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Tuesday February 9, 2010 - 22:54:38 GMT
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EUR USD Finishes Sharply Higher but Traders Remain Cautious

The EUR USD finished the day up sharply but backed off its high as traders took a cautious trading approach after several weeks of declines. Short-covering drove this market up on speculation that the European Union had reached a tentative agreement to provide loan guarantees to deficit-riddled Greece. Traders remain nervous about the outcome of the possible agreement. Most are unsure whether this resolution will satisfy Greece’s requirements, or be all-encompassing and include other struggling European nations such as Spain and Portugal.


One key to sustaining stability to the affected Euro Region will be solidarity. The European Union has to show the rest of the world that it is acting as one. Too often during the past few weeks, the EU has appeared disjointed. This type of behavior creates nervousness amongst investors.  Although an agreement between the EU and Greece will act to stabilize the Euro by diminishing investor fears, until it can prove that it is acting as one unit, the entire situation could flare up again.


Appetite for risky assets helped drive down the U.S. Dollar on Tuesday. Most of the action was attributed to profit-taking and position adjusting as traders booked profits after several weeks of strength. Speculation that a resolution to the sovereign debt problems in Greece and the neighboring Euro Region had been reached, started in the Euro market early in the session then spread throughout the major currencies. The Dollar did manage a gain versus the Japanese Yen as demand for safety was mitigated.


The GBP USD posted a strong finish on Tuesday after trading lower for several days while breaking key support levels. The gains in the Pound served as a relief rally, triggered by short-covering.  Investors are still skeptical about the U.K. economy as well as sovereign debt issues of its own.  U.K. traders are worried that its oversized budget deficit will encourage debt rating services to lower its credit quality. In addition, there is still lingering doubt as to what the Bank of England will do with its quantitative easing program.


Aggressive demand for higher yielding assets helped to push the USD JPY higher. Traders lightened up safe haven positions in the Japanese Yen. Volatility was not as high as expected which could be an indication that investors remain skeptical about the EU reaching a viable solution to the sovereign debt problems in Greece.  High volatility is likely to return once the plan to shore up Greece’s finances is finally approved.  Long positions in the Yen and other Asian currencies have become attractive investments because the current fiscal problems driving these markets are isolated in Europe.


Tuesday’s Euro rally took the pressure off the Swiss National Bank to intervene on the Swiss Franc’s behalf. This helped to weaken the USD CHF. The SNB will do anything to defend its currency against deflation and this includes applying intervention when necessary. As long as the Euro continues to appreciate versus the Swiss Franc, the SNB will avoid using intervention as its main tool to maintain stability and order to this currency relationship. This should help weaken the USD CHF.

Higher commodity and equity markets helped to fuel demand for risky assets. This action led investors to step up demand for the Canadian Dollar while exerting pressure on the USD CAD. The charts are indicating this pair is likely to return to the middle of its “super range” at about 1.0500.


The AUD USD and NZD USD benefitted from renewed demand for higher yielding commodities and equities. These two pairs have taken a beating lately as traders dumped asset-related currencies during the height of the Greek sovereign debt crisis. The failure of the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise rates at its last meeting and the weak New Zealand economic reports pressured both currencies. In addition, China’s decision to begin raising interest rates while cutting back on its stimulus programs have also led to speculation that demand for Australian and New Zealand goods and services would be curtailed.


A return to more “normal” risk conditions is likely to benefit both markets. Technically, both of these markets posted closing price reversal bottoms on Friday. These potentially bullish patterns were confirmed overnight. The current patterns suggest a 2 to 3 day rally appears imminent. The AUD USD has a potential upside target at .8593. The NZD USD may rally back to .7124.


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