EUR: No bounce, No Lift, No Life

Markets fear the unknown and with Greece we seem to be on the periphery of a black hole. Contagion fears are back in full force, not that they ever left. With Greece edging towards that EUR exit, pressure is beginning to build in all the right or wrong places. Yields on Portuguese sovereign debt is climbing faster than that of its Greek counterpart. Spanish and Italian borrowing costs are backing up. Global markets are pointing to another imminent Euro crisis, again, with “Greece at the epicenter.”

The anti-austerity rhetoric from that country appears to have intensified in the O/N session. This can only increase the possibility of another general election taking place next month, while the prospects of Greece ever exiting the EU just got that bit more likely. Why? There is a considerable risk that a left leaning coalition would be formed at the next general election with a more explicit mandate to reject the EU and IMF program. Obviously under this scenario, Greece’s continued membership would be put in question.

Market fear is not the political rhetoric, nor the rise of the lefts anti-austerity feelings, it’s the fear of what would unfold if Greece were to physically leave and lapse its Euro membership. Despite believing that a Greek exit would be probably less damaging that say it occurring a year ago, mostly due to the EU firewall building campaign, the question is not about Greece itself. It’s about whether a Greek exit “exacerbates pressure on other countries to do the same.” If so, the stability of the Euro-zone banking sector will be called further into question. How strong is that firewall? It’s now that we are getting a sense of urgency. Only last night, the Spanish government plans to require its banks to set aside between +EUR20b and +EUR40b in additional provisions as part as an effort to overhaul the country’s financial woes.

Currently, spot exchange seems to have no bounce, no lift, no life. Greek woes are keeping the EUR offered outright. Even the EUR crosses are lending a hand. Technically, there are offers into the 1.30 expiry that are slowing any drift higher and keeping the stop-losses in that handle intact for now. The rumors of Middle-east offers are helping to cap any upward general movement. On the downside, support reappears at 1.2960-50, where barrier expires are due to run off today. With this out of the way, any break of the 1.2950 level could accelerate selling allowing the single unit to further drift into the low 1.29’s.

There seems to be a change in trader sentiment and attitude towards the EUR to when we last visited this region maybe five month-ago. Many more are talking about barriers and options supporting the currency, that includes corporate demand and repatriation flows. This time around there seems to be an equal amount of bottom “feeders” and top “pickers.” Looking at the position diagram below, the percentage of shorts have reduced day over day.

Position May 9

Yesterday, close to these levels, the market was 54% short the single currency. Today, that total is 48.5%. Why? Some individuals simply believe that this currency is better supported than before. In this scenario, there is no real saturation of shorts to limit the EUR’s downside. One can expect the bottom pickers stops to be eventually triggered, adding fuel to the EUR’s existence debate.

Forex heatmap

Other Links:
EUR Rides Wave Lower

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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell