The bullish dollar narrative was fairly straightforward. Yes, the US main challengers, China and Russia, have been hobbled in different ways by self-inflicted injuries. Still, the driver of the dollar was the expected aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. The market accepted that after being a bit slower than ideal (though faster and before many other large central banks), the Fed would move forcefully against inflation, even if it diminished the chances of an economic soft-landing. However, now the market seems to have a different reaction function. The euro was impressively resilient after the job growth of more than twice expectations. However, the softer than expected US CPI sent the dollar broadly lower, inflicting some apparent technical damage to
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The bullish dollar narrative was fairly straightforward. Yes, the US main challengers, China and Russia, have been hobbled in different ways by self-inflicted injuries. Still, the driver of the dollar was the expected aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. The market accepted that after being a bit slower than ideal (though faster and before many other large central banks), the Fed would move forcefully against inflation, even if it diminished the chances of an economic soft-landing.
However, now the market seems to have a different reaction function. The euro was impressively resilient after the job growth of more than twice expectations. However, the softer than expected US CPI sent the dollar broadly lower, inflicting some apparent technical damage to the charts.
We are reluctant to chase the dollar lower and impressed in a week that the US reported a decline in CPI and PPI that the 10-year bond yield closed a few basis points higher and the first back-to-back weekly increase in two months. Technically, it seems that the dollar's pullback, nearly a month-old, move is getting maybe getting stretched. We will try to identify levels that could confirm another leg lower and what would suggest the US dollar may snap back.
Dollar Index: After reaching almost 107.00 after the stronger than expected jobs data, the Dollar Index fell to almost 104.65 in response to the softer than expected CPI. It was the lowest level since the end of June. The MACD is still falling but oversold. The Slow Stochastic looks poised to turn lower from the middle of the range. Nevertheless, we like it higher in the coming days. We target 106.30 and then 107.00. A move above 107.50 could signal a return to the highs near 109.30 from mid-July. That said, a close below 105.00 would boost the risk of another leg lower.
Euro: The euro rallied strongly after the softer US CPI, but a key trendline drawn off the February, March, and June highs begins the new week near $1.0375 remains unchallenged. Although the momentum indicators allow for additional gains, we look for the euro to push lower in the coming days. Only a move above the trendline would give it new life. We think the greater likelihood is for the single currency to initially ease toward $1.0180-$1.0200. It may take a break of $1.01 to signal a return to the 20-year low set in mid-July near $0.9950. The US two-year premium over Germany narrowed every day last week for a cumulative 11 bp to near 2.66%. Italy's premium over Germany was trimmed by six basis points. It was the third week of convergence, but at 0.75%, it is still nearly twice what it was in June.
Japanese Yen: The greenback was pushed away from JPY135 by the decline in US rates after the CPI figures. It was sold to about JPY131.75, holding above the month's low set on August 2 near JPY130.40. However, US rates closed firmer on the week despite three softer-than-expected price reports (CPI, PPI, and import/export prices). As a result, the greenback looks poised to test the JPY135.00-50 ceiling. A move above JPY136 would target the JPY137.50 area. We have emphasized the strong correlation between changes in the exchange rate and the US 10-year yield. That correlation is off its highs though still above 0.50, while the correlation with the US two-year yield has risen toward 0.65, the highest in five months.
British Pound: Sterling rose to $1.2275 in the broad US dollar sell-off in the middle of last week. It stalled in front of the high set on August 2, a little shy of $1.23. This sets up a potential double top formation with a neckline at $1.20. A break would re-target the two-year low set in July near $1.1760. The MACD is set to turn down. The Slow Stochastic is going sideways in the middle of the range after pulling back earlier this month. Sentiment seems poor, and in the week ahead, the UK is expected to report some easing in the labor market, accelerating consumer prices, and another decline in retail sales.
Canadian Dollar: The US dollar fell to near a two-month low last week slightly below CAD1.2730, and slipped through the 200-day moving average on an intraday basis for the first time since June 9. The test of the (61.8%) retracement of this year's rally (early April low ~CAD1.2400 and the mid-July high ~CAD1.3225) found near CAD1.2715 was successful. The US dollar recovered ahead of the weekend back to the CAD1.2800 area. Although the momentum indicators give room for further US dollar losses, we suspect a near-term low is in place and look for an upside correction toward CAD1.2850-CAD1.2900. The Canadian dollar remains sensitive to the immediate risk environment reflected in the change in the S&P 500. The correlation over the past 30 sessions is a little better than 0.60. The correlation reached a two-year high in June near 0.80. The exchange rate's correlation (30 sessions) with oil prices (WTI) set this year's high in early August near 0.60. It is now slightly below 0.50.
Australian Dollar: Although our bias is for the US dollar to correct higher, the Aussie does not line up quite as well. It broke above the high set at the start of the month near $0.7050 and has held above it. However, its surge stalled slightly above $0.7135, and it consolidated in a narrow range around $0.7100 ahead of the weekend. The momentum indicators are constructive. The main hurdle is the 200-day moving average near $0.7150 and the (50%) retracement of this year's decline (~$0.7660 in early April and ~$6680 in mid-July) found near $0.7170. A break of this area could see a return to the June high by $0.7285.
Mexican Peso: Latin American currencies had a good week, except for the Argentine peso, which fell by more than 1%, for the dubious honor of being the poorest performer in the emerging markets. Led by Chile (+3.9%) and the Colombian peso (3.8%), Latam currencies accounted for half of the top five performers last week. The peso's 2.7% gain was its best in five months, and the dollar was sold a little through MXN19.85, its lowest level since late June when it reached almost MXN19.82.There seems little to prevent a move toward MXN19.50. Any worries that AMLO's appointments to the central bank would block aggressive tightening of monetary policy must have evaporated as Banxico demonstrated a resolve to hike rates and shadow the US.
Chinese Yuan: The yuan took a step lower from mid-April until mid-May. Since then, it has been trading within the range more or less seen in the second half of May. That dollar range is roughly CNY6.650 to CNY6.77. For the past month, the dollar has traded between CNY6.72 and CNY6.78, fraying the upper end of the broader range after the greenback surged broadly after the US employment data. Policymakers have signaled concern about inflation and its reluctance to ease monetary policy. It would seem the domestic policy efforts might favor a firm yuan.