Week in FX Europe Jan 22-27

Plans for the Greek Private Sector Involvement remain a source of considerable uncertainty for peripheral markets, and the inconclusive result of negotiations over the past few days will leave the EUR and risk complex vulnerable to a large correction. However, the EU economic and monetary commissioner has indicated that authorities are very close to concluding their talks, either later today or over the weekend. Will the market add to the risk trades that have been applied since the Fed, earlier this week, increased its “free money” term length by 18-months? So far it’s been too tempting for the market to refuse and risk is being added accordingly.

The mixed signals from the Euro-zone debt market means investors need to tread with caution. Thus far, ECB liquidity has boosted demand for Spanish and Italian debt. The same cannot be said for Portugal. Peripheral bond yields have resumed their collapse this week, with Italian 10-year yields down -18bp to +5.84%, a long way from that +7% imploding benchmark. Portugal remains the outlier, with yields still under upward pressure. Perhaps if China invested in Europe we would not care so much?

Below are some other highlights of the week:


  • EUR: Greek talks were expected to show something of substance last weekend. Not unexpected, this week began with Greece failing to yield agreement on the public sector involvement. Negotiators have been squabbling over the coupon that restructured bonds will carry.
  • EUR: The single currency opened lower in the Chinese New Year and despite all the negatives, soared through last weeks highs allowing the techies to start talking about outside weekly reversals as the currency remains elevated.
  • EUR: Analysts expect that even a successful conclusion to discussions would still leave the actual degree of private sector uptake unclear. EUR bears are still looking for that top, as default risks will not fully ‘abate’.
  • FRF: French January business confidence surprised weak, falling to 91 from 94. The market had been expecting a small uptick, especially after the German IFO and EU PMI prints.
  • EU: Portuguese debt worries have resurfaced to add to Greek default concerns.
  • EU: Finance Ministers reject Greek debt swap offer, coupon demands too high.
  • S&P’s Chambers: Greece ‘In all likelihood’ is down to a selected default. However, this default is not expected to destroy the credibility of EMU.
  • EU: Euro-zone flash PMI’s came in firmer than expected with the composite back above 50 after four-months in contraction territory. This suggests that the region ‘should avoid a collapse in output’ and another quarter in the GDP ‘red’. Manufacturing PMI rose to 48.7 from 46.9 and services PMI rose to 50.5 from 49.0.
  • GER: Their numbers were strong with manufacturing PMI at 50.9 and services PMI at 54.5. Big picture, data should help the Scandis and CE3 currencies.
  • ESP: Spain saw strong demand at its bill auction. Spanish Treasury sold +EUR2.51b of 3-and 6-month bills. The bid-to-cover was high in both issues.
  • EU: With Greek PSI negotiations inconclusive, the IMF is pushing for the ECB’s to take a haircut along with PSI as a means of distributing losses back to governments. However, the ECB and German coalition remains opposed to taking a loss on ECB holdings. Expect the heavy peripheral issuance schedule to remain a key factor in keeping the bulls on their toes.
  • GER: German ifo surprised higher with the expectations component at 100.9, above the consensus for 99 and up from 98.6 previously (the third consecutive rise) and suggests a GDP growth rate of +0.5% q/q.
  • GBP: UK GDP contracted more than expected in Q4, down -0.2%, q/q, vs. -0.1%. The weakness was driven mainly by soft industrial production in October and November and poor services at the start of the quarter.
  • GBP: BoE minuets deferred the decision on more QE until next month, as expected. The assessment on the economy was somewhat less pessimistic as members judged the most serious downside risks have abated. However, others understood that the “risks of undershooting the target meant an expansion of the QE program is likely to be required”.
  • FOMC: FX risk has rallied following the Fed’s shift to a more dovish policy stance. With US yields holding on to post meeting losses and pricing of tightening being pushed further out in the future has increased the appeal of EM FX.
  • HUF: Hungary sold HUF +48b worth of bonds (+13b more than expected). This would suggest that market perception of HUF risk has improved. PM Orban has softened his stance on recent legislation and indicated that he is willing to adjust their policies in order to win financial backing from the EU and IMF.
  • SEK: Manufacturing confidence surprised soft, falling to -14 vs. -11. Analysts believe that weak growth and the recent sharp moderation in core-inflation allows for a rate cut by the Riksbank at the next meeting.
  • EU: Peripheral bond yields have resumed their collapse, with Italian 10-year yields down -18bp to +5.84% (Friday Morning). However, Portugal remains the outlier with yields still under upward pressure.
  • EU: On Friday, Rehn indicated that PSI talks are very close to conclusion, either today or over the weekend.
  • EU: Euro area M3 growth has slowed significantly to +1.6%, y/y, from +2.0%.
  • CHF: Swiss KoF leading indicator dropped to -0.17 this month from +0.01 in December (ninth consecutive monthly decline and the first negative reading in two years). However, the release is at odds with the recent upward surprise in the PMI back above 50.
  • Fitch: Downgrades Belgium, Italy and Spain.
  • PLN: Poland recorded above consensus 2011 GDP growth of +4.3%, y/y.
    Should continue to attract foreign capital and support the PLN.



ASIA Week in FX



  • CAD kicks off with its GDP
  • Manufacturing and non PMI’s come to us from CNY, GBP and USD
  • Building and Construction reports are delivered from NZD, AUD and GBP
  • The Swiss have Retail Sales and the Aussies their Trade Balance
  • Housing Price Index are presented in GBP
  • Consumer confidence is reported in the USD
  • The week is dominated by the employment situations in USD,CAD and NZD


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.

Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell