Sustained belief

Equity markets are poised to open in the green once more on Thursday, continuing what has been a rather strange week of trade so far.

We’ve seemingly gone from euphoria at the start of the year on the back of some really encouraging economic data to turning a blind eye to it when it suits. It’s all really quite odd, especially when other corners of the market are behaving in a more orthodox manner, which begs the question, what do equity (and crypto) traders know that the rest of us do not?

In the last two weeks, we’ve had a red-hot jobs report, a more modest decline in inflation data, and a really strong retail sales release. As you would expect, that’s triggered a retreat in gold and an adjustment in bonds to account for rates likely rising further and maybe no longer falling later this year. That seems perfectly reasonable.

While I am of the view that the pendulum has now probably swung too far the other way on rate expectations this year, I’m not quite as willing to ignore these releases as many clearly are. It could come back to bite them if we don’t see a swift cooling next month.

Cause for concern for the RBA

The Australian dollar has recovered earlier losses that came on the back of weaker employment figures. For a second straight month, the unemployment rate ticked higher and employment fell, alongside a slight downward revision to December on the latter. While this wouldn’t typically be considered good news, investors have been forced to accept the possibility of higher interest rates recently as inflation has stayed stubbornly high.

A slightly looser labour market will alleviate some of those fears of inflation becoming entrenched, although more evidence will be required to appease RBA policymakers after the last couple of inflation prints. Markets are still pricing in a few more 25-basis point hikes over the coming months before cuts begin either late this year or early next. A further deterioration in the labour market could see those expectations pared back further.

Oil preparing to break higher?

Oil prices are very choppy at the moment, with traders having a lot to take in, be that a 500,000 barrel decline in Russian output in March, a strong Chinese economic recovery, and an uncertain global outlook amid ongoing monetary tightening, among other things.

It would appear crude has settled into a range, although it continues to trade at the upper end of that recently which may indicate a breakout attempt is developing. A move above $89 could be a very bullish development and suggest a tighter market is being more heavily priced in, aligning with comments from OPEC on Tuesday.

First big test

Gold traders don’t share the enthusiasm in equity markets and the yellow metal has continued to trend lower in the aftermath of recent data releases. It ran into support around $1,830 on Wednesday, around the upper end of the first barrier to the downside.

This sits around the 38.2% retracement of the move from the November lows to February highs and coincides with support and resistance in December and January. The bigger test arguably lies a little lower around $1,780-$1,800, should it get that far.

A bright future for bitcoin?

It’s been a fantastic 24 hours for bitcoin and one that could generate further enthusiasm for cryptos, with it hitting a new six-month high and breaking above another big moving average only days after a bullish rebound off the 200-day SMA. While regulatory crackdowns continue to drive some unease, there’s clearly a growing sense of relief that the worst is behind it for the industry and 2023 could be a much better year. The next big test falls around $24,500-$25,500, a break of which could convince any remaining doubters that the future is bright.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar:

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.

Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam
Craig Erlam

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