It was a tenuous week; but the dollar was able to ultimately hold its own through the close. However, just because momentum behind the earnings-driven rally in risk appetite has stalled does not mean that the world’s most liquid currency has avoided a collapse all together.
[B]US Dollar on the Brink of a Trend Defining Plunge Ahead of 2Q GDP[/B]
[B]Fundamental Outlook for US Dollar: [/B][B]Bearish[/B]
- Fundamentals support a recovery in US and global growth, but how does risk appetite factor in?
- Bernanke sees signs of stabilization, calls focus on the deficit
- Do technicals call for a dollar collapse or recovery?
It was a tenuous week; but the dollar was able to ultimately hold its own through the close. However, just because momentum behind the earnings-driven rally in risk appetite has stalled does not mean that the world’s most liquid currency has avoided a collapse all together. Sentiment winds have died down; but they can easily jostle the safe-haven dollar should another economic catalyst surface. This makes for an uncertain future when combined with the fundamental influence that the 2Q GDP report will have on the currency. Now, not only do traders have to interpret the data, they will also have to judge whether it has a greater impact on risk appetite or growth considerations for the beleaguered dollar.
Looking ahead to next week, the most immediate threat to the greenback’s stability is the intensity and direction of risk appetite. While this currency is deeply mired in speculation surrounding the economy’s leading or lagging growth potential, interest rate expectations, and deficit projections among other influences; risk appetite has proven itself to be insuperable. With the Federal Reserve vowing to keep the benchmark lending rate at levels that insure a carry status when conditions do turn around and politicians ensuring the economy will struggle with record levels of debt for years to come, there seems little doubt that the dollar will maintain its position on the opposite of risk appetite. But, considering the stalled progress most of the dollar and yen crosses saw last week; is there a strong shift in sentiment in the works? With EURUSD and GBPUSD just off of key levels of resistance, the pressure is growing. However, the primary source of momentum this past week – the second quarter earnings season – is already on the decline. If left up to the markets alone, equities have already forged new highs for the year; but commodities, fixed income and risk-sensitive currency pairs have not pushed to comparable levels. Oddly enough, one of the most likely catalysts for risk going forward also happens to be the most attention grabbing indicator on the US docket: GDP.
According to economists forecasts, the world’s largest economy contracted at a 1.5 percent on an annualized pace through the second quarter. This would be a marked improvement from the 5.5 percent and 6.3 percent rate of the recession through the first quarter of 2009 and fourth quarter 2008 respectively. This would certainly confirm policy officials expectations for a return to positive growth by the end of this year or beginning of the next; but through the near-term it is still a call for speculation to rank the economy’s performance against that of its major counterparts. China recently reported a sharp advance to a 7.9 percent pace of expansion while the UK printed a record 5.6 percent contraction. And, then there are still those economies that have yet to report their numbers. Japan suffered a record-breaking 14.2 percent slump through the first quarter, but is expected to snap back according to BoJ and Cabinet officials. The Euro Zone awaits it August 13th release, but the Bundesbank has already stated Germany saw only a ‘slight contraction’ through the second quarter. This will increasingly become a consideration of nuance.
The other facet of the US 2Q GDP release is that it will be accepted as a gauge of global growth. This further complicates the issue. Should the reading be good, the influence on risk appetite could outweigh the implications for US returns and actually drag the dollar down; and vice versa. Another important consideration is the timing of this release. Due Friday, speculators may decide to move the dollar before the data crosses the wires. If this is the case, the GDP report could factor into long-term projections but not short-term volatility. –JK
For more timely FX market analysis, visit our newly-launched Forex Stream Service.
[I]Questions? Comments? Send them to John at <[email protected]>. [/I]