EUR/USD: USA Labor Market Stops USD
Jerome Powell played on the dollar side last week. Of course, the Fed Chairman knew that markets expected an interest rate increase of 25 basis points (bps) from the next FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting. But he did not rule out that his organization could take a more decisive step in an effort to curb inflation and raise it by 50 bp on March 22 at once. Moreover, it had been earlier expected that the rate would reach 5.00-5.25% at the peak. Now Powell and his colleagues do not rule out that its maximum value will be 5.50%. (According to Commerzbank strategists, even an increase to 6.00% is possible).
And so, to avoid a shock, the head of the Fed decided to prepare the markets for this in advance. His speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, March 7, was extremely hawkish, as a result of which the DXY Dollar Index updated its 2023 highs, soaring to 105.86, and EUR/USD lost more than 170 points, finding a local bottom at 1.0523. The probability of a 50bp rate hike in March rose to 70% (it was 23-30% a week ago, and the markets estimated it at only 9% a month ago).
However, the dollar could not build on its success, and EUR/USD turned north in the middle of the week. Data from the US labor market helped to lose ground. The number of initial applications for unemployment benefits published on Thursday March 09 amounted to 211K against the expected 195K and 190K a month earlier. This indicator exceeded the 200K mark for the first time since the first half of January and reached its maximum since the end of December 2022. In addition, short-term speculators began to take profits on the USD ahead of the report on the US labor market for February, published on Friday, March 10. And they did the right thing, as the dollar continued to retreat. The report showed that the number of new jobs created outside the agricultural sector (NFP) was 311K, which is more than the forecast of 205K, but significantly less than in January - 503K. Together with an increase in unemployment by 3.6% (forecast 3.4% and 3.4% in January), these data indicate a cooling of the country's economy, which in turn may cool down the hawkish ardor of FOMC members. This was confirmed by the dynamics of EUR/USD, which soared to a height of 1.0700 just a few hours after the publication of the report.
As for the euro area, the macro data looked neutral last week. Thus, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Germany, the locomotive of the European economy, remained at the same level and fully met the forecasts - 8.7% in annual terms.
The last chord of the week sounded at 1.0638. And despite the fall of the dollar at the end of the week, 80% of analysts expect it to strengthen in the near future, the remaining 20% have taken a neutral position, not a single vote has been cast for the growth of the euro. Among the oscillators on D1, 25% are red, another 25% are green, and 50% are neutral gray. Among trend indicators, 80% recommend buying, 20% - selling. The nearest support for the pair is located at 1.0600-1.0620, then there are levels and zones 1.5000-1.0530, 1.0440, 1.0375-1.0400, 1.0300 and 1.0220-1.0255. Bulls will meet resistance in the area of 1.0650, 1.0700, 1.0740-1.0760, 1.0800, 1.0865, 1.0930, 1.0985-1.1030.
There will be quite a lot of economic statistics next week. Moreover, it will certainly play a very important role in the decisions of both the Fed and the ECB. Thus, data on consumer inflation (CPI) in the US will be received on Tuesday, March 14. Data on retail sales in this country, as well as the US Producer Price Index (PPI), will be released the next day. The European Central Bank will decide on the euro interest rate on Thursday, March 16, which is expected to be raised by 50 bp., from 2.50% to 3.00%. Of course, the subsequent comments of the ECB management on monetary policy are also of absolute interest to market participants. And finally, the value of CPI in the Eurozone will become known at the very end of the working week, on March 17.
GBP/USD: Volatility Is High, the Result Is Zero
The result of the past five days for GBP/USD, despite the volatility of 310 points, ended up being close to zero. The pair finished the working week at the level of 1.2025, returning to the central zone of the side channel 1.1920-1.2145. The reason for this dynamics is the same as for EUR/USD, since both pairs were actively reacting to what was happening in the US. There were no important macro statistics from the United Kingdom all week until Friday, March 10, when the data on GDP and industrial production for January were released.
The first indicator showed an increase from -0.5% to +0.3% with a forecast of +0.1%, the second one, on the contrary, fell. UK manufacturing output fell from 0.0% to -0.4% in January against the forecast of -0.1%, while total industrial output was -0.3% m/m versus -0.2% and +0.3% expected in December. Thus, the data on GDP added optimism to the bulls on the pound, while the data on industrial production reduced it slightly.
According to Commerzbank economists, the Bank of England (BoE) is unlikely to help the British currency. Recall that the head of the Bank of England (BoE), Andrew Bailey, speaking on Wednesday, March 01, further fogged the issue, saying that the final decision on the prospects for the monetary policy of the British Central Bank has not yet been made, and that the regulator should be flexible in the coming months so as not to scare the markets. And as long as this regulator sticks to its rather cautious stance, unlike the Fed and the ECB, the pound is likely to remain under downward pressure. The Bank of England, instead of actively fighting high inflation, is likely to act as a catch-up, which will lead GBP/USD to further decline.
Experts' median forecast for the near term is similar to the forecast for EUR/USD: 75% of experts vote for the strengthening of the dollar and the fall of GBP/USD, the remaining 25% prefer to abstain from forecasts. Among the oscillators on D1, the balance of power is as follows: 35% vote in favor of greens, another 35% in favor of reds, and 30% in favor of neutral grays. Among the trend indicators, a clear advantage is on the side of the greens: 75% to 25% in their favor. Support levels and zones for the pair are 1.1985-1.2000, 1.1960, 1.1900-1.1925, 1.1840, 1.1800, 1.1720 and 1.1600. When the pair moves north, it will face resistance at the levels 1.2055, 1.2075-1.2085, 1.2145, 1.2185-1.2210, 1.2270, 1.2335, 1.2390-1.2400, 1.2430-1.2450, 1.2510, 1.2575-1.2610, 1.2700, 1.2750 and 1.2940.
As for the release of British macro statistics, next week's calendar includes Tuesday, March 14, when data on the unemployment rate and wages in the United Kingdom will be received.
USD/JPY: The Dollar Decides Everything
The meeting of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) was held at the very end of last week, on Friday, March 10, which was chaired for the last time by the former head, Haruhiko Kuroda. It went exactly as expected: the Japanese Central Bank did not change the parameters of its ultra-stimulating monetary policy, the interest rate again remained at the previous negative level of -0.1%.
Haruhiko Kuroda, speaking at his last press conference and commenting on the results of the last meeting of the Central Bank, said that the positive effect of monetary policy easing has significantly exceeded its side effects. At the same time, he noted that the regulator "will not hesitate to continue easing monetary policy if necessary" and that "it is important to continue to ease it in order to stimulate companies to raise wages." Kazuo Uedu, the new CEO of BoJ, is likely to follow his predecessor's precepts. At least, one should not expect any sharp steps from him.
At the moment, the American currency is decisive in this, as in other dollar pairs. After the release of data on the US labor market, the dollar fell to new lows around the world, while futures for US stock indices turned positive. If USD/JPY was trading at 137.90 on Wednesday, March 08, it found the bottom at 134.10 on March 10, and ended the week after a correction at 135.05.
As for the immediate prospects, 75% of experts vote for the pair's movement to the south at the moment, 25% point in the opposite direction. Among the oscillators on D1, 25% point north, 40% look in the opposite direction, and the remaining 35% look east. For trend indicators, 40% point north, and 60% look south. The nearest support level is located at 134.75 zone, followed by levels and zones 134.00-134.35, 133.60, 132.80-133.20, 131.85-132.00, 131.25 130.50, 129.70-130.00. Levels and resistance zones are 135.15, 136.00-136.30, 136.70-137.10, 137.50, 139.00-139.35, 140.60, 143.75.
Among the events of the upcoming week, we can mention the publication of the Report on the last meeting of the Bank of Japan on Wednesday, March 15. Although, this document is unlikely to make a serious impression on market participants.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: It's Really Bad. Will it get worse?
Bitcoin continues to be under pressure from an avalanche of bad news. A record $94 million in bullish positions for 2023 was liquidated on Thursday, March 10 alone. Analysts at Santiment are recording massive negative sentiment towards cryptocurrencies. The gloomy mood of players and investors has been influenced by:
1. Liquidation of Silvergate crypto bank. After the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on March 8, Silvergate Capital Corp., the American company that manages this bank, announced its intention to curtail its activities and voluntarily liquidate it. Given Silvergate's impressive customer base, this could cause a domino effect similar to last year's.
2. Potential U.S. government sale of $1 billion in bitcoin.
3. Possible tightening of the Fed's monetary policy, which has collapsed the quotes of all risky assets, including stocks and cryptocurrencies.
4. Continued crackdown on crypto exchanges. On March 09, the New York prosecutor's office filed a lawsuit against KuCoin, due to the lack of registration of this exchange in the United States as a securities broker. The fact is that Attorney General Letitia James, as well as SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, consider altcoins to be securities.
5. And finally, as icing on the cake, the proposals of the US President Biden's administration to ban crypto companies from tax maneuvers and to establish a 30% electricity tax for miners. A tax maneuver is a financial transaction when a company, with an unrecorded loss, first sells crypto assets and immediately buys them again, which reduces the amount of tax. The introduction of a 30% tax on electricity can deal a crushing blow not only to American miners, but also to the industry as a whole.
In our opinion, there is plenty of bad news for one week. Now let's try to add at least a few tablespoons of honey to this barrel of tar. According to Credible Crypto experts, at the moment, about 73% of all BTC coins are concentrated in the hands of experienced holders who are used to taking a hit and able to withstand the most severe crypto frosts. And Santiment reminds that such a total negative led earlier to a noticeable upward rebound in prices.
Eight Global CEO Michael Van De Poppe noted the importance of the next few weeks for bitcoin. “Capitalization could drop to $860 million, dragging the entire market down with it,” he warned. According to the expert's forecast, the price of bitcoin may fall to $19,700. Recall that he said just recently that in the worst case, the bottom could be even lower, at the level of $18,000, after which the coin will go up and could reach $40,000 this year.
Felix Zulauf, founder of hedge fund Zulauf Consulting, has suggested that bitcoin will head into a clear bull run sometime in late spring. The expert does not rule out that the asset could reach $100,000 on a sharp uptrend. Despite the bearish dynamics, Credible Crypto experts also remain optimistic about the medium-term prospects for the flagship crypto asset. They agree with Felix Zulauf that bitcoin may reach its all-time high this year. However, before a sustainable bull trend begins, the asset, in their opinion, will face several obstacles. (We have already listed five of them above)
Arthur Hayes, former CEO and co-founder of the BitMEX crypto exchange, believes that the bitcoin rally will start at a time when the global economy is in an oil crisis. In his opinion, a sharp increase in hydrocarbon prices will create conditions for the growth of digital assets and, first of all, bitcoin.
Hayes's logic is as follows: against the background of geopolitical tensions in the world, demand for energy resources will increase, as oil exporters are likely to reduce production. In this situation, the United States, as a leading economic power, will have to increase its own oil production. The Fed will need to ease the monetary rate to stimulate business activity in the energy sector. As soon as the regulator starts lowering interest rates, capital will return to risky assets, including cryptocurrencies. In addition, the former head of BitMEX recalled that the limited supply of BTC will also contribute to its growth, as the US dollar will lose ground.
It is appropriate here to cite data from the analytical platform WooBull, according to which the inflation rate of bitcoin is now at least three times lower than that of the US dollar. This allows BTC to act as a possible hedge against capital depreciation and economic uncertainty. Statistics show that the inflation rate of the first cryptocurrency has been steadily declining since its inception in 2009 and amounted to 1.79% as of March 04. At the same time, the same indicator for USD reached 6.4% in 2023, which is 3.57 times higher than that of BTC.
The decrease in bitcoin inflation is due to the asset's deflationary model, supported by halvings, which reduce the speed of coin mining and halve miners' rewards. Experts also believe that this indicator remains low due to the decentralization of BTC, which avoids most of the political and economic risks typical of the US dollar, whose inflation rate, on the contrary, will increase. This is primarily due to an excessive increase in the money supply, a decrease in demand and/or a reduction in production.
In the meantime, at the time of writing the review (March 10, 23:00 NordFX server time), BTC/USD is trading in the $20,070 zone. (the report on employment in the US has slightly supported the quotes). The total capitalization of the crypto market for the week fell below the psychologically important level of $1 trillion and is $0.937 trillion ($1.024 trillion a week ago). The Crypto Fear & Greed Index fell from 50 to 34 points in a week and moved from the Neutral zone to the Fear zone.
The forecast made by well-known cryptanalyst and host of DataDash YouTube channel Nicholas Merten causes fear as well. He did not rule out a new major drop in ethereum. According to the specialist, if we take into account previous bear markets when forecasting, ETH could fall by more than 90% from its historical high, that is, find itself at the level of several hundred dollars. “ETH/USD has a long way to go. “We're only 67% from the record,” Merten says. “And if we see again what we had in previous bear markets, say, a 92 percent correction or a 94 percent correction, the price of ETH will drop to several hundred dollars. The difference is huge, from $870 to about $500.”
We usually try to end our review on an optimistic note. But what if after a long crypto winter, instead of spring, we'll get another harsh winter? Although, let's still hope that the crypto calendar will be directly correlated with the regular calendar. And it is now the first month of spring, which should be followed by a warm sunny summer.
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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