a wringer.The initial headlines looked positive after some encouraging news on the almost unresolvable question of the Irish border sent the Pound skyrocketing to 1.3540 The move was then wholly unwound and some when ” no complete deal today ” was announced. While the  Brexit divorce arrangements looked close on Monday,  the talks failed as the DUP reservations scuttled the proposal.

As is so often the case in FX markets, after all was said an done, we are right back to where we started

The Japanese Yen

The USDJPY has come under pressure on reports the Japan is readying it’s ” intercept command system starting in fiscal 2018 to cope with advancements in North Korea’s weapons technology, such as faster-descending missiles launched at a steeper trajectory.”( Nikkei news). But the USDJPY and US yields were trading with a heavy tone overnight almost as if waiting for the next wave of risk aversion to rear its ugly head and this morning’s geopolitical gamesmanship continues to validate this concern.

On the flip side, one of the best trades of the year has been to fade USDJPY’s geopolitical hysterics, but this move is far too shallow to bring out risk hunters but regardless its hard to envision a broader push lower given the more widespread positive USD sentiment. And at least for today, it looks like we’re back to the old tug of war between US yields and risk sentiment as we to settle back into the battle-tested 111.75-113.25 range

The Euro

Not sure if it’s year-end creeping in early but he Euro refuses to show any clear direction so providing market commentary is turning into an exercise in repetition.  But it could be a case of the market in total data focus mode and unwilling to commit to any direction ahead of US NFP or more precisely the wages component.  However  most traders remain incredibly constructive on the EURO,  but as year-end approaches, traders are timing their entry decision more precisely

The Australian Dollar

RBA decision day, comments to follow.

In early trade, the Aussie is picking up some pre-RBA steam from the positive retail sales print

Energy market

Traders are starting to look over their shoulder at a potential Shale production swell. Invariably we end up back it this inflexion point time and time again which continues to undercut OPEC reduction momentum.

Also, there could be some year-end decision at play as trading the ” turn” can be full of liquidity surprises.

Asia FX

The  Good, Bad, and Ugly for regional currencies as idiosyncratic narratives are driving trading decisions

The Malaysian Ringgit ( The Good)

A fantastic 24 hours for the Ringgit as yesterday’s PMI, hitting 43 months high at 52 supports the hawkish BNM narrative. The Malaysian Centeral Bank has sounded overtly hawkish of late and appears more open to a stronger currency to ward off potential inflation.

Given the market is baking in January rate hike with a likely Q2 or 3 follow up, so the MYR will become much more sensitive to economic data for the next few months. And this is what happened yesterday as the Ringgit surged on very supportive data.

However, a follow-up rate hike in Q2 or 3 well l is 100% data dependent suggesting we will continue to see see the Ringgit trade more sensitive to Growth and Inflation headlines for the next few months.

Also, foreigners were noted buyers  on local equity markets which added to the frothy MYR conditions

The market remains underweighted on MYR so despite more naysayers jumping on the wagon, there still lots of room on the party bus.
Korean Won ( The Bad)

The USDKRW  has continued to trade dollar bid in the wake of the dovish BoK hike.  Investor propensity to move out of tech into to financial stocks dulls KOSPI sentiment.And this morning risk aversion blip on Japans defence system headlines isn’t helping KRW risk this morning.

The Philippine Peso ( The Ugly)

A horrible 24 hours for the local currency as both the PSEi and the Peso cratered. Whatever tactical shorts were entered last week on the regional wave of positivity gave way to more aggressive USD buying post-US tax reform.

To put the local equity market move in perspective Philippine stocks suffered one of the most significant 2-day drop this year!

But this reinforces the view that their remains substantial structural differences at play in the Peso relative to regional peers. Last week there was little if any sizable stock or bond inflow to drive or sustain momentum which left the PHP extremely susceptible to a stronger USD narrative.

Market Musings

Why isn’t the dollar trading higher?

1) Extremely unclear what the actual GDP impact will be relatively Budget woes.
2) Political risk will forever be baked into the USD narrative so long as President Trump remains in office
3)The dollar momentum is more about Fed funds rate and inflation rather than tax reform

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Stephen Innes

Stephen Innes

Head of Trading APAC at OANDA
Stephen has over 25 years of experience in the financial markets and currently based in Singapore as the Head of Trading Asia Pacific with OANDA. Stephen's market views focus on the movement of G-10 and ASEAN Currencies. His views appear in Bloomberg, CNBC.Reuters, New York Times WSJ and the Economist. His media appearances include Bloomberg TV & Radio, BBC International, Sky TV, Channel News Asia, ASTRO AWANI and BFM Malaysia. Stephen has an extensive trading experience in Spot and Forward FX, Currency and Interest Rate Futures, Money Market Derivatives and Precious Metals. Before joining OANDA, he worked with organisations like Nat West, Chemical Bank, Garvin Guy Butler, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Stephen was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and holds a Degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Stephen Innes