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FX Daily, January 04: Consolidation in Capital Markets

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Swiss Franc

EUR/CHF - Euro Swiss Franc, January 04

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EUR/CHF - Euro Swiss Franc, January 04

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GBP/CHF rates have jumped during the first official day of trading in 2017, with the pair hitting 1.2657 at today’s high.

The Pound gained support this morning following positive UK Manufacturing data, which came in well above market expectation. This increased market confidence in the UK economy and the Pound has ultimately benefited as a result, gaining a cent on the CHF.

Investors will follow economic data releases extremely closely and generally factor in the expected outcome. When we see a release outside of the expected remit you generally find the markets react accordingly, depending on whether this is a positive or negative outcome.

The Pound has generally found life tough going against the CHF over recent weeks, having seen it put pressure on 1.30 before retracting below the current levels.

The CHF is seen as a safe-haven currency by many and as such, will hold its value better than other currencies during times of global economic downturn. We also need to consider the on-going trepidation surrounding the UK’s Brexit from the EU and the uncertainty this has created.

Article 50 is being triggered in March  and with concerns over future trade deals and growth prospects for the UK, investors are likely to proceed with extreme caution. This in turn will likely handicap any major advances for the Pound, at least until we have a clearer picture of how we will facilitate our Brexit and have an understanding of any knock on effects that we are likely to encounter.

Personally, I would be looking to take advantage of any short-term spikes for Sterling, rather than gamble on a sustainable improvement up towards, or even beyond 1.30.

GBP/CHF - British Pound Swiss Franc, January 04

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GBP/CHF - British Pound Swiss Franc, January 04

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FX Rates

Full liquidity has yet to return from holidays, but after some dramatic moves yesterday, a consolidative tone is emerging today, despite the slate of economic data. The corrective pressures on the dollar we had been looking for is most evident against the Australian and Canadian dollars, while the greenback softer within yesterday’s ranges against the euro, yen, and sterling.

Asian equities followed the US lead, where the S&P 500 gains (~0.85%), was the best in almost a month. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.3%, its biggest rise since November 10. Foreign buying has been noted in South Korea and Thailand.  The Nikkei advanced 2.5%, perhaps playing a little catch-up after yesterday’s holiday. Chinese shares also rose with the Shanghai Composite reaching three-week highs.

FX Performance, January 04 2017 Movers and Shakers

FX Performance, January 04 2017 Movers and Shakers

Source: Dukascopy - Click to enlarge

The economic data has generally been positive, suggesting that the high income economies finished last year with some momentum that may carry over into the New Year. Yesterday’s US manufacturing ISM showed a strong rise in new orders and export orders (despite the sharp rise in the dollar in Q4).

FX Daily Rates, January 04

FX Daily Rates, January 04

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The euro needs to resurface above $1.0450 to be notable. Otherwise, it is in a flat consolidation after falling to new multiyear lows yesterday. The low from Asia was $1.0390. The dollar is likely to find support against the yen above yesterday’s low near JPY117.20. Initial resistance is now seen near JPY118.00. Sterling appears capped below $1.23. Support is seen near $1.2220.

The Aussie and Canadian dollar are up a little more than 0.5%. The former is approaching its 20-day moving average near $0.7285. It has not closed above that average since December 14. The $0.7300 corresponds to a retracement objective of the decline since then. For its part, the Canadian dollar is through its 20-day moving average (~CAD1.3380) for the first time since December 15. At CAD1.3340 the greenback has retraced 50% of the gains since December 14 FOMC rate decision day. The 61.8% retracement is near CAD1.3280.

FX Performance, January 04

FX Performance, January 04

- Click to enlarge

Eurozone

European equities little changed, with the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 straddling yesterday’s close. Telecoms and financials are leading the gainers, while consumer-discretionary and utility sector pace the losers. Of note, Italian banks shares are extending their rally into a fourth consecutive session. Recall that last week; the FTSE-Italia All-Share Banks Index fell to snap a four-week 25%+ rally. It lost 2.8% last week and is up 5.7% this week.

Eurozone Consumer Price Index (CPI) YoY, December 2016

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Eurozone Consumer Price Index (CPI) YoY, December 2016

Source: Investing.com - Click to enlarge

Bond markets are mixed. Core yields are mostly a little firmer, while peripheral yields are a little softer, with Greek bonds extending the strong rally. As tensions between the EU and Greece flared up, the 10-year yield rose to 7.5% in mid-December. It finished last year near 7.11% and is now near 6.73%.    Separately, the US 2-year yield premium over Germany peaked last week near 2.06% and spent the last four sessions below 2.0%. It is now poking back above there.

Eurozone Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) YoY, December 2016

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Eurozone Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) YoY, December 2016

Source: Investing.com - Click to enlarge

Japan

Today Japan reported the strongest manufacturing PMI in a year and the eurozone composite PMI reading of 54.4 in December is the best in more than five years. Manufacturing, as we saw yesterday, was stronger than the flash estimate, while the slippage in services was less than estimated. Also, following on the heels of yesterday’s robust German and French inflation reports, the eurozone aggregate measure saw headline CPI rise to 1.1% from 0.6% in November, while the core rate ticked up to 0.9% from 0.8% (it bottomed near at 0.6%).

Japan Manufacturing PMI, December 2016

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Japan Manufacturing PMI, December 2016

Source: Investing.com - Click to enlarge

United Kingdom

Yesterday’s UK manufacturing PMI was stronger than expected. It has been followed by a stronger construction PMI (54.2 from 52.8). Separately, the UK reported that mortgage approvals reached an eight-month high in November.  News that the UK’s envoy to the EU (Ivan Rogers) resigned (term ends in October) is seen as a loss of a voice of moderation He has been critical of the government’s preparations for Brexit negotiations. In our read, developments that favor what has been dubbed a hard Brexit are likely negative for sterling. However, the consolidative tone today is prevailing. Sterling is practically unchanged against the euro. The cross appears stuck in a GBP0.8460-GBP0.8540 range.

U.K. Construction PMI, December 2016

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U.K. Construction PMI, December 2016

Source: Investing.com - Click to enlarge

Crude Oil

Oil prices staged a sharp reversal yesterday. March Brent made new highs above $56 a barrel before turning lower, falling to almost $53. The February WTI contract reached almost $55.25 before changing directions and dropping to almost $52 a barrel. There did not seem to be much new behind the move. The fact that some OPEC members were cutting output favored prices initially. Reports today suggest that Russia may wait to see OPEC’s implementation before beginning its own cuts. Prices are stabilizing today, awaiting US inventory news.

In addition to the oil and product inventory estimate from API late in the session, the US sees December auto sales and the minutes from the FOMC meeting.  Auto sales are firm, about the 17.8 mln annual unit pace, but there is little momentum of which to speak. We suspect the FOMC minutes may be less hawkish that the rate hike and dot plot would imply. As we have noted, the average estimate for Fed funds among the participants did not change as much as the median. Also, we are reminded that Yellen acknowledged in her press conference that some but not all officials adjusted their forecasts for potential changes in fiscal policy.

Crude Oil, January 02 2017

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Crude Oil, January 02 2017

Source: Investing.com - Click to enlarge

 

Graphs and additional information on Swiss Franc by the snbchf team.

Full story here
Marc Chandler
Marc Chandler is Global Head of Currency Strategy of Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH). He has been covering the global capital markets in one fashion or another for 25 years, working at economic consulting firms and global investment banks. He regularly appears on CNBC and has spoken for the Foreign Policy Association. In addition to being quoted in the financial press daily, Chandler has been published in the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and the Washington Post. BBH provides specialist services and innovative solutions to many Swiss asset managers that include a global custody network of close to 100 markets, accounting, administration, securities lending, foreign exchange, cash management and brokerage services. Feel free to contact the Zurich office of BBH
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