Week In FX Europe – Forex Market Seek Risk/Reward Opportunities

    • EUR Squeezed on the crosses
    • Geo-political risks aids commodities
    • FED content with low-rate environment

All any forex trader requires is some kind of market movement. A move either up or down, not the ‘contained’ ranges that ends up more often trading sideways. This has been a common occurrence throughout the fist-half of 2014. Unfortunately, this type of market movement limits notable trading opportunities, and certainly calls into question the risk/reward of undertaking various trades.

For those not World Cup tied, this past week has been a trading feast, full of worthwhile prospects backed by a surprising Fed and a massive uptick in geopolitical risks.

In midweek, Ms. Yellen and company at the Fed gave the market the green light to proceed with business as usual by reiterating “lower for longer rate policy.” This reassurance has taken many in the market by surprise. Dealers and investors were very much positioned for more hawkish rhetoric from the Fed head.

The fixed-income market had been pricing an aggressive showing by the Fed, especially on the back of this weeks surprising American inflation report. The unexpectedly large increase to the May CPI report (+0.4%, m/m and +2.1%, y/y) was suppose to provide fodder for the FOMC ‘hawks’. The market was looking for any indication that the Fed debate would be shifting from “reducing” to “removing” policy accommodation. This favored higher US short-term rates, the dollar in demand and the value of equities being questioned.

However, the dovish outcome had investors scrambling to unwind some dollar longs, squeezed the short EUR positions and breathed some much needed life back into the commodity market (aided by Ukraine and Iraq). Now that that noise is over, where does the market go to from here? Again the market is back to watching fundamentals, looking for inflation data scraps, just like CAD’s surprising CPI data that could change the BoC script. The loonie got a lift early Friday, squeezing the EUR on the cross.

A low rate environment certainly promotes low volatility and endorses the popular “carry trade. Until the markets gets sustainable rate divergence by G10 Central Banks, either the Fed hikes or the ECB follows through with an ‘easing monetary policy,’ we can expect more of the same, peppered and trumped by geo-political risk. This risk tends to be priced in by weeks end and unwound at the beginning of every week.

The metals markets appear to be increasingly more critical of the Fed’s inflation-curbing credentials however, piling into the “store of value” trade. Aiding commodity prices is the escalating tension in Iraq which continues to lure investors into safer haven assets and reason enough to see gold rally to its biggest intraday gain in nine-month ($1,312oz) this week. The yellow metal has managed to climb +5% this month alone. Crude has seen a similar story, with Brent ($115) trading +5.5% during the same time period, supported by distribution and potential supply constraints as the holiday driving season gets underway stateside. The longer the Iraqi insurgency lasts the more difficult it will be for Iraq to fulfill its daily production quota (around +6m bpd) which would have massive implications for oil markets and commodity sensitive currencies in the foreseeable future.

Traders can now be expected to lean more heavily on geo-political concerns until Central Banks break with “business as usual.”

On tap for next week:

The market will be focusing on global manufacturing PMI’s, starting with China this weekend. Chinese indices are mixed going into Sunday’s flash PMI release. The most recent figure of 49.4 was a five-month high, albeit the fifth consecutive month in contraction. Europe and German follow on Monday. In the midst of the first round of the World Cup, traders will get to gage German business and US consumer sentiment. After US durables the week wounds off with German preliminary inflation numbers.


* CNY HSBC China Flash Manufacturing PMI
* USD Gross Domestic Product
* JPY Tokyo Consumer Price Index
* EUR German Ifo Business Climate
* GBP Gross Domestic Product

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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