China concerns boost the US dollar
The US dollar booked some modest gains post-Non-Farm Payrolls on Friday, but the dollar index resistance zone at 104.00 held once again. The dollar index finished 0.11% higher at 103.66 having traded in a wide range intra-day. The risk aversion China slowdown price action seen in equities has spilt into currency markets today, lifting the US dollar after US 10-year yields closed comfortably above 3.0% on Friday. The dollar index has risen 0.34% to 104.00 and is, once again, making a determined test of resistance here. Support at 102.50 remains intact. A close above 104.00 will signal rapid gains to 105.00 and in the bigger picture, the technical picture still says a multi-month rally to above 120.00 is possible.
EUR/USD and GBP/USD have fallen by 0.35% today to 1.0508 and 1.2290. EUR/USD support at 1.0470 is in jeopardy, while GBP/USD is threatening the Friday lows of 1.2275, having closed on support at 1.2325 last week. EUR/USD rallies above 1.0650 will be challenging to sustain now, with the 45-year trendline at 1.0800 now distant. Similarly, GBP/USD will run into headwinds between 1.2400 and 1.2500. The technical picture signals much lower levels for both and a formal declaration of war from Mr Putin against Ukraine today will signal a test of 1.0300 and 1.2000 in the coming days, if not sooner.
USD/JPY has crept higher over the past few sessions, rising 0.30% today to 130.95. With the Bank of Japan showing no signs of adjusting its 0.25% JGB yield cap, and US rates continuing to climb as the Fed gets busy fighting inflation, downside pressure on the yen seems inevitable. Support lies at 128.50, but a rally by USD/JPY through 131.35 sets the stage for a move to the 135.00 area.
Plummeting stock markets in Asia appear to be prompting heavy outflows from Asian currencies today, with USD/CNH and USD/CNY over 0.50%, as are the USD/THB and USD/INR. Elsewhere across the region, the US dollar has booked 0.30% plus gains versus the IDR, SGD, MYR, and KRW. Chinese officials have still not made overt noises about the pace of the CNY sell-off to 6.7050, despite setting a slightly stronger fixing today. USD/INR has traded at all-time highs around 77.255 today and has fallen around 1.80% since the RBI’s last week.
That does leave the RBI in somewhat of a bind, and it is an issue the Bank Indonesia and others around Asia will be feeling sooner, rather than later. In the first instance, thanks to Asia’s huge FX reserves, I expect some judicious “smoothing” to be the first strategy. Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea have already taken this route, I suspect. If international sentiment continues to fall and the US dollar continues to gain, those noises may get louder, but ultimately, regional central banks will fight a losing battle if China remains comfortable with yuan depreciation.
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