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Monday March 15, 2010 - 13:20:51 GMT
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Dollar Set to Rally on Lower Demand for Risky Assets

A drop in Asian equity markets is leading to spillover selling in the U.S. markets. The follow-through to the downside overnight appears to be a continuation of the sharp break from the high on Friday. Concerns over a credit rating cut in the U.K. and the lack of a bailout plan for Greece are two reasons for the selling pressure. This morning’s weakness will be a good test of investor demand since they have grown accustomed to buying dips throughout the recent rally.


Trader demand for safety is helping to underpin the June Treasury Bonds. Friday’s closing price reversal bottom has not been confirmed yet, but a sharp break in the equity markets is likely to drive up demand for safer, lower-yielding assets.


April Gold is trading higher despite the stronger Dollar. This is an indication that investors are becoming concerned about the possibility of a sharp decline in the British Pound. The threat of a downgrade from Moody’s is pressuring the Pound and raising concerns about its ability to cover the servicing of its sovereign debt.


June Crude Oil is trading lower. A drop in demand for higher risk assets is triggering the weakness. Friday’s closing price reversal top has not been confirmed, but expectations are for this market to accelerate to the downside once the top is confirmed.


The Dollar is trading higher overnight as traders await key economic reports and tomorrow’s Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting. Overnight, traders are reacting to less demand for risk on concerns over a Greek bailout and a debt rating cut for the U.K.


Key reports today include Empire State Manufacturing, Treasury International Capital and Industrial Production.


The Empire State Manufacturing Report is expected to show a drop from 24.91 to 22.00.  Economists base their forecast on a decline in the new order index. This report is based on a survey of manufacturing executives. A number below 22.00 is a sign of a slowing economy. This would likely support the Dollar by triggering less demand for higher yielding assets.


The Treasury International Capital Report shows the flow of financial instruments into and out of the U.S. This report, which measures foreign demand for our debt and assets, is important because of its effect on Bonds and the Dollar. Strong inflows put downward pressure on interest rates. This also underpins the value of the Dollar since foreigners must purchase Dollars in order to buy our securities. Traders want to see increased foreign interest in our financial assets.


Industrial Production is called unchanged with economists guessing at a range of -0.4% to 0.2%. Recently higher Philadelphia Fed and New York Manufacturing reports have been offset by the lower ISM Index.  The Capacity Utilization Rate is expected to drop to 72.4%.  A stronger number could boost equity prices and demand for higher risk assets. This could pressure the Dollar.


The U.S. Dollar is at that point once again where traders can’t decide whether to sell it on good economic news and demand higher risk assets or buy it on the good economic news. At times last week the stronger stock market put pressure on the Dollar, but there were also instances where both the Dollar and equities rose. This condition indicates the markets may be going through a transition period which could lead to a sideways trading pattern.


What is clear today is that risk aversion is driving the U.S. Dollar higher overnight. Falling equity markets triggered the initial strength in the Dollar last night in Asia. Traders once again are expressing their concerns about the sustainability of the global economic recovery.


The March Euro is trading lower overnight on reports that a few Euro Region finance ministers are rejecting the idea of a bailout for Greece. Over the weekend ahead of the start of today’s two-day meeting in Brussels, German Finance Minister Schaeuble and French Finance Minister Lagarde downplayed the possibility of a bailout package. This news was contrary to reports last week which speculated on a $41 billion bailout proposal from German and France.


The March British Pound is trading sharply lower overnight as traders are speculating that the U.K. will be unable to service its debt, thereby increasing the odds of a credit downgrade by Moody’s. The CFTC is also reporting in its Commitment of Trader’s Report that the number of net short traders is at 67,549 as of March 2nd. Political uncertainty which could lead to a “hung parliament” is also contributing to today’s weakness. Continue to look for downside pressure on the British Pound.


Despite demand for lower risk assets, the March Japanese Yen is trading lower. Concerns that the Japanese government may begin implementing a plan to ease the rise in the Yen is weighing on the currency and supporting the Dollar.


The fall in the Euro is helping to halt the rally in the March Swiss Franc. Traders expect another round of intervention by the Swiss National Bank if the Euro continues to decline. A turnaround in the Euro today will strengthen the Swiss Franc and send the March Swiss Franc toward the 50% price at .9526.


The March Canadian Dollar is up a little overnight, but trading inside of Friday’s range. Upside momentum is building for a test of parity over the near-term. For the most part, traders are looking for traders are ignoring the overnight demand for higher risk assets and focusing on the improving Canadian government.





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