Danger from Downunder

Tax Reform -Tump – Asia

There is a very light  US economic diary this week,  but there will be no lack of political bluster as the US tax reform debate rages while  Trump deals with North Korean nuclear ambitions and regional trade relations during his whirlwind tour of Asia. But make no mistake the focus is squarely on North Korea headlines.

In a show of military might, an entourage of  F-35’s will accompany Trump( actually deployed to Okinawa), and the mainstay of the US Navy’s power projection, two more Aircraft Carriers will be positioned in the Western Pacific bring the total to three.

The Forex market’s reaction to last weeks tax announcement was underwhelming, but there remains  USD positivity as investors continue to reweight into US equities, but indeed, that tank is starting to dry up. There remains a lot of  puzzlement concerning some of the Houses latest amendments, but hopefully, some clarity is offered today

 Political Noise

NY Federal Reserve Governor Dudley is rumoured to be retiring in either spring or summer of 2018. His term was set to end in January 2019.

US political pundits will be paying close attention to the Virginia Governor race on Tuesday which appears to be a very tight contest between Democrat, Ralph Northam and Republican, Ed Gillespie, with many of the same issues as the presidential election likely to be top of the votes agenda.With President Trump approval ratings plummeting, markets will look for confirmation on the election front to validate the polling data.

Key for the USD 

For the dollar, to make significant headwinds, it’s in need of a heavy dose of interest rate support from economic data.But given the scarcity of such this week; the dollar may struggle to gain momentum without a helping hand from non-domestic influence. Critical levels of the UST 10’s   remain 2.30-2.40 where last week’s weeks topside breach of the Key 2.40 % level was fleeting and did not signal the critical breakout some had expected ( me included) On the downside a test of 2.30 could prove to be the dollar bull undoing.

The  Fear of the Fed is the key to a US dollar strength, and without a perceived acceleration of the Fed’s  rate-tightening schedule, we may top out on the dollar momentum until the next set of meaningful US economic data convinces.

Danger from Downunder

This week both the RBA and RBNZ policy meeting take centre stage and should offer up some significant volatility.

The Australian Dollar

The Australian Dollar remains vulnerable to RBA dovish guidance even more so post a dismal nationwide plummet in retails sales and weaker CPI. While the data suggests traders will continue to sour on the Aussie, but with the evidentiary erosion of the carry vs USD, it should lead to a clean extension for Australian dollar weakness from this point.

The New Zealand Dollar

The NZD is a bit more complicated given extended short positions established on local political noise.These shorts are incredibly vulnerable to a more hawkish RBNZ  bias than the market is forecasting.
Keep in mind traders have been selling Kiwi the better part of two weeks and my start to unwind positions ahead of the RBNZ. And while the  RBNZ could offer up some divergent( USD)  opportunity but given the possible short covering from overextended positions, best be nimble in this trade

However given this setup,  an excellent way to express AUD weakness is through NZD especially ahead of the RBNZ as there is a chance for a more hawkish bias than priced in at current spot levels.

The Euro 

The market remains very constructive on US assets, but 1.1575-1.1600 remains solid support. I suspect the market continues to play the ranges until something breaks.

The Chinese Yuan

The RMB has remained within a range of 6.45-6.65 of late However, following the 19th National Congress positivity and given the robust fundamentals we expect inflows to continue. Also, policymakers will open up domestic capital markets while adding more market reforms to attract foreign investment for some critical fiscal initiatives.

The Malaysian Ringgit

The Ringgit weathered the latest US interest sell off much better than the markets expected. A few things stand out in the Ringgit favour. The MYR remains undervalued on many models given the surprising levels of economic expansion which creating a considerable punch. But positioning in the MYR remains light, and the absence of an active NDF market, when regional currencies weaken the Ringgit is less likely to do so aggressively given the lack of NDF speculation pressure. And while there is a need to add some much-needed reserves, perhaps with OIL prices looking to move higher, the BNM  may be able to add to the reserve coffers at much lower levels than currently offered.

Oil Markets could play more influence 

WTI enjoyed a ceaseless move higher on Friday on the back of few if any headlines and while Baker Hughes Rig Count did fall by 1.1%, that came well after the meat of the rally kicked in.All in all, it appears support for OPEC to extend production cuts looks to be growing, and when factoring in the decline in US inventories and rig count, the bulls are smiling

But with the shale output effect not living up the skyscraping market’s expectation, OPEC may sense some weakness and may now be thinking 70 not 60 dollars per barrel;  before abandoning the agreement.But given a long way between now and November 30,  we anticipate either consolidation or a correction before a push higher to $ 60.00 on WTI.

Turkish Lira and South African Rand carry trades

Both the Lira and Rand came under dealers crosshairs on Friday


The Lira was trading off the back foot after domestic core inflation hit the highest level in 13 years but cratered when headlines surfaced that President Erdogan has been accused of helping Iran avoid US/international sanction but.Given the tenuous USA-Turkey relationships this latest headline has carry trade investors running for cover once again

On the inflation front, with inflation touching 13 years higher there  little to no expectation the Central Bank will loosen monetary policy to spur the economy which saw the Lira fell nearly 1 %


The Rand  weakness is likely to a combination of some moving parts, but the sell-off appears to be  more a function of credit rating jitters as the market is awaiting word from both S&P and Moody’s

Post NFP Market Action

While the NFP came below the market towering expectations, but with a +90k revision to Aug-Sept jobs, the data implies the hurricane influence was terrible, but not as bad as had  been reported, so this months rebound was less influential

However, wage growth came in dismally low, but with the hurricane’s distorting effects thought to be skewing the data, there should be no muss or any fuss from the Fed. And while the inflation watchdogs on the FOMC will fret but given the booming US economy, the Fed is pushing forward with December rate hike despite the skinny paychecks fully expecting that wages should respond to the strength in the other payroll headlines. Overall the markets didn’t read too much into weak October AHE growth, which should bounce back in November.

After the USD knee-jerk, astute traders bought dollar on the dip, and ISM non-manufacturing confirmed that fading the primary post-NFP USD weakness was the correct call. The robust print greenlighted a wave USD buying into the weekend, although in G10 ranges were respected.

To be honest, if you didn’t know there was an NFP release on Friday, you might have missed it as price action was neither USD hostile or supportive.

Jay Powell

Munchin finally got his man convincing Trump that continuity and stability at the Fed helm were essential and Jay Powell appointment suggests just that. Powell will not deviate too far from current Fed policy stance while supporting Tumps self-proclaimed stance of being a ” low-interest rate person.” And while his appointment proved to be anticlimactic market chatter was picking up on Friday debating not only the makeup of the new FOMC board but who will be the essential Vice Fed Chair as that post is now the high unknown

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
Stephen Innes

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