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Forex Trading StrategiesJPY weakens across the board overnight - is the bout of JPY strength over with?
Europe and US get partially back to work after Monday holiday. No real US data of interest until next Tuesday (ISM and FOMC Minutes)
MAJOR HEADLINES – PREVIOUS SESSION
• Last Friday: Weaker than expected US Nov. New Home Sales (1245k vs. 1300k expected and 1424k in Oct.)
• Last Friday: Higher than expected US University of Michigan Confidence.
• Yesterday: Japan Dept. Store Sales rose 3.2% YoY
• Overnight: Japan Jobless Rate 4.6% vs. 4.3% expected
• Japan Workers’ Household Spending fell –0.7% vs +0.1% exp.
• Tokyo Dec. CPI rose 0.1% vs. 0.2% expected.
• Japan Nationwide CPI ex Fresh Food fell –0.1% as expected. (but year-on-year posted +0.1% - the first rise in 2 years)
• Japan Housing Starts rise 12.6% vs. 7.3% expected in Nov.
JPY was weak vs. the broader market, with USD/JPY back above 117.00 and EUR/JPY up sharply above 138.50.
THEMES TO WATCH – UPCOMING SESSION
It's tough to read the markets here in the holiday season as we have to consider the various factors in the market and whether the calendar year and low liquidity are warping the "real" market. The most difficult phenomenon to draw a bead on here is the stronger USD we saw last week. We can build a scenario around why the USD strengthened again - perhaps the market has been too quick in pricing in a slowing or stopping of the FOMC hiking regime after the latest meeting and change of the FOMC statement. US economic data has also been reasonably strong and stock markets have continued higher (We do note with interest, however, the huge fall in New Home Sales and wonder whether the Existing Home Sales number released Thursday will show a continuation of the toppish pattern it seems to have been forming over the last few months). Perhaps most importantly, we see from the recent TICS data that one of the major drivers of the market this year has been massive inflows of capital into the US, which have amazingly kept pace with the huge trade and budget deficits, though TICS data is better at explaining what happened rather than what is going to happen.
But the rate picture here simply does not add up to a stronger USD - as the rate differentials between Europe and the US have fallen quite sharply in recent weeks - particularly in the 1 to 5-year area of the curve. Also, we're nearing the end of the calendar year and therefore nearing the end of the large, but unquantifiable US corporate repatriation flows. So, despite the technical failure of EUR/USD falling back through 1.1900/1.1870 again, we cast a jaundiced eye on the stronger USD until we see 1.1800 taken out in EUR/USD, and renew the bearish USD view if 1.1940 falls to the upside. We'd feel more comfortable giving the stronger USD scenario the nod if US rates head higher again.
Elsewhere, the clearly weak JPY overnight vs. the broader market makes us wonder if the recent bout of JPY strength is over with. The first big move in JPY strength may have just been a healthy, if violent, adjustment in the ridiculously overpositioned market we had when USD/JPY was trading 121.00+. The first round of important data from Japan overnight wasn't terribly supportive of the Yen. Still, USD/JPY will have to work its way through the 117.60 to 118.30 zone and EUR/JPY back through 140.00 if we want to neutralize the technicals again.
AUD also looks weak as it hangs near 0.7270 support, but a study of the last 12 months of AUD/USD moves seems to show a lack of trending, but rather a slowly descending channel that may hold unless we really blast quickly through 0.7200/0.7150 here soon.
Note: the support/resistance levels used in the matrix’s of this document are levels derived from yesterday high, low and close. Reference in the text to other support/resistance levels will occur.
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