As expected, the European Central Bank left its interest rate unchanged, at the same level of 0%. The euro had a chance to somewhat weaken its position against the dollar. However, it missed it due to the ECB's decision to ramp up the volume of the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) by another €500bn and a subsequent comment from the head of that bank Christine Lagarde. Actually, there was nothing unexpected in this decision, we predicted such an outcome a week ago. In addition, it definitely fell into the middle of the market participants' forecast of €400-600 billion. But it was precisely this predictability that prevented the EUR/USD pair from turning south.
The hawkish sentiment of Christine Lagarde's statements also supported the European currency. It appears she tried to lower the euro rate by announcing that the ECB is closely monitoring the euro. However, the decision of the regulator not to interfere in the affairs of the foreign exchange markets influenced investors much more than a simple statement about “monitoring the exchange rate”. And the unexpectedly hawkish remark of Ms. Lagarde that if the situation with the Eurozone economy improves enough, it may not be necessary to use all these €500 billion, put the final end to the efforts of the bears to move the pair south.
As a result, having dropped to the level of 1.2060, the pair rushed to the north again, rising to the height of 1.2165, and completed the five-day period in the middle of this range, in the 1.2113 zone, practically in the same place where it started on Monday;
The weakening pound has outpaced the weak dollar. The British currency slid down as the threat of a "hard" Brexit becomes more evident. The latest statements by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen suggest that there will be no real agreement on the terms of Britain's separation from the EU. Johnson advised his citizens to prepare for a "tough" exit, von der Leyen said about the same.
It is worth emphasizing the word "real" here, since some agreement may still be reached, and we will not see the "iron curtain" blocking the tunnel under the Channel. Neither side needs it, much less at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most likely, the document that will be called the "Agreement", will have many blank spots left, which the parties will start filling in as early as 2021. But such an inferior contract will definitely not benefit the pound. The proof of this is what happened to the GBP/USD pair last week.
From the high of Friday 04 December to the low of Friday 11 December, the pound lost more than 400 points! And this despite the fact that the pair did not follow the EUR/USD in the wake, as it was until recently, but began to live a completely independent life. Having reached the local bottom at 1.3135 on Friday December 11 afternoon, it managed to win back about 90 points by the evening, putting the final chord at the level of 1.3225. However, this bounce may well turn out to be just a small correction in the pair's tendency to the south;
Due to the rise in risk sentiment, investors have lost interest in such protective assets as the dollar and the yen. As a result, these currencies reached a temporary truce and moved to a sideways trend. However, the pair never went beyond the medium-term channel, along which it has been smoothly sliding south since the end of March. And, giving a forecast for last week, the vast majority of experts (70%), supported by graphical analysis on D1, suggested that the lateral movement with bearish sentiment dominance would be continued.
In general, everything happened like that. The pair continued to move eastward, gradually reducing the amplitude of oscillations to the range of 103.85-104.55 and forming a medium-term “pennant” figure with the main support around 103.65. As for the end of the trading session, the finish was set at 104.00 this time;
Financial conglomerate Wells Fargo, one of the "big four" US banks, has published a new investment report, in which a separate page under the heading "Bitcoin - 2020's best performing and most volatile asset" is devoted to the cryptocurrency market. The authors do not directly encourage clients to invest in digital assets, but generally maintain an optimistic tone regarding their prospects. “Over the past 12 years, they have grown from literally nothing to a $560 billion market cap,” writes Wells Fargo. "Hobbies don't usually last 12 years."
The bank notes that bitcoin is up 170% over the year but warns about its high volatility. “Investing in cryptocurrencies today is akin to living in the early days of the 1850s gold rush, which involved more speculation than investing”, the bank's analysts think. And yet they add that cryptocurrencies attract a lot of attention, but not necessarily a lot of investment. (Here the title of William Shakespeare's play immediately comes to mind: "Much Ado About Nothing").
It is difficult to disagree with this: the total cryptocurrency market capitalization now is far from even its own high at the beginning of January 2018, $830 billion. And this is in a world where, according to billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, "there is a $90 trillion stock market, and God knows how many trillions are in fiat currency."
The crypto market went down another $50 billion last week: starting from $575 billion, it dropped to $525 billion. Optimists call the clear bearish trend a seasonal correction and associate it with the end of the year and the desire of investors to fix profits after such an impressive leap up. Recall that the BTC/USD pair was never able to overcome the $20,000 mark. And analysts estimated that it will be able to gain a foothold above this iconic level by the end of December, as 30% probability. The likelihood of its fall to the $15,000-15,700 zone is estimated at the same 30%.
In the meantime, the bears were able to lower quotations to $17,600, and they did it twice: on December 09 and 11. And also twice, at the time of these failures, buyers came to the rescue of bitcoin. However, they did not manage to radically reverse the trend, and as of Friday evening, December 11, bitcoin is trading in the zone of a strong support/resistance level of $18,000.
It should be noted that the Crypto Fear & Greed Index declined very slightly in seven days, from 92 to 89, still signaling the pair BTC/USD is strongly overbought, which could portend an even deeper correction.
As for the forecast for the coming week, summarizing the views of a number of experts, as well as forecasts made on the basis of a variety of methods of technical and graphical analysis, we can say the following:
The dollar is weakening. It has conceded more than 550 points to the European currency in the last month and a half alone. Finally, the pair moved to a sideways movement in the range of 1.2060-1.2165 last week. And although most oscillators (75%) and trend indicators (95%) are still green on D1, the market is waiting for a downward correction.
If you look at the statistics of a number of leading UK brokers, about 65% of their traders hold short positions. 55% of analysts agree with them as well as graphical analysis on H4 and D1, predicting a decline of the pair to the zone 1.1965-1.2010. Both a sharp drop in demand for risky assets and a "hard" Brexit can push it south.
However, given the cautious optimism of the ECB regarding the recovery of the European economy, the improvement of the epidemiological situation in the EU countries and the general weakness of the dollar, many experts believe that the pair will again move north after the correction, to the highs of the 1st quarter of 2018 in the zone of 1.2400-1.2565. Apart from analysts, the possibility of such a scenario is also confirmed by the readings of graphical analysis. And the resistance here is likely to be the round levels 1.2200 and 1.2300.
As for the events of the coming week, it is worth paying attention to the release of data on business activity in Germany and the Eurozone as well as on the US consumer market on Wednesday 16 December. But the most interesting events await us on Thursday 17 December, when, in addition to the US Fed's interest rate decision, the Summary of Economic Forecasts from the Open Markets Committee of the Fed will be published and a press conference of the leadership of this organization will take place.
We will have a lot of macro-statistics regarding the UK in the coming week. Data on the labor market of this country will be released on Tuesday, December 15, consumer prices and business activity in the services sector (Markit) will be published the next day, and a meeting of the Bank of England will be held on Thursday, December 17, where decisions will be taken both on the interest rate and on the planned volume of asset purchases. However, all these events pale in front of the threat of a "hard" Brexit. It is precisely what happens at the negotiating table between the UK and the EU that will decide the fate of the pound.
A message should be issued on the state of the negotiation process, either its termination or continuation, on Sunday, December 13. The softest (and most realistic) option would be to extend the current conditions of the transition period for another six months or a year in order to gradually move to rules similar to the basic rules of the World Trade Organization. In this case, although the downward trend of the pair would have continued, it would have been possible to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the British currency. The nearest support level in this case is 1.3100, then 1.3000 and 1.2850.
The second option is the “hardest” Brexit, without any agreements and prolongations, which will lead the pair to fall to the values of mid-May 2020 in the area of 1.2075 or even to the March low at 1.1420.
There is, of course, a third, most improbable, option in which the EU suddenly gives up its positions and completely yields to the British demands. In this case, we will see a rise of the pound first to the height of 1.3500, and then perhaps to the highs of 2018 in the area of 1.4350. Although, we repeat, this outcome is rather from the field of fiction;
The yen expects that the market's appetite for risk investments will finally recoil, and it will again turn its attention to the haven currencies. But that's what the dollar awaits too. The chance for the Japanese currency may be a "hard" Brexit, as a result of which investors will start fleeing from the euro and the pound. But what "safe haven" they will give preference to, the dollar or the yen, is another question.
85% of oscillators and 100% of trend indicators are still painted red, waiting for a further fall of the pair within the downward medium-term channel, the beginning of which was at the end of March. Supports are 103.65 and 103.15.
But the average forecast of experts is very different from the indicators. 90% of them, supported by the graphical analysis on D1, prefer the dollar and expect that the pair will first rise to the upper boundary of this channel in the area of 104.60, and then, breaking through it, the resistance of 105.00 will be tested. Although, it is entirely possible that before the onset of the new year, 2021, neither bulls nor bears will make sharp movements, and the pair will continue its sideways movement, consolidating in the 104.00 zone;
So, a correction or a repeat of the collapse of the late 2017-2018? The question is still open. Bloomberg experts believe that there is no reason for a change in the direction of bitcoin's movement now, and its cost may increase to $50,000 in 2021. “The dollar is gradually losing its position, ducking other fiat currencies,” writes this authoritative agency, “All this is noticed by investors who are forced to switch to alternative assets.” Bitcoin has significantly more support now, which minimizes the likelihood of a pullback. Open interest in the CME bitcoin futures market has exceeded $1 billion for the first time in history, which also speaks of growing support from investors.
A similar point of view is followed by the American billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, head of Tudor Investment Corporation, who said that “cryptocurrencies are facing a crazy flight on a rocket with ascents and descents along the way.” “In 20 years, bitcoin will be significantly higher than the point where it is now. From here, the road for it lies north,” Yahoo! Finance quoted him.
But Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz is less optimistic. In his opinion, bitcoin will certainly not return to zero, but may fall to the $14,000 mark. Therefore, although the losses of investors will not reach 80-90%, they may well be about 30-40%.
The report of the fintech company Cindicator is of great interest. This is due to the fact that the figures presented in it are not the opinion of individual specialists, but the average results of the survey of more than 156,000 participants of the crypto market, according to which bitcoin next year will rise to $29,569. The respondents with the most accurate forecasts, the so-called "superforcasters", on average expect even greater growth, to $32,056. As for the lower bar, according to the average forecast, it is at $15,000. “Superforcasters” are less optimistic and expect a decline to $12,000.
Cindicator's “hybrid intelligence”, which uses machine learning algorithms to process data from a team of analysts, predicts similar values, only in a narrower range. According to its calculations, the BTC rate next year will not exceed $25,222 and will not fall below $16,000. At the same time, the total capitalization of the cryptocurrency market in 2021 with a probability of 80% will surpass the 2018 record of $828 billion.
In addition to institutional investors, additional serious support for the crypto market in 2021 should be provided by countries with troubled economies and those under sanctions. As of now, the SWIFT International Banking System, together with the Financial Crimes Agency (FinCEN) and the Financial Anti-Money Laundering Development Group (FATF), control each international transaction in dollars. Because of this, the countries that have come under the sanctions are deprived of the opportunity for international trade and are literally forced to turn to cryptocurrencies. So, for example, Venezuela, which at first paid in gold, has now switched to settlements for imports with Turkey and Iran in bitcoins. At least this is evidenced by anonymous sources from the Central Bank of this country.