EUR/USD: Employment and Inflation Decide Everything
Markets are now ruled by two factors: fear of the new COVID strain and monetary tightening by central banks. It is not yet very clear how dangerous the Omicron strain is and how it will affect the economy. Therefore, the main focus is shifting towards central banks and, first of all, the US Federal Reserve. Thus, 19 Reuters experts have named the difference in interest rates as the main market driver, while 15 have pointed to Omicron.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech in the US Senate on November 30 had a bombshell effect on the markets. And all because analysts and commentators saw a harsh hawkish attitude in his words. As a result, stock indices, Dow Jones, S&P500, Nasdaq, flew further down, while the DXY dollar index rushed up.
The dollar played back 147 points against the euro in less than an hour, lowering the EUR/USD pair from 1.1382 to 1.1235. However, then the markets calmed down as quickly and, in anticipation of data from the US labor market, the pair went up.
Inflation and employment: these two indicators are defining in the current policy of central banks.
The ECB continues to insist that the increase in inflation is temporary, so it makes no sense to take measures to contain it now. Although some people believe that the Bank's Governor Christine Lagarde's speech on December 02 hinted at an imminent tightening of monetary policy, however, nothing was said about specific steps. Although it would be possible to tackle this problem already. The data on producer prices released last week look frightening: their growth rates accelerated from 16.1% to 21.9% (against the forecast of 18.3%). These figures indicate that inflation in the Eurozone, which has already reached 4.9%, will not stop there and will continue to grow. As for the European labor market, the progress here is more than modest: unemployment fell by only 0.1%, from 7.4% to 7.3%.
Statistics from the US labor market look much better. The number of initial applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected: to 222 thousand against the forecast of 245 thousand, and the four-week moving average of the indicator fell to the lows of March 2020. At the same time, the number of people receiving benefits for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic fell below 2 million, to 1,956 thousand.
But the number of new jobs created outside the US agricultural sector (NFP) was only 210 thousand, which is significantly less than both the forecast (550 thousand) and the previous value (546 thousand). However, this fall does not look so dramatic against the background of the country's labor shortage. Suffice it to say that, due to a shortage of personnel, the number of laid-off people in the United States dropped to a 28-year low.
The unexpectedly low NFP data is unlikely to have a strong impact on the Fed's decisions. There are many reasons to believe that the Federal Reserve may accelerate the pace of curtailing the monetary stimulus (QE) program at its meeting on December 14-15. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and her colleagues Mary Daley of San Francisco and Rafael Bostic of Atlanta actively support the idea of accelerating this process. And Randal Quarles, outgoing vice chairman of the Fed, considers such fiscal and monetary incentives harmful to the economy. In his opinion, they have inflated demand so much that it has exceeded the pre-pandemic level, and the high inflation is no longer temporary, but permanent.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also believe that the time has come to drop the word "temporary". This means that the inflation forecast will be revised upwards, and the schedule for raising interest rates will become more intense.
Most likely, the difference in monetary policy between the Fed and the ECB will continue to put pressure on the EUR/USD pair,pushing it further down. 50% of experts agree with this forecast, while 35% of analysts have taken the opposite position. The remaining 15% vote for the sideways trend.
The trend indicators on D1 have a predominantly red color, these are 65%. But there is confusion and disparity among the oscillators: 40% of them point to the south, 35% to the north and another 25% have taken a neutral position.
Resistance levels are located in the zones and at levels 1.1380, 1.1435-1.1465 and 1525. The nearest support level is 1.1260, then 1.1235, 1.1185-1.1200, then 1.1075-1.1100.
As for the events of the coming week, it should be noted that the data on GDP of the Eurozone for the Q3 will be issued. Increased volatility can be expected on Friday, December 10, when the German and US CPIs, as well as the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index will become known. This indicator is an indicator of the US consumers’ confidence in economic growth and assesses their willingness to spend money.
GBP/USD: Back on the Bear Trail?
The behavior of the GBP/USD pair last week was similar to that of EUR/USD. It reacted similarly to Jerome Powell's speech in the Senate and to data from the US labor market, and as a result it ended the five-day week at 1.3225.
Concerns about Brexit remain the main factor of pressure on the pound. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on December 03 that there are still significant differences between the EU and the UK on the application of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The politician added that there was no breakthrough in the negotiations, and that these differences are unlikely to be overcome before the end of this year.
The GBP/USD pair failed to gain a foothold above the 1.3300 horizon. According to analysts at Singapore's United Overseas Bank (UOB), the British currency may continue to decline in December, although it will be difficult for it to overcome strong support at 1.3195 (November 30 low). If successful, the pair will open the way to support at 1.3135. For the bulls, task No.1 is to overcome the key resistance in the 1.3300 zone. And if the Bank of England does raise the interest rate on December 16, this will not be a problem. Subsequent resistances are located at levels 1.3360, 1.3410, 1.3475, 1.3515, 1.3570, 1.3610, 1.3735, 1.3835.
30% of analysts hope for the pair's growth in the near future, 45% expect it to fall further, and 25% have taken a neutral position. But the indicators on D1 definitely support the bears. 100% of trend indicators point to the south. The same could be said about oscillators, but 15% of them give signals that the pair is oversold.
USD/JPY: Yen Won't Retreat
The USD/JPY pair went beyond the trading range 113.40-114.40 at the end of November, and, as most experts expected (55%), continued to move south, reaching the local bottom at the level of 112.52 and having updated the seven-week low. This was followed by a trend reversal, several unsuccessful attempts to return the pair to the 113.40-114.40 channel and a finish at 112.80.
The yen is supported as a safe haven currency by investor fears regarding the spread of the Omicron coronavirus strain. However, now that the initial wave of panic has passed, this advantage over the dollar is gradually fading away.
It should also be borne in mind that Japan is in a difficult position because the country's debt to GDP ratio is too high. And according to a number of experts, it is necessary to adopt a new package of monetary stimuli, which will put additional pressure on the yen, in order to increase the pace of economic recovery.
Until that happens, UOB analysts believe the pair may retest the 1.1250 support, but the chances of breaking below are slim. If it does manage to do so, it will face the next obstacle in the 111.85-112.00 area. According to experts at Credit Suisse, the pair needs to rise above the 113.70-114.00 zone to implement the bullish scenario, and then overcome the resistance at 114.80. This will be a good start for a move to the five-year high of 115.52, which was recorded on November 24.
Most of the experts (55%) are currently on the side of the bulls, 25% side with the bears and 20% expect a sideways movement of the pair. 90% of the oscillators are still facing south, but a quarter of them are in the oversold zone, the remaining 10% have turned north. The ratio is 65% to 35% among trend indicators in favor of the reds.
The resistance levels are 113.40, 113.70, 114.00, 114.40, 114.70, 115.00 and 115.50, the long-term target of the bulls is the December 2016 high of 118.65. The nearest support level is 112.50, then 112.00 and 111.65.
As for macro-economic statistics, data on GDP of Japan for Q3 will be released on Wednesday December 08. This indicator is expected to move from a decline (minus 0.8% in Q2) to a modest growth of 0.4%.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Overnight Crash in the Thin Market
There were no significant changes on the crypto front throughout the working week. Bitcoin and ethereum, along with stock indices and investor risk appetites, even went up at the beginning of the week. But it was only a temporary respite. The cryptocurrency market went down during the night from Friday to Saturday, dipping by about 20%. The BTC/USD pair returned to levels ten weeks ago, falling to $41,620, while ETH/USD fell to $3,510. And this despite the fact that ethereum tried to renew its all-time high just three days before that, rising to the height of $4.771.
The true reasons for what happened are not yet clear at the time of writing the review, but it all looks like someone's speculative combination on a thin night market, when major investors are asleep ahead of the weekend days. This version is also supported by the fact that the quotes of the main cryptocurrencies jumped up within a few minutes after the fall. Bitcoin went up 15%, rising to $48,000. It is possible that it was those who were behind this drop that who replenished their stocks of coins very quickly at a "discount" price. Although, this is only a guess.
The President of El Salvador managed to take advantage of the drawdown of the flagship cryptocurrency. Nayib Bukele acquired another 150 BTC, increasing his wallet to 1,370 coins. True, at the same time he complained that he slept through the moment of the collapse for only 7 minutes, so he had to pay about $48,000 per coin.
At the time of this writing, on the afternoon of December 4, the total crypto market capitalization is at $2.2 trillion, and the Crypto Fear & Greed Index has shifted from the neutral center of the scale to the Extreme Fear zone, to 25 points mark (47 weeks ago).
According to Nigel Green, CEO of the consulting company deVere Group, investors should buy this cryptocurrency right now, as its rate will double in a year. “Panic is the right time to buy BTC,” Green said.
Mark Yusko, CEO of Morgan Creek Capital Management, who believes that investors should not be fooled by the daily fluctuations in the price of bitcoin, agrees with him. According to the financier, it's not that bitcoin is getting better over fiat currencies. They are getting worse than bitcoin. “There is a global race to the bottom,” says Martin Yusko. Therefore, BTC is an ideal savings asset in a world where governments are in a race to devalue their currency.
Much the same thought was expressed by Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital and former director of communications in the Donald Trump administration. “If you believe in long-term fundamentals like we do, then now is the time to buy. The volatility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is knocking people out of the game. It also flushes out some of the leverage, which, in my opinion, creates a springboard for a good Q1," the financier explained, adding that not only fundamental factors, but also the monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve, indicate further growth in cryptocurrency quotes.
Time will tell whether these optimistic influencers are right or wrong. For example, cryptanalyst and trader Benjamin Cowen has recently argued that the value of bitcoin will not fall below $50,000. But it did. At the same time, we cannot but mention another negative signal for investors: option traders are betting on bitcoin's decline for six months for the first time since May. The price ratio for weekly, monthly and three-month contracts also shifted to the “bears” earlier this month.
And in conclusion of the review, a traditional and not very serious rubric of crypto-life hacks. We will tell you how some are trying to make money on cryptocurrencies. But at the same time, we strongly advise you NOT to follow their example.
Police in the Spanish city of Tarragona arrested a 33-year-old man and a woman who installed hidden miners on computers... in stores. The criminals infected at least 16 devices in electronics stores Mediamarkt and El Corte Ingles department stores. According to available information, the woman distracted employees and asked for help to start the laptop, which she allegedly bought in their store. Meanwhile, her companion was installing the Nicehash miner and the Anydesk program for remote access to computers on display sample laptops.
The new laptops running at full capacity have raised suspicion among consultants. Mediamarkt's CCTV cameras filmed the accomplices visiting the store three times, and the police were able to identify them from the video.
It is probably appropriate to cite here one more figure concerning the criminal mining of cryptocurrencies. According to the Cybersecurity Action Team experts, 86% of the hacked accounts on the Google Cloud platform were subsequently used for mining, and the software required for this was loaded on average 22 seconds after the hack.
In many cases, attackers gained access to accounts due to poor protection on the part of the users themselves. Therefore, dear readers, be as vigilant as possible.
NordFX Analytical Group
Notice: These materials are not investment recommendations or guidelines for working in financial markets and are intended for informational purposes only. Trading in financial markets is risky and can result in a complete loss of deposited funds.