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EUR NZD - FUNDAMENTAL DRIVERS

OANDA:EURNZD   Euro / New Zealand Dollar
EUR

FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BEARISH

1. The Monetary Policy outlook for the ECB

In Oct the ECB didn’t offer new info on policy or forward guidance. Inflation was the biggest talking point among the GC . The bank acknowledged price pressures will be higher and last longer than previously anticipated. But also reiterated that CPI will move back below their 2% target in the med-term (2023). The meeting was as a placeholder meeting for Dec, where they’re expected to announce the way forward for the PEPP and API , with markets expecting a formal end to the PEPP program from March 2022 but looking for info on how and what type of transition to expect for the bond purchase plans. After the meeting, the EUR saw of upside, initially attributed to the bank not pushing back hard enough against money market forecasts for a hike next year but as we noted the move looked more in line with short covering and month-end Dollar selling. For now, the bias for policy remains dovish and a negative for the EUR. Given the past week’s covid developments, it does provide the ECB with an excuse to deliver a dovish tone to any bond purchase program decisions they announce at the Dec meeting.

2. The country’s economic developments

Earlier issues with vaccinations and lockdowns at the start of 2021 weighed on EU growth prospects, with growth differentials against the US and UK still quite wide, despite some of the recent strong economic data. Even though the recent activity data suggests the hit to the economy from previous lockdowns weren’t as bad as feared, the massive climb in case numbers across Europe, and now cases of the new Omicron variant also identified, odds for further lockdowns are increasing. Any further escalation with more member states moving into strict lockdowns will further weigh on growth prospects and the EUR, and as a result (and combined with ongoing central bank policy divergence) the fundamental outlook remains bearish for the EUR. On the fiscal front, attention is still on ongoing discussions among European states to potentially allow the purchase of green bonds NOT to count against budget deficits. Such a decision could drastically change the fiscal picture and we would expect it to be a big positive for the EUR and EU equities if that change should come to pass.

3. Funding Characteristics

The EUR’s funding characteristics are also in focus. As a low yielder (like JPY & CHF), the EUR has been a funding choice among carry trades, especially during 2019 where it was a favourite against high yielding EM’. Also, part of the EUR upside in the initial risk-off scare in March 2020 was attributed to an unwind of large carry trades. Recently the EUR has exhibited some resilience during risk off tones. As more central banks start normalizing policy, the EUR’s use as a funder could add additional pressure in the med-term . But it could also spark risk off upside if some of those trades unwind. This doesn’t make the EUR a safe haven, but as rates climb globally it can become more sensitive to carry.

4. CFTC Analysis (Delayed due to Federal holiday)

Latest CFTC data showed a positioning change of -7599 with a net non-commercial position of -3826. The Dollar’s downside on Friday was enough to provide the EUR some reprieve in the short-term. Even though we think the bounce in the EUR should be short-lived, we are not ready to look for fresh EURUSD shorts just yet, with the likes of EURNZD offering much more value at current price levels for shorts as long as the virus situation can take a turn for the positive.


NZD

FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BULLISH

1. The Monetary Policy outlook for the RBNZ

The RBNZ underwhelmed some market participants who were looking for a 50bsp hike as the bank only delivered on a 25bsp hike as consensus was expecting. Even though the NZD took a plunge after the meeting, we don’t think markets are really giving NZD the upside it deserves after the Nov RBNZ decision. Not referring to the knee-jerk lower after the 25bsp hike of course as that was fully priced in and always ran the risk ofunderwhelming the bulls, but the outlook in the MPR justifies more NZD strength. The upgrades to the economic outlook between Aug and Novwas positive, with growth seen lower in 2022 but much higher in 2023, CPI is seen higher throughout 2022 and 2023, the Unemployment rateseen lower throughout the forecast horizon, and of course the big upgrade to the OCR which is now seen at 2.6% by 2024, and the bank hasbrought forward their expectation of reaching the 2.0% neutral rate with 5 quarters. Of course, incoming data will be important (as always) andany new developments with the new Omicron variant will be watched, but barring any major deterioration in the economic data the recent sell off in the NZD does seem at odds with the fundamental, policy and economic outlook.

2. Developments surrounding the global risk outlook.

As a high-beta currency, the NZD benefited from the market's improving risk outlook coming out of the pandemic as participants moved out of safe-havens. As a pro-cyclical currency, the NZD enjoyed upside alongside other cyclical assets supported by reflation and post-recession recovery best. If expectations for the global economy remains positive the overall positive outlook for risk sentiment should be supportive for the NZD in the med-term , but recent short-term jitters are a timely reminder that risk sentiment is also a very important short-term driver.

3. Economic and health developments

We heard some good news two weeks with PM Ardern announcing that the whole country will be lifting lockdown restrictions from Nov 29th and that their domestic borders will open up from the middle of Dec, which was a positive move for businesses going into the festive season. The recent macro data has been much better than both the markets and the RBNZ had expected, but markets have not been too bothered with the incoming data. That might start to change as focus turns to the new variant and its potential impact on the global economy.

4. CFTC Analysis (Delayed due to Federal holiday)

Latest CFTC data showed a positioning change of +1083 with a net non-commercial position of +13965. The NZD reflects the 2nd biggest net-long positioning for large speculators as well as the biggest for leveraged funds. That meant that the bar was higher for a big upside surprise compared to a big downside surprise. The subsequent virus concerns kept the pressure on the antipodean, but if we can see some good news on the virus front the current levels for the EURNZD do look attractive for possible downside opportunities (again the focus will be on the developments on the virus front).

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