The dollar continues to rise, while the EUR/USD pair continues to fall. The DXY dollar index crept close to 104.9 on Thursday, May 12. The last time it climbed this high was 20 years ago. The pair found the bottom at the level of 1.0349, in the area of the lows of December 2016 - January 2017. A little more, and following DXY, it will get to where it traded 20 years ago. And there, parity 1:1 is just a stone's throw away.
EUR/USD: On the Way to 1.0000
The reason for the next strengthening of the US currency was, as usual, two factors: the recovery of the labor market and the growth of inflation. It is these factors that determine the pace of tightening monetary policy by the Fed. According to the forecast, US jobless claims should have shown a slight increase. But the actual data, released on Thursday May 12, showed that the situation in the labor market is much better than expected. The number of initial requests has grown, but not by 3K, as predicted, but only by 1K. The number of repeated requests, instead of increasing by 3K, decreased by as much as 44K.
A day earlier, on May 11, inflation data appeared. The core consumer price index in the US increased by 0.3% in April and amounted to 0.6%. This growth is much less than the 1.2% increase in March. But this does not mean at all that inflation in the country has reached a peak and will only decrease further. Not at all. Oil prices remain above $100 a barrel, pushing up the cost of goods, transportation costs and household spending. New cars increased in price by 1.1% in April (only by 0.2% in March), while airfare prices rose by 18.6% over the month, showing the largest increase in 60 years. In addition, with a high degree of probability, a series of lockdowns in China due to a new wave of coronavirus will lead to problems with logistics and commodity exchange, which will not help reduce inflation either.
The combination of these factors suggests that the US Federal Reserve is unlikely to change its plans to tighten monetary policy: to reduce the balance sheet and raise rates. Following the head of the regulator Jerome Powell, his colleagues in the FOMC - the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Loretta Mester and the head of the New York Fed John Williams supported the intention to raise the federal funds rate by 0.5% at each of the two upcoming meetings, bringing it to 2.0%.
As for their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic, the ECB's key figures advocating a start to raise interest rates are still in the minority. Most members of the Board of Governors of the Bank are still convinced that the increase in inflation in the Eurozone is a temporary phenomenon, caused primarily by rising energy prices.
As a result, a powerful divergence between the clearly hawkish position of the US Fed and the indistinctly dovish position of the ECB continues to push the EUR/USD pair down, forcing new multi-year lows.
At the moment, analysts' voices are divided as follows: 70% of analysts are confident that the dollar will continue to strengthen, the remaining 30% are waiting for the pair's correction to the north. At the same time, when switching from a weekly to a monthly forecast, the number of those voting for the growth of the pair increases to 80%. All 100% of the indicators on D1 side with the dollar, after another fall of the pair. However, 20% of oscillators are in the oversold zone. The nearest resistance is located in the zone of 1.0420, the next target of the bulls on EUR/USD is a return to the zone of 1.0480-1.0580. If successful, they will then try to break through the resistance at 1.0640 and rise to the zone of 1.0750-1.0800. For the bears, the number 1 task is to update the May 13 low of 1.0350, after which they will storm the 2017 low of 1.0340, below are only the support of 20 years ago.
As for the calendar for the coming week, we recommend paying attention to the publication of data on prices and volumes of retail sales in the US on Tuesday, May 17. The speeches of the heads of the ECB Christine Lagarde and of the Fed Jerome Powell are expected on the same day. The Eurozone Consumer Price Index will be known on Wednesday, May 18, and data on manufacturing activity and the state of the labor market in the United States will be received on Thursday, May 19.
GBP/USD: GBP Rate Hike Is Possible, But Not Obvious
As mentioned above, the DXY dollar index has reached 20-year highs. According to experts, it has risen by 5.1% over the past 4 weeks. At the same time, the GBP/USD pair fell 7.4%, outperforming the average by 2.3%. However, not everything is so bad for the British currency. The Bank of England predicted a rise in inflation from the current 7.0% (30-year high) to 10.25% at its meeting on May 05. And although the regulator left the forecast for GDP growth for the current year unchanged (+3.75%), it expects a recession starting from the Q4. The British Central Bank expects a 0.25% reduction in GDP in 2023 instead of the previously planned growth of 1.25%. According to the new forecast, GDP will grow not by 1.0%, but by only 0.25% in 2024.
This scenario, of course, cannot be called optimistic. However, a week later, on May 12, statistics showed that the country's GDP in the Q1 rose by 8.7% year-on-year, seriously exceeding the previous figure of 6.6%. This dynamics gives investors hope that the regulator will not stop at the current interest rate of 1.0%, and like the Fed, it will go on further raising it in order to fight inflation. And this, in turn, will support the British currency. Or at least keep it from sliding further down.
GBP/USD hit a weekly low at 1.2154, with the last chord at 1.2240. In case of further correction to the north, the pair will have to overcome the resistance in the zone 1.2300-1.2330, then there are zones 1.2400, 1.2470-1.2570, 1.2600-1.2635, 1.2700-1.2750, 1.2800-1.2835 and 1.2975-1.3000. When moving south, the first support will be the level of 1.2200, then 1.2154-1.2164 and 1.2075. A strong point of support for the pair is at the psychologically important level of 1.2000. 85% of experts vote for further weakening of the British currency, 15% expect a rebound upwards. And here it should be noted that when switching to forecasting until the end of the June, the number of the pair's growth supporters increases to 75%. There is still a total advantage of the red ones among the indicators on D1: 100% among trend indicators and 90% among oscillators look down. The remaining 10% among the latter have turned north.
As for the events of the upcoming week concerning the economy of the United Kingdom, we can highlight the publication of data on unemployment and wages in the country on Tuesday May 17. The new value of the Consumer Price Index will become known on Wednesday, May 18, and retail sales in the UK for April at the end of the working week, on Friday, May 20.
USD/JPY: From Return on Capital to Its Safety
The Japanese yen performed better last week than its "colleagues", the euro and the British pound. As most experts expected, the bulls tried to renew the April 28 high at 131.24. However, having risen only 10 pips higher to 131.34, they gave up, and the USD/JPY pair flew down, finding support only at 127.51. Undoubtedly, the current volatility of the pair is impressive: the weekly trading range was 383 points. This is despite the fact that it hovered around 150 points on average in the Q4 2021 - the Q1 2022. The finish of the last week took place in the central zone of the indicated range, at the level of 129.30.
Barring volatility during the coronavirus pandemic, the USD/JPY drop on Thursday May 12 was the biggest one-day swing since 2010. The strengthening of the Japanese currency, according to a number of experts, was due to the increased craving of investors for the most risk-free assets. Up to this point, the dollar has risen on the back of rising interest rates and higher yields on 10-year US Treasury bills. However, if investors continue to prefer capital preservation over returns, USD/JPY will continue to fall.
The yen was also strengthened by the expectation of changes in the policy of the Bank of Japan. Many investors, especially foreign ones, are expecting that, despite the regulator's assurances of commitment to an ultra-soft monetary policy, it may still go for an increase in interest rates. Moreover, there have already been such precedents, albeit in the opposite direction. Markets remember 2016, when the head of the Central Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, first denied the possibility of introducing negative rates categorically, and then suddenly decided to take such a step.
At the moment, experts' forecasts look as uncertain as the pair's quotes. 40% vote for its growth, 50% are in favor of the fall of the pair and the remaining 10% have taken a neutral position. There is a similar discord among the indicators on D1. As for trend indicators, 65% are green, 35% are red. The oscillators have 40% on the green side, 25% on the red side, and 35% hve turned neutral gray. The nearest support is located at 128.60, followed by zones and levels at 128.00, 127.50, 127.00, 126.30-126.75, 126.00 and 125.00. The goal of the bulls is to rise above the 130.00 horizon and renew the May 05 high at 131.34. The January 1, 2002 high of 135.19 is seen as the final goal.
Data on Japan's GDP for the Q1 of this year will be published next week, on Wednesday, May 18. It is expected that this indicator will decrease by 0.4% from the previous value of 1.1%.
Cryptocurrencies: "$1 Million per BTC, or Zero"
If you read the headlines of the last week, you get the strong impression that the cryptocurrencies have only a few months left to live, if not days. “Crypto Market Massacre”, “Bitcoin Requiem”, “Crypto Bubble Burst” are just some of them. But is it all that scary?
Indeed, the market suffers very serious losses. Bitcoin has lost about 45% of its value since the end of March, hitting $26,580 on May 12. Most other coins feel even worse. As has been said many times, the cause of panic is the global drop in investor risk appetite. The crypto market only follows in the wake of the stock market: the correlation between digital asset quotes and stock indices S&P500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq is at its maximum.
The tightening of the monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve, new outbreaks of coronavirus in China, fears about the future of the EU economy: all this has led investors to prefer the dollar over risky assets. An additional driver is rising yields on 10-year US Treasury bonds. This figure has almost doubled since March and rose over 3%: to the highest level since 2018, exceeding the returns of most sectors of the US stock market.
In addition to global factors, the collapse of the third largest stablecoin in terms of capitalization, UST, put additional pressure on the crypto market. It is believed that stablecoins serve to facilitate investment transactions and should be pegged to the real dollar in a ratio of 1:1. The price of UST immediately collapsed to $0.64, casting doubt on the ability of the Terra team to maintain its rate. Against the backdrop of problems with UST, the native Terra LUNA token also went down, losing more than 90% of its price. It cost about $120 back in April, but you can buy it for $5 now. And here it must be borne in mind that the Terra blockchain protocol is a fairly large project that was in the TOP-10 in terms of market capitalization.
The fate of the centralized stablecoin Tether with a capitalization of $82 billion causes some concern as well. An audit of this project conducted in 2021 showed that instead of dollars, which should provide a reserve for the project, there are a lot of securities in the accounts. Against this background, the sale of USDT has intensified: its capitalization has decreased by $1.4 billion in recent days.
The total capitalization of the crypto market continues to fall. At the time of writing this review, Friday evening, May 13, it is at $1.290 trillion ($1.657 trillion a week ago). The Crypto Fear & Greed Index has fallen from 22 to 10 points out of 100, firmly entrenched in the Extreme Fear zone. The BTC/USD pair, after a slight upward rebound, is trading around $30.150. The low of the week, as already mentioned, was fixed at $26.580. The last time the pair was so low was in December 2020.
The number of "whales" among bitcoin holders, whose capital exceeds the bar of 1000 BTC, is rapidly declining. This figure has already reached its lows since the beginning of the year. At the same time, the volume of cryptocurrency on the exchanges, on the contrary, is at its maximum over the past three months. According to Glassnode analysts, the average volume of coin inflows to centralized exchanges is now hovering around 1755 BTC.
Galaxy Digital founder Mike Novogratz expressed doubt that the bulls will be able to defend the $30,000 support levels for bitcoin and $2,000 for ethereum. “Until we reach a new equilibrium,” he wrote, “digital assets will continue to trade in close correlation with the Nasdaq. Intuition tells us that there will still be a drawdown ahead, and this will occur in a very unstable, volatile and complex market.” Mike Novogratz warned that the negative scenario could materialize if the Nasdaq index falls below 11,000 (it hit 11,688 on May 12).
Gold apologist, billionaire Peter Schiff, predicted the main cryptocurrency to collapse below $10,000. And another billionaire veteran of the bitcoin industry, 2020 US presidential candidate Brock Pierce said in an interview with Fox Business that it can be very successful, but it can also fail. “Bitcoin could drop to zero. Here is the binary result. Either there will be $1 million per BTC, or zero,” he said.
Pierce believes that the current “cryptocurrency landscape” is very similar to the history of the tech companies' bubble. “The situation is very similar to 1999. The market is now in the same phase. So what happened then? After the dot-com bubble, eBay, Amazon and other interesting companies appeared, but a lot of businesses went bankrupt. But this does not mean that digital assets are unrealistic and will not play an important role in our collective future,” the billionaire said. Pierce admitted that he diversified his portfolio, primarily through Ethereum. He also placed a “nine zeros” bet on EOS, converting all of his Block.one shares into cryptocurrency.
Unlike other influencers, ARK Invest CEO Katherine Wood continues to express sustained optimism and believes that the growing correlation between cryptocurrencies and traditional assets indicates that the bearish trend will end soon. The businesswoman opined that the depreciation of bitcoin along with the traditional market is a temporary phenomenon: “Cryptocurrency is a new asset class that should not follow the Nasdaq, but that is what is happening. We are currently in a bearish trend where all assets are moving in the same way and we are seeing one market after another capitulate, but cryptocurrencies may be close to completing it.”
The head of ARK Invest believes that the cryptocurrency market will grow exponentially as traditional assets collapse. “The current recession in the stock and bond markets, commodities and cryptocurrency markets is causing negative sentiment among investors. But look at our research… I can’t even tell you how confident we are that our products will change the world and are already on an exponential growth trajectory.” According to Wood, blockchain is in a technology sector that will grow more than 20 times in the next seven to eight years.
Another hope for investors is that bitcoin is already halfway to its next halving. It happened at block number 735,000 on May 05. This event occurs every 210 thousand blocks, or approximately once every four years, with a little less than 105 thousand blocks left until the next one. The halving date can be predicted to within a couple of days, because the block production time fluctuates around 10 minutes. The previous halving took place on May 11, 2020, and the next one will take place approximately in April 2024.
Halving cycles are one of the main mechanisms of the bitcoin network, which involves halving the BTC reward for miners. Accordingly, the issue of bitcoins is also halved, since miners' rewards are the only source of issuing new coins. From the inception of bitcoin to the first halving, miners were rewarded with 50 BTC per block. Then the amount in bitcoins was reduced to 25 BTC, and in the next cycle to 12.5 BTC. Currently, miners receive 6.25 BTC for mining a block. And if miners suffer losses due to halving, investors, on the contrary, earn. As observations show, before the first halving, BTC cost about $127, before the second, its price rose to $758, and before the third, to $10,943. It remains to wait for not so long, less than two years, to find out whether there will be a similar explosive rise in the price of BTC in 2024.
NordFX Analytical Group