The dollar is near collapse; and its liquid counterparts stand to reap the benefits of the potential cross-currency winds. However, from a fundamental standpoint who stands to benefit the most? Those pairs that have pressed all the way to the edge of their recent historical highs against the ailing reserve currency (the British pound or Aussie dollar) are heavily dependent upon unpredictable risk appetite. The stalwart among the group is the euro.
Euro May Cash in on its Anti-Dollar Role Before the ECB Decision
Fundamental Forecast for Euro: Bullish
- German unemployment falls for the first time; but this improvement is a result of seasonal adjustments
- German consumer confidence rises for a third month
- What does the technical outlook for the euro look like?
The dollar is near collapse; and its liquid counterparts stand to reap the benefits of the potential cross-currency winds. However, from a fundamental standpoint who stands to benefit the most? Those pairs that have pressed all the way to the edge of their recent historical highs against the ailing reserve currency (the British pound or Aussie dollar) are heavily dependent upon unpredictable risk appetite. The stalwart among the group is the euro. Liquidity, a steady yield, bullish growth forecasts and a policy authority that is confident financial conditions are sound make for an appealing alternative for the most actively traded currency in the market. However, is the outlook truly as bright as the market is pricing in? More importantly; do speculators even care?
In trying to approach the first question, it is important to remember that valuing a currency is always done on a relative basis. For example, the euro could still rise against one of its major counterparts even when the economy is sinking as long as the Euro Zone is contracting at a slower pace. That being said, the objective answer is that the economy is not as stable as the strength of the currency would suggest. We will not see the first round of the German and Euro Zone second quarter GDP figures until August 13th. Nonetheless, expectations will readily discount each indicator that crosses the wires until then. This past week’s data further exposed a significant discrepancy between expectations and actual data. Surveys for consumer, business and economic sentiment all reported improvements in their July readings (though they were mostly still below the net expansion/contraction line). In contrast, the German unemployment rate has held at its highest level since December of 2007. Consumers are the foundation for economic health and will determine whether the Euro Zone will struggle to recovery or truly return to growth. Retail sales, factory orders and industrial production will all factor in to this outlook.
Each of these indicators will feed into the market’s unobserved and dynamic growth forecasting model; but the true benchmarks for economic activity will come from the ECB. The central bank is scheduled to announce rates on Thursday and both the market and economists suspect the benchmark will be left unchanged at 1.00 percent. The real value from the event comes from the statement that accompanies the announcement and President Jean Claude Trichet’s forum with the press shortly after the official release. Political pressure has intensified from some of the region’s largest economies to reign in stimulus to avoid stoking inflation. What’s more, the RBA has set a precedence in suggesting it was taking a cautious, hawkish turn; and the ECB no longer carries the burden to be the first. These factors aside though, the economy is certainly not stable enough to take such a passive (much less hawkish) approach. There are still economies suffering severe recessions; and even those that are considered relatively strong are still contraction. Should the group remove the safety net too soon, they run the risk of exacerbating a pull back that develops later.
Another generally accepted truism that has worked in the euro’s favor is that the region has remained otherwise financial sound while the UK and US were nearing structural collapse. However, many of the biggest risks to the broader markets going forward come from the Euro Zone. A premature draining of financial aid threatens to choke the economy, regional banks have yet to write off their losses (they will) and Eastern Europe threatens to default on its loans to the EZ in masse. All of these are considerations to keep in mind. – JK