The US dollar consolidates gains in Asia
The US dollar powered higher on Friday, with currency markets much more focused on yield differentials than equity markets. Also helping things along is that commodity markets remain mostly priced in US dollars. Oil’s rise on Friday and this morning suggest that real-economy demand for greenbacks will remain strong.
On Friday, the dollar index rose 0.40% to 91.98, with the index creeping above 92.00 to 92.03 this morning, its highest level in three months. Notably, the euro fell through support at 1.1960 on Friday, with EUR/USD testing 1.1900 this morning. The European Central Bank’s rate decision on Thursday will undoubtedly be ultra-dovish, with ECB officials expressing displeasure with the rise in Eurozone yields in no uncertain terms. That will almost certainly place more pressure on EUR/USD this week, which should target 1.1800 and could extend as low as 1.1600 in the coming fortnight.
USD/JPY rose to 108.40 as of this morning and targets 110.00 in the days ahead. It may not be a linear path, though, as short-term technical indicators are extremely overbought. USD/JPY is probably a buy-on dips to 107.50 for a move to 110.00 rather than chasing it higher at present levels.
The once bullet-proof sterling is testing the bottom of its four-month rising wedge at 1.3800 today. Failure signals a deeper correction in the weeks ahead, potentially as far as its long-term rising support line, today at 1.3430. AUD/USD and NZD/USD have both made weekly breakouts, and although attempting to regain support lines today, the technical picture suggests another 250 points lower for both at least. USD/CAD has yet to break higher but remains near resistance 1.2670, with the Canadian dollar supported by higher oil prices.
Asian currencies are threatening to capitulate to higher US yields today finally. The PBOC set the USD/CNY mid-point lower at 6.4795 today, but USD/CNY has climbed higher through 6.5000 to 6.5080. The offshore USD/CNH climbing to 6.5230. The divergence from the PBOC fixing is significant and will flow through to weakness in regional Asian currencies as well. With most of Asia running direct or dirty pegs to the US dollar, rising US yields and a strengthening greenback will present challenges of unintended consequences for regional Asia.
It becomes challenging to maintain an easy monetary policy if you semi-peg your currency to the US dollar and yields rise there. Either a weaker currency is accepted, indirectly tightening policy for deficit countries, or yields must rise, something no one in Asia wishes to contemplate. Asian currencies are mostly lower today, with the Indonesian rupiah looking most vulnerable, USD/IDR increasing 0.50% to 14,368.00 today. Monetary policy easing in Asia looks to be over, with regional central banks appearing to accept weaker currencies for now.
Overall, currency markets are ignoring retracements in equity markets and US bond markets; remaining laser-focused on yield differentials. In this scenario, US dollar strength is likely to continue with movements in the US 10 and 30-year yields dictating overall direction.
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.