Risk-aversion lifts US dollar in Asia

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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Jeffrey Halley

Jeffrey Halley

Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, from 2016 to August 2022
With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley was OANDA’s Senior Market Analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV and Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

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