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Technical Analysis: USD breaks out, China growth concerns

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Consolidation in many equity markets remains the central theme, but the breakout in the USD has certainly not gone unnoticed by Pepperstone clients. The USD index (DXY) gained 1.4% on the week, its second-best week of the year, as the left side of the ‘USD-smile theory’ worked in earnest – this being slowing global growth concerns.

We see US banks under pressure, and worries about deposit outflows are one factor, but sentiment has not been helped by the FDIC’s proposal to charge a fee to larger banks to fund the fallout from the 3 failed regional banks.

The US debt ceiling rolls on, although I am seeing some constructive signs in Washington and the market understands there will be a time, once agreement happens when the US Treasury will issue a mountain of T-Bills, which will suck USDs out of the system.

A big USD positive.

Negotiations ramp up this week, so we’ll be looking for closer ties as we rattle towards the X-date.

China is clearly at the backbone of the growth concerns. Credit data, imports, PPI, and PMI data are all looking shaky and suggesting the best in the reopening phase is behind us.

Has the market become too bearish on China though?

This week we shall see, but I suspect the authorities will not want the world to feel that is the case.

USDCNH is my guide, with copper also portraying a strong view. If USDCNH is moving higher in this backdrop, we know China is exporting its deflation and that could be a huge game-changer for developed market economies.

One to watch.


The marquee event risks for the week ahead:

Tuesday 15th – China industrial production

The market expects a solid improvement in the industrial production read at 10.8%. We also get retail sales (+22%), and fixed asset investment (5.7%). A big year-on-year improvement shouldn’t surprise given it is measured against a stagnant economy that was in lockdown. However, with China’s data throwing up a few concerns of late (we’ve seen poor import, PPI, and loan data) growth is very much at the heart of market moves.

USDCNH seems key to G10 FX pricing, and a further rise towards 7.0000 should weigh on EURUSD and AUDUSD.

Friday 19th – Japan national CPI

A data point that flies under the radar, but this print could be very important for Japan Government Bond (JGB) and JPY pricing. With expectations of a change in Bank of Japan (BoJ) policy recently pushed back to the July/September BoJ meetings (there is no August BoJ meeting), a hot CPI print could see views of a tweak to policy pushed forward. The market expects headline CPI at 3.5% (from 3.2%) and core at 4.2% (3.8%). The core print is concerning given the extent of the recent rise and if it does indeed come in at 4.2% it would be the highest since Aug 1982.

The JPY should be on the radar here and a print into 4.4% could see JPY shorts cover.

Tuesday 16th – US retail sales

The market will be watching ongoing US debt ceiling negotiations and the tape in the regional banks, but US retail sales could potentially impact pricing. The market expects a 0.8% lift in sales in April. With just 3bp of hikes priced for the June FOMC, we’d need to see a punchy number (well above 1%) to move the USD on this release.

USDJPY is the cleanest play on this data, with the risk skewed for a move back to key resistance at 137.69.

Tuesday

Tuesday 16th – UK employment report

The market looks for 5.8% earnings growth (from 5.9%), with the U/E rate unchanged at 3.8%. The market prices 20bp of hikes for the 22 June Bank of England (BoE) meeting, and a peak (terminal) bank rate of 4.87%, so the employment report could impact the GBP. GBPUSD trades heavy, with 1.2344 as the big support target.

EURGBP saw a bullish outside day on Thursday and I like buy stop orders above 0.8734 for 0.8760/70.

Wednesday 17th – Aus Q1 wage price index

The market is looking for 3.6% YoY wage growth (0.9% QoQ), with the range of estimates set from 3.8% to 3.5%. With just 1bp of hikes (a 4% chance) priced for the June Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting, a blowout wage print could lift very sanguine rates pricing. Probably good for a small lift in the AUD, but the bigger driver remains concerns around global growth. China’s data dump is likely more important for the AUD this week.

Thursday 18th – Australia April employment report

The consensus is calling for 25k net jobs created, with the U/E rate unchanged at 3.5% and the participation rate at 66.7%. Unlikely a volatility event for the AUD, or at least one where any initial move is likely quickly faded.

Tuesday 16th – Canada CPI

The market expects headline CPI at 4.2% YoY (from 4.3%) and core at 4.3% (from 4.6%). The market sees the Bank of Canada (BoC) on pause through 2023, with cuts priced in January 2024. The risk is we see a downside surprise opening cuts in Q3 23. Upside risks in USDCAD remain for a re-test of 1.3667.

Federal Reserve speakers

it’s a massive week of Fed speakers and it could get noisy, although I suspect they will all say a similar thing; that inflation is still too high, and that interest rates may need to go up further, although they will need to assess the lag effect of policy tightening. Chair Powell speaks with Ben Bernanke (20 May) and that could be worth a listen.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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