In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would seek an early election on June 8. Either a bold move, well disguised or ruthless, call it what you “May”, but from the brink of resignation to calling a snap election, it has currency traders voting with two thumbs up for the pound.
With a 20 point lead over the Labour Party, which is currently in a shambles, in a cunning gambler move, Theresa May is looking to cement her party’s leadership and all but eliminate any opposition to Brexit in the Commons by securing the conservatives more seats, if recent polls hold. Apparently, the markets take on this gutsy move is that this will lessen the likelihood of an unruly Brexit, as the Tory house of cards will be better aligned. At the same time, it could become less dependent on the periphery elements within her party, or even the opposition.
On the Geopolitical front, rumours have been circulating that the US military is considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang. I discount these types of reports as little more than militaristic hyperbole and are likely no more than a what if scenario. While I suspect the worst of the Geo risk is behind us, we are still ways away from closing the chapter on Korean Peninsula risk.
On the US data front, the Greenback took on the chin as a combination of tepid earnings and faltering US manufacturing output weighed on investor confidence as the US economic growth scenario wobbles. The USD dollar bulls are being held at bay due to geopolitical risk, so short term traders are seizing the moment in opportunistic fashion on any US economic data miss.
If one is looking for any positivity in this sea of negativity, the IMF has nudged it, by upping its forecast for global growth in 2017 by one tenth to 3.5%.
The AUD traded off its back foot most of the overnight session after the RBA fleshed out a more dispirited economic outlook than the market was expecting. While domestic macro concerns percolate, the biggest driver for the Australian dollar will be US interest rates, commodity prices and global risk.
The Aussie dollar overnight slide was buffeted by the weaker US economic data overnight, but iron ore prices slipped again, among growing concerns that oversupply in China poses a risk to prices over the next quarter.
Market risk is likely to take another leg lower on the back of geopolitical sentiment, and with both copper and iron ore reeling, we should expect the AUD to remain under pressure in the near term. Perhaps more so if we factor in a downbeat central banker, which was the primary catalyst for a move lower on the AUD yesterday.
The JPY remains extremely sensitive to geopolitical headlines, and the USDJPY should continue to be one of the go-to pairs to express a weaker USD bias. With a high sensitivity to both risk and US economic data, the current climate suggests the path of least resistance remains lower for USDJPY with any uptick likely to be faded quickly. But this is not clear sailing, as one must be prepared for constant unwinding the unwind, as headline risk should dominate for the foreseeable future.
The euro has remained remarkably buoyant this week despite the looming round one of the French election. The currency has traded constructively all week as the market showing little inclination of clambering for euro hedges, which is an indication that the market is either comfortably hedged sidelined, rather than trying to really benefit from the uncertainty.
Now that the GBP is climbing on PM May’s election gamble, the euro has been towed along by a soaring Cable.
Expectedly, emerging markets performances were mixed overnight but TRY the best performer of the lot
The Turkish Lira has been relatively stable this year and the Turkish Central Bank will likely to keep interest rates high for the foreseeable future, so as not to rock the Lira’s boat. Given the TRY extremely high yield, the carry trade appeal should remain robust for the foreseeable future. Fitch’s positivity that, “Turkey’s constitutional referendum is part of a political shift that has been negative for the country’s sovereign credit profile, but may facilitate a revival of credit-positive economic reforms” has calmed investors nerves post-referendum.
Geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on the Won, but as the worst of the geopolitical storm likely behind us, the KRW is still widely acknowledged as undervalued over other ASEAN currencies, so there will be opportunistic headline buying, as regional risk shows signs of abating. In the meantime, expect the USDKRW to remain bid on dips until the geopolitical storms abate.
Oil prices were choppy overnight as the WTI bounced eccentrically between 52-53 per barrel. A tug of war ensued among dealers, who are evenly divided between climbing US production, rising inventories and forecasts calling for demand to exceed supply by Q4.