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Thursday March 4, 2010 - 00:43:01 GMT
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U.S. Dollar Index Changes Trend to Down

On Wednesday, the U.S. Dollar lost ground to every major currency except the New Zealand Dollar. Early selling pressure triggered a change in trend when this index took out the last main top at 80.14. In the process a new lower top was formed at 81.34. The charts are indicating a break to 77.86 is possible over the near-term.


The EUR USD rose on Wednesday to its highest level since February 17th after traders covered short positions and aggressive investors went long following the announcement that Greece managed to make additional budget cuts while increasing taxes in an attempt to shore up its dismal budget and gain favors from the European Union.


Greece’s new fiscal responsibility plan drew positive comments from Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker who said “Greece’s ambitious program to correct its fiscal imbalances is now credibly on track.”


Technically, the Euro turned the main trend to up on the daily chart for the first time since December 7th when the currency crossed the last main top at 1.3692. The action by Greece and the possibility of new government regulation of hedge funds could trigger a massive short-covering rally over the short-run to 1.4009. This is possible if a sizeable amount of the 50,000+ open shorts decide to cover their positions at the same time. Often, news driven downtrends end with the majority of the traders running for cover through one exit.


The strengthening Euro triggered some light short-covering in the GBP USD. This current move is not expected to lead to a change in trend however. The British Pound remains the weakest currency because of the U.K.’s wide budget deficit, soft monetary policy and political uncertainty.  Traders pared short positions on the belief that Greece would finally receive some bailout money from Germany and France.


The USD JPY closed lower after taking out the last main bottom at 88.55. The follow-through to the downside triggered a further decline to the .618 retracement level at 88.24. This market was weak despite strong demand for risky assets. I’m still confused about the move in the Japanese Yen. What I think is happening is the Yen isn’t getting stronger, the Dollar is getting weaker.


The USD CHF closed lower as traders bought the Swiss Franc on the idea that a rally in the Euro would diminish the need for the Swiss National Bank to flood the market with cash in an effort to protect its export sector. Downside momentum could take this market to 1.0513 over the short-run.


The USD CAD continued its downtrend on Wednesday, encouraged by speculation that the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates sometime after June. Trader sentiment shifted to the short side of this pair after the Canadian government released a better than expected Fourth Quarter GDP Report earlier in the week. Downside momentum is building which puts this market in a position to test the January bottom at 1.0224.

The market is also rapidly approaching an area which previously raised concerns at the Bank of Canada. The BoC was concerned that the rapid appreciation in the Canadian Dollar would have a detrimental effect on Canadian exports. Since the current move has been justified because of the robust economic growth, it will be interesting to see if the BoC attempts another verbal intervention or lets the currency seek its own level.


The AUD USD rallied on Wednesday, buoyed by an increase in demand for higher risk assets. Some of the rally was spillover buying from the Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate hike from earlier in the week.


After pausing momentarily near a .618 retracement level earlier today, the Aussie turned around and challenged the last main top at .9070. The move through this price turned the main trend to up, but the follow-through rally wasn’t been too impressive. The last session break in U.S. equity markets encouraged speculators to pare their long positions.


The inability to rally despite greater demand for higher yielding assets is a sign of weakness for the NZD USD. After the British Pound, the New Zealand Dollar is the next weakest currency. The daily trend is down, but buyers appear to be trying to build a support base. In spite of this effort, this market remains a long way from turning the trend to up.


Concerns over the viability of the current economic recovery are helping to keep a lid on gains. The hike in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia encouraged some selling as well as the rally in the Euro. It looks as if it is going to take a huge rally in equities and commodities to fuel a rally.


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