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Friday April 16, 2010 - 16:18:30 GMT
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U.S. Dollar Mixed; Euro, Pound under Pressure

The U.S. Dollar is trading mixed overnight. The Greenback is trading higher against he heavyweight Euro and British Pound and down versus the Japanese Yen and New Zealand Dollar. There is no major theme yet, but traders seem to be leaning against risk.

 

There are two economic reports today that may move the Dollar. U.S. Housing Starts are expected to show a modest increase to 0.605M following a drop to 0.575M in February. Traders are speculating that weather improvements and the new spring building season may have lead to the increase in the number of new units. The fundamentals remain weak however, based on the supply of new and existing homes available. Foreclosures are also a major problem.  A lower than expected number should weaken the Dollar as it would indicate lower interest rates.

 

U.S. Consumer Sentiment is expected to show a rise in March. This month’s report is expected to come in at 75.0 versus a February figure of 73.6. The improving jobs picture apparently had a major influence on consumers. Earlier this week it was reported that consumers spoke with their pocketbooks after retail sales rose more than expected. This report is not likely to have that big of an effect on the Dollar unless it is way of line with expectations.

 

Late in the trading session, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig speaks. In his 12:30 pm EDT speech, Hoenig is expected to discuss the reasoning behind his demand that the Fed begin raising interest rates. At the last two FOMC policy meetings, Hoenig was the lone dissenter. Hoenig is also expected to warn about potential asset bubbles because of the Fed stance to keep interest rates low for an “extended period”. His speech may catch traders off guard late in the trading session. Talk of higher interest rates may spook the equity markets while driving traders into the U.S. Dollar.

 

The EUR USD is trading lower ahead of the New York session. Last night’s low at 1.3513 almost filled the gap left Sunday night at 1.3498. The daily chart indicates that the break may not stop there with 1.3486 to 1.3438 the next potential downside target. With the main trend up on the daily chart, don’t be surprised by a technical bounce following a test of this retracement zone.

 

Fundamentally, the Euro remains weak and faces a credibility crisis because of the lingering sovereign debt problems in Greece. Although a financial aid package was supposedly agreed upon on April 11th, traders are beginning to realize that this may have been a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution. With fiscal problems still lingering, the International Monetary fund has agreed to meet with Greece on Monday to discuss its current financial issues.

 

The spread between the Greek Bond and the German Bund continues to be the best indicator that problems exist. Investors have driven up the premium to buy Greek Bonds to over 400 basis points, or its highest level since the rescue plan was announced. The consensus among traders is that the proposed $61 billion aid package may not be enough to help Greece. Furthermore, traders are now looking for the Euro Zone’s sovereign debt issues to begin spreading to Portugal. Without a viable plan to fight the spread of additional fiscal problems, look for hedge funds to continue to press the Euro lower as well as sell rallies.

 

The British Pound is trading weaker overnight following an election debate in the U.K. which once again raised concerns about the possibility of a hung parliament. Doubts are being raised by traders as to whether major parties involved in the election have viable plans to contain the country’s growing budget deficit. Many traders are also losing confidence in this current rally as they suspect that long traders will begin liquidating their positions as the May 6th election date draws near.

 

Technically, this market weakened overnight when an uptrending Gann angle from the 1.4797 bottom at 1.5337 was violated. This move indicates impending weakness with a strong possibility of a break to at least 1.5160 on April 20th.

 

The weaker Euro is helping to boost the USD CHF overnight. Traders are anticipating another round of intervention by the Swiss National Bank to protect its currency and exports. For the fourth time this week, this market is having trouble penetrating a 50% retracement level at 1.0609 which means a breakout through this price is likely to lead to an acceleration to the upside.

 

The USD JPY is trading weaker overnight. Traders could be bracing for a sell-off in U.S. equities or anticipating a revaluation of the Chinese Yuan as early as next week. The daily chart indicates a move to 92.26 to 92.02 is likely over the near-term. A failure to hold this area indicates a further decline to 91.67.

 

Position evening ahead of the April 20th Bank of Canada meeting is helping to boost the USD CAD. Based on the short-term range of 1.0104 to .9952, the retracement zone at 1.0028 to 1.0046 could prove to be strong resistance. The main trend remains down until 1.0104 is taken out. Short-term, the Canadian Dollar may be overbought, but the consensus is this currency is likely to continue to rise because of a better than expected economy and a series of interest rate hikes.

 

The AUD USD is under pressure overnight as rumors of a potential revaluation of the Chinese Yuan are most likely triggering a liquidation break. The current chart formation suggests that this week’s two day rally may be setting up a secondary lower top following Monday’s closing price reversal top. Traders should recall that the Australian Dollar broke hard earlier in the week after it was reported that mortgage approvals were less than expected. This raised questions as to whether the Reserve Bank of Australia will have enough reason to raise interest rates for the 6th time in 7 months. The short-term chart indicates a change in trend will take place on a trade through .9223 with .9194 the next downside target.

 

The New Zealand Dollar is trading slightly better overnight. Traders continue to use .7124 as a pivot price. Don’t expect this market to move very much until it pulls away from this price. In fact, don’t expect an acceleration to the upside until this pair closes over .7200. Watch for a change in trend following a break under the last swing bottom at .7085.

 

 

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