Another 48 hours

Another 48 hours

The previous 48 hours have been all-encompassing as Forex desks are dealing with a combination of month/quarter end flows, bloodletting in equity and rates,  amidst a massive wave of USD short covering. The US dollar was again heavily bid overnight as equity markets had another horrible session getting dragged lower by the blowout in leading technology names and US yields responded by dripping lower.And what do we have to look forward to before diving into our Cadbury Creme Egg’s ?, Another 48 hours of course.

It’s as if someone flipped a switch and now everyone hates the dollar short position with the US administration swinging a massive economic and political stick to pressure friendly exporting nations into trade deals, and by extension, accidentally appreciating the US dollar. Probably not the desired outcome given the administrations trade policy intentions suggest a preference for a weaker USD.

So the combination of early month-end position squaring and icing of trade tensions dominated in an otherwise slipshod day in the currency markets. Devoid of tier one data and with only a positive US GDP to gauge sentiment, but that too provided a sufficient US dollar fillip to accompany the premature month-end short dollar position culling. Indeed a painful few days for USDJPY bears if somehow you had not squared ahead of this potentially upending week given the likelihood of a stronger USD on the rebalancing theme. But there’s a distinct lack of participation from the short dollar perspective,  most G-10 traders had already adopted a know when to hold em, and know when to fold em strategy but remain incredibly patient looking for more excellent levels to re-engage their preferred USD short positioning.

But for the mean reversionists in us all, if there was a strong case to be made to  “buy on cannons sell on trumpets” it’s certainly shaping up to be a decent opportunity in both the weaker US equity markets and rebounding dollar narrative.
But unquestionably, some very strong persuasions are being tested given the market has been focused on stronger EUR, GBP and JPY storylines for some time. This current USD move will either prove to be a brilliant opportunity to rejoin the battle ( short dollar trade) or a watershed moment for USD bullish contrarians.

However, on the back of a weak tail end bid to cover ratio form of this week’s US treasuries auction supply, USDJPY has moved off its overnight peak on weaker demand. But I wouldn’t make a meal of one tranche in this latest auction results since there’s been a stellar flight to quality demand all week. Indeed rates have proven a cleaner trade to play the evolving major macro themes in current market conditions. .
Oil markets

DoE inventories released on Wednesday showed a build of total crude oil inventories of +1.64mn vs -0.85mn draw median, on the back of the eyewatering API build of +5.32mn. But none the less, prices are icing ahead of the holiday weekend as WTI has stabilised towards $ 64.50. Inventory data is turning into more of a guessing game than pure science. So while offering short-term specs an opportunity to job the action, from a longer-term perspective, there are few specific directional takeaways from this extremely volatile data set these days.

There was also news that OPEC could be shifting goalposts once again with OPEC producers and non-OPEC compliant members suggesting a willingness to extend the supply curbs beyond 2018 with both Russia and Saudi Arabia leading the charge.
Gold prices

Gold prices came off heavy on the back of the resurgent dollar and easing of  North Asia political tension, as the canary in the goldmine was sending off warning signals. But trading top end breakout signals are incredibly challenging amidst the multitudes of headline risk.But with the COMEX and DXY so strongly correlated, gold bulls were utterly overwhelmed by the resurgent dollar as stop-loss triggers amplified the sell-off. However, positioning should be much cleaner now below $ 1330.00, and if not for the long weekend approaching I suspect more investors would view current levels as very attractive,  and while investor demand could wane ahead of the holiday weekend, institutional support at $ 1.323-1325 areas remain solid.

Currency Markets

The Japanese Yen

USDJPY has been steering the bus overnight on the backdrop of easing of regional geopolitical tensions. The equity meltdown has not translated into the expected JPY strength, and flat out levelling the most heavily subscribed USD short position in the markets.

The Euro

In the absence of relevant news, , EUR was prone to the broader USD moves today and made another leg lower, dropping to a low of 1.2335. Big picture, the pair still looks relatively tame and rangy and suggesting Monday’s beak out a false flag signal

The Malaysian Ringgit

A bit of a puzzle with the easing of North Korea tensions indicate a  big boost to regional sentiment, but trader remains confounded by the stronger USD narrative.And while the easing of geopolitical tension and the downplaying of trade war rhetoric certainly bodes well, with US yields rallying, this is a definite carry trade signal into the MGS’s even more so for those investors positioning for the re-emergence of USD dollar negativity. However, the stars need to realign again from a yield, risk and a weaker USD  perspective to make the push towards 3.85 which is unlikely to occur this week.

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

Latest posts by Stephen Innes (see all)