thunderpips

EUR USD - FUNDAMENTAL DRIVERS

OANDA:EURUSD   Euro / U.S. Dollar
EUR

FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: NEUTRAL

1. Monetary Policy

The ECB used the April meeting as a place holder meeting for the most part by not announcing any additional policy tweaks. The plans to phase out the APP into Q3 remained intact by reducing purchases from 40bln to 30bln in May and then down to 20bln in June. Markets were leaning towards a slightly more hawkish take from the bank (given recent inflation pressures), but the lack of conviction to remove the conditionality regarding the APP removal was seen as dovish. President Lagarde added to this dovish tone by explaining that Q3 has three months and IF the bank stops the APP, it could happen July, August or September. This was an important statement as the difference between a July and September end could mean the difference between a Q3 or Q4 rate hike. The president also added to the dovish tone by stressing that risks for the economic outlook are tilted to the downside and have recently intensified with geopolitical and virus-related challenges. When asked about policy normalization, the president made a strange comment by saying it is premature to think about monpol normalisation. As the bank is currently embarking on normalization this comment seemed out of place and reaffirmed the overall dovish take from the meeting. There were the usual sources releases after the presser which said policymakers see a July hike as still possible after Thursday's meeting, which provided some reprieve. With inflation >7% and growth slowing, the June meeting which accompanies staff economic projections will be critical for markets to solidify whether expectations of 1 or 2 hikes this year is correct or not.

2. Economic & Health Developments

Growth differentials still favour the US over EU capital flows, but differentials have turned positive against the UK. Given growing stagflation fears the ECB is in a tough spot, being forced to normalize policy to try and combat inflation but could as a result damage growth. Ongoing EU fiscal discussions to possibly allow ‘green bonds’ NOT to count against budget deficits remains in focus, alongside debt issuance for energy purchases. If approved, it will offer a flood of fiscal support which would be positive for the EUR and EU equities. Geopolitics The EUR pushed lower aggressively after initial geopolitical scares but have been trying to carve out a base. Proximity to the war and the impact of sanctions remains a risk if the situation deteriorates. With lots of negatives already priced, chasing lows on bad news is not as attractive as chasing the EUR higher on good news.

3. CFTC Analysis

Very bearish signal from recent positioning update as all three major categories saw sizeable net-short weekly changes yet again. The price action throughout the week has reflected this change in sentiment quite well. However, given how much bad news has been priced and recent hawkish comments, we could see some attractive opportunities on the long side of the EUR, but catalysts will be key.


USD

FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BULLISH

1. Monetary Policy

At the May meeting, the Fed delivered on hawkish expectations regarding rates by hiking the Fed Funds Rate by 50bsp and also confirmed that the committee expects further 50bsp hikes to be appropriate. The fed also stuck to a familiar hawkish tone by downplaying the prospects of an imminent recession by explaining that even though the economy contracted in Q1, that household spending and business investment remained strong. The Chair also stuck to their guns regarding the rate path by suggesting that they think reaching neutral (currently estimated at 2.4%) before year-end would be appropriate and will assess the need for further hikes when they get there. There were however some less hawkish elements which saw a very classic ‘sell-the-fact’ reaction in major asset classes. The first one was on the Quantitative Tightening front where the bank decided on a phased approach for balance sheet reduction by starting the monthly caps at 30bn (treasuries) and 17.5bn ( MBS ) and pushing it up to the expected $60bn (treasuries) and $35bn ( MBS ) over a three-month timeframe. The second less hawkish element was comments from Chair Powell who took 75bsp hikes off the table saying the committee was not actively considering rate moves of that size. Interestingly, it seems STIR markets did not really believe the Fed as the probability of a 75bsp hike stood at >70% directly following the presser. All-in-all, the meeting provided a short-term ‘sell-the-fact’ opportunity, but also cemented the view that despite signs of a slowing economy and despite clear stress in financial markets, the Fed is sticking to their aggressive tightening for now.

2. Global & Domestic Economy

As the reserve currency, the USD’s global usage means it’s usually inversely correlated to the global economy and global trade. The USD usually appreciates when growth & inflation slows (disinflation) and depreciates when growth & inflation accelerates (reflation). Thus, current expectations of a cyclical slowdown are a positive driver for the Dollar. Incoming data will be watched in relation to the ‘Fed Put’ as there are many similarities between now and 4Q18, where the Fed were also tightened into a slowdown. If growth data slows and the Fed stays hawkish it’s a positive for the USD, however if the Fed pivots dovish that’ll be a negative driver for the USD.

3. CFTC Analysis

Aggregate USD positioning remains close to 1 standard deviation above the mean, and close to prior tops where the USD topped out in previous cycles. That does not change the bullish outlook for the USD in the med-term but means that we would wait for pullbacks before initiating new longs with price at new cycle highs.

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