EUR/USD: The Calm Before the Storm
The DXY Dollar Index (the ratio of the USD to a basket of six other major foreign currencies) has been moving in a fairly narrow sideways channel since January 12. A small surge in volatility was caused by the publication of data on retail sales in the US on Wednesday, January 18. However, everything returned to normal quickly, and DXY continued its eastward journey, sandwiched in the 102.00-102.50 range. EUR/USD behaved similarly, which, having started on Monday at 1.0833, completed the five-day period at 1.0855.
This behavior suggests that the market has already taken into account everything that is possible in quotes. This includes a slowdown in inflation, a possible recession, and prospects for changes in the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy. A trigger is needed In order for a jump to occur, which, most likely, will be the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting on February 01 and the comments of the Fed management following it. Only US GDP data will be released until then as for important macro statistics. This indicator will be announced on February 26, and it is very likely to show a slowdown in the country's economic growth (the forecast is 2.6-2.8% against 3.2% a quarter earlier).
Market participants continue to wonder how much the interest rate will be raised at the February FOMC meeting. There are two options: either by 25 or 50 basis points (bp). Michelle Bowman, member of the Board of Governors, Mary Dehli, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) of San Francisco, and Patrick Harker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, spoke about 25 bp. Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard did not express a clear preference for either of these options on Thursday, January 19. She did not say what peak rate she expects to see in 2023 either. However, she said the regulator's policy should remain restrictive to ensure a return to the 2.0% inflation target.
Her words coincide with the opinion of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who said a month ago that the regulator will keep rates at their peak until they are sure that the decline in inflation has become a sustainable trend. In his opinion, the base rate can be increased in 2023 to 5.1% and stay that high until 2024.
The market consensus forecast in December indicated the same value, 5.10%. However, the market has now stopped trusting the Federal Reserve, and expectations have fallen to 4.90%. And some analysts believe that the peak value of the rate will not rise above 4.75% at all. Moreover, it can even be lowered to 4.50% by the end of 2023. Given that the rate has already reached 4.50% at the moment, such a slight increase will clearly not benefit the dollar, but it will push up the competing currencies from the DXY basket and risky assets.
As for the common European currency, the swap market believes at the moment that with a probability close to 100%, the ECB rate will be increased by 50 bp on February 02, and the probability of the same rise in March is estimated at 70%.
Christine Lagarde, the head of the European regulator, speaking on Thursday, January 19 at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), stressed that inflation remains too high, so the ECB will not relax its efforts to bring inflation under control. Ms Lagarde's colleague, ECB Governing Board member and Dutch Central Bank Governor Klaas Knot said on Thursday that the inflation situation remains unsatisfactory and that the market is wrong to expect only one 50bp rate hike in the future. There will be several such increases, according to Klaas Knot.
Such statements give euro bulls some hope. However, there are also those among European officials who take a more cautious position. Thus, Francois Villeroy, the head of the Bank of France, said in Davos that it is too early to talk about raising rates in March. And his words fell into rumors that the ECB is ready to move to 25 bps.
It is clear that the future of EUR/USD will be decided on February 01-02. In the meantime, 40% of analysts are counting on further strengthening of the euro, and the growth of the pair in the coming days. 50% expect that the US currency will be able to win back part of the losses. The remaining 10% of experts take a break in anticipation of the meetings of the Fed and the ECB. Among the indicators on D1, the picture is different: all 100% of the trend indicators are colored green. Among the oscillators, those are 65% of them, 20% signal that the pair is overbought, and the remaining 15% are painted in neutral gray. The nearest support for the pair is at 1.0800, then there are levels and zones 1.0740-1.0775, 1.0700, 1.0620-1.0680, 1.0560 and 1.0480-1.0500. The bulls will meet resistance at the levels of 1.0865, 1.0935, 1.0985-1.1010, 1.1130, after which they will try to gain a foothold in the 1.1260-1.1360 echelon.
China is celebrating the New Year next week, so we are happy to congratulate Chinese traders. As for the US and the Eurozone, the following events can be noted on the calendar. The ECB President Christine Lagarde will deliver a speech on Monday, January 23. Business activity indices (PMI and S&P Global) in the manufacturing sectors of Germany and the Eurozone as a whole will be published the next day. We will find out the value of the Business Climate Index (IFO) in Germany on Wednesday, January 25. As already mentioned, the value of the US GDP will become known on Thursday, in addition, a number of data from the consumer market and the labor market of this country will also come the same day. And the value of the Basic index of US household spending on personal consumption will be published at the very end of the working week, on Friday, January 27.
GBP/USD: Pound Counts on the Best
As in the US, retail sales in the UK also went down. They fell -1.0% (mom) in December, which is significantly lower than the forecast +0.5%. Analysts note that real spending in the country was significantly ahead of GDP in 2020-2022, but the rise in inflation led to a sharp halt in this process. And it is predicted that 2023 will be a period of retribution for this waste.
However, according to economists at HSBC, one of the world's largest financial conglomerates, things are not so bad. “With UK inflation likely to have peaked and could potentially slow more than the consensus forecast,” they write, “a less aggressive tone of tightening from the BoE now could mean a less dramatic reversal later in the year. And this may eventually become a minor positive factor for the British pound in the coming months. The shift towards better-than-expected domestic data should also be positive for the British pound." Economic performance is improving rapidly, experts say, thanks to a combination of a cheaper currency and higher interest rates. Suffice it to say that the UK trade balance for Q3 of last year showed the lowest deficit since December 2021. HSBC also believes that the growth of global market risk appetite will benefit the British currency as well.
In contrast to the EUR/USD flat trend, the British currency showed growth last week: GBP/USD approached the local December highs on January 18, reaching a height of 1.2435. Pound bulls are inspired by expectations that the Bank of England (BoE), in contrast to the fading activity of the Fed, on the contrary, will continue to vigorously tighten its monetary policy. It is predicted that from the current 3.50%, the rate may rise to 4.50 by summer. And an important day on this path may be February 02, when the next meeting of the BoE will take place.
The last chord of the week sounded at 1.2395. The median forecast for GBP/USD in the near future looks like this: 50% of experts believe that it is time for the pound to slow down its growth and are waiting for a correction to the south. Only 15% of experts side with the bulls, and 35% have taken a neutral position. Among the oscillators on D1, 85% are colored green, 15% signal that the pair is overbought. Trend indicators have 100% on the green side. Support levels and zones for the pair are 1.2330, 1.2250-1.2270, 1.2200-1.2210, 1.2145, 1.2085-1.2115, 1.2025, 1.1960, 1.1900, 1.1800-1.1840. When the pair moves north, it will face resistance at levels 1.2435-1.2450, 1.2510, 1.2575-1.2610, 1.2700, 1.2750 and 1.2940.
Highlights for the UK economy in the coming week include Tuesday January 24, when a pool of UK business activity (PMI) data will be released.
USD/JPY: Yen Outlook Is Positive as Well
Despite the fact that the Bank of Japan left its key rate unchanged at a negative level of -0.1% at its meeting on January 18, the yen is still among the favorites among the DXY currencies. USD/JPY fixed a low at 127.21 on Monday. It hasn't dropped this low since last May. Recall that this happened against the backdrop of a fall in the dollar and a decrease in the yield of US bonds (the US/Japan spread is at the lows of August-September 2022).
However, the pair corrected to the north and finished at 129.57 at the end of the week. However, according to many experts, data on the acceleration of inflation in the country will still force the Bank of Japan (BoJ) to tighten its monetary policy.
In general, inflation in the country in December amounted to 4.0% (y/y), accelerating from 3.8% in November. These rates are the highest since January 1991. Consumer prices in Japan excluding fresh food (a key indicator monitored by the country's central bank) rose 4.0% last month compared to the same month of the previous year. And this is the highest rate since December 1981. The indicator has remained above the BoJ's 2% target for 9 consecutive months.
Markets expect serious changes in monetary policy after April 08. It is on this day that Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of the Bank of Japan, will end his term, and he may be replaced by a new candidate with a tougher position. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to nominate this candidate in February. Kuroda will hold his last meeting on March 10, and the next BoJ meeting on April 28 will be held by the new head of the Central Bank.
Factors that could lead to further appreciation of the yen, in addition to a change in the BoJ, include improving Japan's balance of payments due to the devaluation of the yen and the resumption of tourism, as well as the revival of the safe-haven status of the yen and currency hedging by resident investors of their foreign investments. Economists at Danske Bank expect USD/JPY to fall towards 125.00 in the coming months. And according to the strategists of the international financial group Nordea, it may fall below 120.00 by the end of 2023.
Analysts' median forecast is also in line with Danske Bank and Nordea's forecasts. Their opinion on the near future of USD/JPY is distributed as follows: 75% of them vote for the pair to fall further. The remaining 25% have taken a neutral position. Not a single vote was given for the pair's growth this time. Among the oscillators on D1, 10% point north, 75% look south, and 15% point east. For trend indicators, 15% look north, 85% look in the opposite direction. The nearest support level is located at 129.30 zone, followed by levels and zones 128.90, 127.75-128.00, 127.00-127.25, 126.35-126.55, 125.00, 121.65-121.85. Levels and resistance zones are 130.45, 131.25, 132.00, 132.80, 133.60, 134.40 and then 137.50.
Among the events of the coming week, the report on the Meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Japan, which will be published on Monday, January 23, is of interest.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Bitcoin Victory Over Artificial Intelligence
If you look at last week's chart, you can clearly see that the explosive growth of bullish optimism has almost come to naught. Recall that bitcoin received a powerful boost from January 09 to January 14 amid the publication of data on lower US inflation (CPI). Another contribution to the bulls' piggy bank was the news that FTX liquidators found liquid assets worth $5 billion. According to a number of bitcoin enthusiasts, this should allow crypto markets not to worry too much about the macroeconomic picture, which is still bearish.
But most likely, the last statement is wrong, and we should still worry. The growth of digital assets has been the result of an increase in the general global appetite of investors for risky assets. This can be seen if we compare the quotes of BTC/USD and stock indices S&P500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq. And while bitcoin has become the main beneficiary in this case, it was due of its increased volatility. And as we have repeatedly noted, the main factor determining the dynamics of both the stock and crypto markets in this situation is the monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve, including the change in the dollar interest rate.
Bitcoin has risen in price by more than 37% from January 01 to 18 2023, reaching a high of $22,715. The total market capitalization has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in a long time. The enthusiasm of market participants has led to an increase in BTC trading volume twice in a week: the figure rose to $11 billion in the spot market. But, according to analyst Craig Erlam, there are no specific fundamental reasons for the further development of the bullish trend now.
Market growth in the first half of January came as a surprise to the bears. According to the statistics, they have lost about $1.2 billion in the last week alone. And this is only in BTC. The volume of liquidated short positions exceeded long positions by six times at some points. But all this happened at the expense of small and medium-sized investors. The number of bitcoin addresses that hold up to 1,000 BTC has increased dramatically. But institutional whales (more than 1000 BTC) practically did not react to what was happening and watched the bustle of shrimp with their characteristic grandeur and calmness. Suffice it to say that the inflow into bitcoin funds has been only about $10 million since January 10, and the number of wallets owned by whales continues to fall.
We have already written that many institutional investors are deterred from the crypto market by the lack of sufficient regulation. And now the US Congress has even created a new special subcommittee to solve this problem. However, Kevin O'Leary, CEO of venture capital firm O'Leary and host of the Shark Tank TV show, believes that adopting a strong regulatory framework will not solve the industry's problems or change the scale of fraud. The expert believes that even more crypto companies and exchanges will collapse this year. The reason for this, in his opinion, is people's ignorance.
Now let's talk about forecasts expressed in numbers. Ben Armstrong, a popular cryptocurrency YouTuber, believes that the price of the flagship cryptocurrency will jump to $30,000 by the end of February. And this will happen despite the fact that miners have been actively selling their assets lately in order to fix profits.
Legendary stock trader and analyst Peter Brandt, who, among other things, predicted the 2018 BTC correction accurately, also gave a fresh forecast for bitcoin’s movement. According to the specialist, BTC will be able to realize growth to levels near $25,000 in the near future. After that, a correction is not ruled out by the end of spring, that will give the cryptocurrency strength for a new rally. As a result, the coin will reach its previous highs near $68,000 in the second half of 2023. After that, another correction and a subsequent update of the absolute high are possible. In the longer term, Peter Brandt does not rule out bitcoin rising to $150,000 by early 2025. However, he warns that this is nothing more than his guess. Nobody knows how the main cryptocurrency will actually behave, according to the eminent trader.
The value of bitcoin could increase to $50,000-100,000 over the next two to three years. This opinion was expressed in an interview with CNBC by the founder of the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital Anthony Scaramucci. The businessman called 2023 a “recovery year” for the main cryptocurrency. Of course, the decisions of the US Federal Reserve will influence the digital gold rate. And if the financial regulator takes measures to stimulate the economy in the middle of the year, this will be a good impetus for the rise in the bitcoin price. Will it take the measures?
Bloomberg Intelligence senior strategist Mike McGlone agrees that the bottom in the cryptocurrency market has already been passed. But his opinion on the Fed's monetary policy is very different. McGlone has noted that the charts are reminiscent of the 2018 dynamics, when the price of the first cryptocurrency rebounded from $5,000. However, the macroeconomic situation is now completely different, which is why the bitcoin growth may stop at current values. Thus, the NASDAQ index may continue to fall, and the correlation between bitcoin and the stock market has been quite significant in recent years. “We are still pulling liquidity from global markets, and there are reasons for this. And even if equities and other risky assets rise, liquidity will remain limited by central banks. The big difference from 2018 is that the Fed had already begun to ease its policy then, and we do not see any easing today,” the Bloomberg strategist explained.
“Look at the NASDAQ, the chart breaks through the 200-week SMA. This has only happened 3 times in history, and the Fed has always eased its monetary policy. But the US Central Bank is tightening it now. The overall picture is optimistic for bitcoin, but the situation is unprecedented now, so anything can happen,” McGlone said.
Peter Brand admitted Above that it is almost impossible to accurately predict the behavior of bitcoin. The artificial intelligence (AI) of the ChatGPT test platform supported him in this opinion. This platform has become popular due to its ability to solve a wide range of tasks with high accuracy, including asset trading.
Experts from Finbold asked the artificial intelligence what the bitcoin price will be in 2030. Finbold suggested that ChatGPT would be able to provide a fairly accurate forecast based on historical BTC price data, market data, technical and fundamental analysis, and other indicators. But the AI didn't live up to expectations. It was never able to predict the exact rate and admitted that it is hard to name the price of the coin in the long term. The AI cited high market volatility and unclear regulatory rules as the reasons. However, the AI, like Peter Brandt, believes that the flagship cryptocurrency has potential for growth in the coming years. This will be possible due to the development of technology, the maturation of the cryptocurrency market and their mass distribution.
The future of the digital market is indeed vague. However, we can tell exactly what is happening in the present. So, at the time of writing the review (Friday evening, January 20), BTC/USD is trading in the $22,700 zone. The total capitalization of the crypto market is $1.038 trillion ($0.968 trillion a week ago). The Crypto Fear & Greed Index has left the Fear Zone and is now in a Neutral state at 51 points (46 a week ago).
NordFX Analytical Group
Notice: These materials should not be deemed a recommendation for investment or guidance for working on financial markets: they are for informative purposes only. Trading on financial markets is risky and can lead to a loss of money deposited.
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