The Dollar is trading higher versus all major currencies
except the Yen. Investor concerns about the sovereign debt woes in Greece will
simply not go away. Traders are taking protection overnight in the Dollar and
the Japanese Yen.
The EUR USD is heading lower, pressured by concerns that
despite the proposal of a new budget plan, Greece lacks the means to deal with
its deficit issues on its own. Fears are also being raised that the fiscal
problems in Greece
are not isolated and may spread throughout the Euro Region should it default on
This morning the European Central Bank will make its
monetary policy announcement. The consensus says that interest rates will
remain at the historically low 1% level. The focus will be on ECB President
Trichetâ€™s press conference. Although he will discuss the Euro Zone economic
situation as usual, he will most likely be peppered with questions regarding
the growing concerns about Greece.
Traders are anticipating that he will warn other countries about getting their
budgets in order. In addition, he will address the possibility that the ECB or
the European Union will come to the rescue of Greece. This is unlikely, however,
because they both lack the authority to enact such a move. It may take action
from the International Monetary Fund to avoid a catastrophic collapse.
Adding further to the Euroâ€™s woes was the news that German
Factory Orders plunged 2.3%. This report coupled with the recent string of good
U.S. economic reports
signals that the global recovery may be uneven with the U.S. surging while Europe
remains stagnate. Despite the European economic problems, the main issues
facing the Euro remain the Greece
situation and debt relief.
The Bank of England is expected to announce this morning
that interest rates will remain at a historically low level. The key to the
direction of the GBP USD will be whether BoE members vote to continue
purchasing assets in an effort to support the economy. The poor showing in the
last quarterly GDP report and softening money supply growth are two reasons why
the BoE may decide to expand or extend its quantitative easing program. The
recent performance in the economy shows that the U.K. stimulus programs have been a
failure. Some may argue that expanding the program will be inflationary as
evidenced by the most recent spike in U.K. consumer inflation. This could
cause a split vote amongst BoE officials.
The USD JPY is under pressure this morning as investors seek
safety in lower yielding assets over concerns about the possibility of
sovereign debt default. The Japanese Yen tends to strengthen during economic
turmoil and uncertainty. Look for this pair to be the risk sentiment indicator
today. As long as the fear of default exists, the Yen should continue to
appreciate. At this time, the Bank of Japan has no plans to halt the rise in
its currency. This could help fuel a steep decline in the USD JPY over the
The stronger Dollar is pressuring demand for commodities,
namely gold and crude oil. This is helping to pressure the Canadian Dollar.
Upside momentum is building which could send the USD CAD back to the last main
top at 1.0720 rather quickly.
The weakening Euro has once again raised fears the Swiss
National Bank may intervene to prevent the Swiss Franc from appreciating too
much versus the Euro. This is helping the USD CHF mount a strong rally this
morning. The USD CHF is in a position to test last weekâ€™s high at 1.0642.This is where this pair stopped last week
following an intervention by the SNB.
The AUD USD is trading sharply lower overnight. This action
has triggered a new low for the week. News that Australian Retail Sales dropped
0.7% in December fueled most of last nightâ€™s break. Additional pressure is
coming from a fall in demand for higher yielding assets. Concerns over risk
will be the catalyst that may drive this market down to the December low at
The NZD USD plunged to its lowest level since September
overnight following the news that the New Zealand unemployment rate
surged to its highest level since 1999. The move from 6.5% to 7.3% confirms the
Reserve Bank of New Zealandâ€™s
concerns about a weak economy. Todayâ€™s bearish news may force the RBNZ to
change its forecast for a rate hike from the middle of the year to later.
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