Currency Movers for June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015

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After moving sideways for most of the day EURUSD found support at 1.1203 and bounced higher at the time of FOMC press conference. EURUSD is still trading inside a bearish wedge and near resistance levels. Yesterday’s close was well above the 1.1296 level and was a positive for the bulls but the upside is likely to be limited as price is trading at upper Bollinger Bands and close to resistance levels. We might see a bit more upside today but I expect price action to stay roughly inside the bearish wedge formation as I see resistance at 1.1424 while there is intraday support at 1.1330 – 1.1340. Daily support and resistance levels in EURUSD are: 1.1296, 1.1152, 1.1020 and 1.1380, 1.1467.

ECB’s Weidmann says ball is clearly in Greece court, something the Euro group is likely to mirror in its official statement today. Greek officials meanwhile say the ball is in the creditor’s court and with both sides continuing to play the blame game there is no sign of progress. Weidmann also repeated again that the ECB is forbidden to finance states directly and stressed that the Greek situation is very different to Italy and Spain. Nothing really new on the central bank’s position on Greece.

The ECB upped ELA assistance to Greece again yesterday, indicating that it is not ready to pull the plug and take the blame for a worsening of the situation, but the assessment that Greek bank’s are solvent is increasingly becoming questionable. Still, ELA assistance is actually given by the Greek central bank, who also takes the risks.

According to Merkel Greece needs to meet obligations to creditors. It seems even the German Chancellor is running out of patience with Greece. She still said one needs to reflect carefully on Greece, but added that its always been aid for reforms on Greece and that the country has gotten “unprecedented” solidarity already. She highlighted that Ireland and Portugal have concluded their programs and that Cyrpus is on a good way while Greece has dragged its feet on some reforms and didn’t conclude the measures. Merkel also said Greece isn’t on the agenda at the next summit and that a deal between Greece and the three creditor institutions is still possible, reiterating that where there’s a will there’s a way on Greece.

There was nothing definitive regarding the timing of liftoff in the FOMC statement or press conference yesterday. September is still the best guess to start normalizing rates as the data show improvement in the economy and some pickup in inflation. Additionally, the markets are taking Yellen, and the dots, at their word that the trajectory will be “gradual.” Data, therefore, will continue to be scrutinized for hints on tightening, along with global financial conditions. Meanwhile, Fed funds futures are consistent with this stance as implied rates reveal a shallower trajectory. The market had been pricing in strong probability for 50 bps in hike by the end of the year, but that was trimmed to one 0.25% hike.

Yesterday Yellen also referenced to the strong dollar suggesting that although it has appreciated significantly, she takes into account its negative impact on the economy, but hasn’t seen it have a negative impact on exports. Though the drag from the dollar on the economy could continue for “some time”, the Fed has no target and takes its moves as one of many factors affecting the outlook. She still believes that tightening is warranted this year despite the strong dollar. The buck remains lower on the day, however, as the risk of an immediate rate hike is still somewhat distant.

Currency Pairs, Grouped Performance  (% Change)

The NZD slipped near 2010 lows against the USD today after data showed economic growth was much weaker than expected. This caused markets to anticipate further cuts in interest rates and sell the currency. As a result NZD is down against all the other major currencies and seems to be the only game in town as it has moved in excess of 1.20% against its rivals. Significant weekly support and resistance levels for NZD pairs are 0.6562 (NZDUSD), 1.6595 (EURNZD), 2.3298 (GBPNZD), 1.1659 (AUDNZD),  83.37 (NZDJPY) and 0.5753 (NZDCHF).

Main Macro Events Today

The Swiss Rate Decision. The Swiss National Bank was widely expected to keep rates unchanged and  the rate was kept at -0.75. The appreciation of the CHF since the SNB abandoned its currency target in January has put pressure on the export-oriented Swiss economy, and with the Greek crisis hanging over the Eurozone policymakers will likely take a wait-and-see stance while keeping the options of currency intervention and higher charges on sight deposits open.
US Philadelphia Fed Index: June Philly Fed comes out today. An increase to 7.0 is likely (median 8.0) following May’s dip to 6.7. The Empire State Index for the month has already been released with a drop to -2.0 from 3.1 alongside a more restrained ISM-adjusted decline to 51.6 from 51.7. Overall, producer sentiment should trend sideways in June with the ISM-adjusted average holding at 51 for a third month.
The US May headline CPI is expected to grow 0.5%, while the core index rises 0.2%. Forecast risk: upward, as the bounce in oil prices in May should help lift the headline. Market risk: downward, as inflation undershoots may affect the timing of rate hikes.

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