USD recovered on better than expected non-farm payrolls data; NZDUSD down to 0.7285 on the USD rally, however, the 0.7250 support level is expected to hold in the short term; AUDUSD now below the critical 0.8000 level

By Howard Wilcox*:

US equity markets continued to fall on Friday, in-spite of the crucial Non-farm payrolls figure coming in above expectations. Wall Street had its worst week since June 2016 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P both dropping over 4%. Both the Dow and S&P500 were sharply lower, over 2.5% and 2.12% as the worsening bond rout heightened concerns that the Federal Reserve will accelerate its rate-hike schedule.

Comments from Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan suggesting that Fed officials may need to hike interest rates more than three times this year to moderate the economic advance, further exacerbated the selling tone. Selling was broad based across all 11 sectors of the S&P500, with energy shares sinking 4.1% as earnings disappointed and the crude price slumped. The tech selloff worsened, pushing the Nasdaq 100 Index lower by 2.1 %, not even a record rally at Amazon could halt the decline, as shares in the world’s biggest company, Apple Inc hit their lowest level since October.

The US Nonfarm Payrolls report released earlier in the day was very positive, showing that the economy added 200,000 new jobs in January, (beating forecasts of 180K) while the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1% for the 4th consecutive month. Wages growth was up 2.9% from previous 2.5% its fastest pace of growth in eight years, a sign that inflation may finally be on the increase, stirring concerns that, if inflation grows too fast, it could affect companies’ profits and at the same time force the Fed to raise rates at a faster pace. On currency markets, the better than expected NFP data saw the USD gain across the board.

Locally, this week will be dominated by Australia’s RBA interest rate announcement and statement tomorrow, the rate is expected to remain unchanged. Also, for New Zealand there will be another Global Dairy auction on Tuesday night and then the RBNZ statement and rate decision on Thursday.

Major Announcements last week:

  • Australian CPI m/m 0.6% vs 0.7% expected
  • European Flash CPI y/y 1.3% as expected
  • Canadian GDP 0.4% as expected
  • FOMC leaves interest rates unchanged at 1.5%
  • UK Manufacturing PMI 55.3 vs 56.5 expected
  • US ISM Manufacturing PMI 59.1 vs 58.7 expected
  • US Non-Farm Employment Change 200k vs 181k expected
  • US Average Hourly Earnings 0.3% vs 0.2% expected

NZD/USD

The New Zealand dollar (NZD) has wilted in the post NFP USD rally and opens this morning around 0.7285. It’s hard to see it being sold down too far ahead of tomorrow’s dairy auction and then Thursday’s RBNZ statement, but the pressure is now on the NZD as USD data continues to be solid and US rate hike expectations increase for perhaps 4 rises over the year. Light trading to feature over the next two days and we expect 0.7250 to hold any declines in the short term. We remain NZD bearish against the United States Dollar (USD).

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD/USD 0.7292 0.7120 0.7420 0.7279 – 0.7405

NZD/AUD (AUD/NZD)

The New Zealand dollar (NZD) continues to over perform on this cross as it appears to defy gravity. That said, the AUD fell against the US unit harder than the NZD on the NFP data release, so current levels for this cross should not really surprise. Event risk over the next few days centres on both the RBA and RBNZ statements and any sign of a more hawkish RBA on interest rates may see NZD lower on this cross. Any NZD rallies are expected to be shallow with the pair close to key resistance that has capped it since late July last year.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / AUD 0.9207 0.9100 0.9250 0.9031 – 0.9224
AUD / NZD 1.0861 1.0810 1.0989 1.0842 – 1.1073

NZD/GBP (GBP/NZD)

We have seen sideways trading in a narrow 0.5154-0.05197 range the last few days for the New Zealand dollar vs the UK Pound. The pair is now at 0.5166 with no clear direction. On this cross it really depends on which currency holds best against the USD rally. Brexit still a major risk for the GBP. Support at 0.5140 unlikely to be tested over the next few days ahead of the RBNZ. UK data on Thursday along with the BoE rate decision and growth report provide event risk for this cross.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / GBP 0.5165 0.5140 0.5250 0.5154 – 0.5222
GBP / NZD 1.9362 1.9047 1.9455 1.9149 – 1.9402

 NZD/CAD

The NZD has slipped a little on this cross now around the 0.9055 level after Canadian GDP on Friday. With a shortened week for the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and little in the way of Canadian data until the end of the week, we expect current levels to hold as the NZD consolidates at current levels ahead of the RBNZ on Thursday.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / CAD 0.9062 0.8950 0.9150 0.9012 – 0.9096

NZD/EURO (EURO/NZD)

The New Zealand dollar (NZD) is slowly weakening against the Euro (EUR), now at 0.5850 after a high last week around 0.5960. Solid Eurozone retail sales and service PMI data may help the EUR on this cross tonight, but we expect trading to remain within current ranges ahead of the RBNZ on Thursday.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD/EUR 0.5859 0.5720 0.5950 0.5848 – 0.5943
EUR/NZD 1.7067 1.6806 1.7482 1.6825 – 1.7100

NZD/YEN

With the softer tone continuing to come from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and more assets purchased Friday, stimulus for the Japanese economy continues, undermining the Japanese Yen (JPY) on this cross. Currently at 80.15 we look for a move back to the 81.00 over this week.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / YEN 80.13 79.20 81.50 79.18 – 80.71

AUD/USD

The Australian dollar (AUD) was knocked below the critical support of 0.8000 vs the USD after Friday’s better than expected US jobs report. Now at 0.7900 the pair looks soft, although it has come a long way already. Next support level is at 0.7890 then 0.7860 and unless the RBA surprises tomorrow the stronger USD may well see the AUD test the lower level. Little danger of upside being tested in the current climate.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / USD 0.7918 0.7860 0.8000 0.7891 – 0.8116

AUD/GBP (GBP/AUD) 

The Australian dollar (AUD) opens lower against the UK Pound at 0.5602 after a drop late last week from 0.5681 to 0.5612 mainly on the back of both currencies reaction to the USD strength which has knocked the AUD harder than GBP. Brexit woes remain for the GBP, but good data on Thursday may help the UK pound but overall we still favour the AUD but 0.5600 needs to hold if another attempt to push over 0.5700 towards a target 0.5800 is to remain viable.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / GBP 0.5608 0.5600 0.5800 0.5600 – 0.5762
GBP / AUD 1.7831 1.7242 1.7857 1.7354 – 1.7857

AUD/EURO (EURO/AUD)

The AUD continues to slide against the EUR, dropping from a high of 0.6497 last Thursday to 0.6353 this morning. With little expected from the RBA tomorrow to bolster the AUD we expect the gradual drift lower for the AUD on this cross to continue, especially if the EUR can hold to lower declines against the USD strength in comparison to the AUD.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD/EUR 0.6359 0.6330 0.6500 0.6348 – 0.6552
EUR/AUD 1.5725 1.5384 1.5767 1.5263 – 1.5754

AUD/YEN

The AUD has weakened on this cross as the JPY has held against the USD advance better than the AUD. Now at 87.08 we expect trading to remain around current levels ahead of the RBA tomorrow. Relatively unclear trend but with the AUD lower across the board a break of 86.70/75 would open up a target of 86.00.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD/YEN 86.99 86.70 89.70 86.90 – 88.33

AUD/CAD

The AUD continues to track lower on this cross, now at 0.9835 after a high of 0.9922 last Thursday…Canadian GDP figures were mildly supportive of the CAD and there are high hopes that Friday’s Canadian jobs report will also be another good one…NAFTA issues still loom as a potential risk for the CAD but at the moment we look for further CAD support against the AUD on this cross.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / CAD 0.9836 0.9800 0.9900 0.9824 – 1.0005

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Market commentary:

US equity markets continued to fall on Friday, in-spite of the crucial Non-farm payrolls figure coming in above expectations. Wall Street had its worst week since June 2016 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P both dropping over 4%. Both the Dow and S&P500 were sharply lower, over 2.5% and 2.12% as the worsening bond rout heightened concerns that the Federal Reserve will accelerate its rate-hike schedule.

Comments from Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan suggesting that Fed officials may need to hike interest rates more than three times this year to moderate the economic advance, further exacerbated the selling tone. Selling was broad based across all 11 sectors of the S&P500, with energy shares sinking 4.1% as earnings disappointed and the crude price slumped. The tech selloff worsened, pushing the Nasdaq 100 Index lower by 2.1 %, not even a record rally at Amazon could halt the decline, as shares in the world’s biggest company, Apple Inc hit their lowest level since October.

The US Nonfarm Payrolls report released earlier in the day was very positive, showing that the economy added 200,000 new jobs in January, (beating forecasts of 180K) while the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1% for the 4th consecutive month. Wages growth was up 2.9% from previous 2.5% its fastest pace of growth in eight years, a sign that inflation may finally be on the increase, stirring concerns that, if inflation grows too fast, it could affect companies’ profits and at the same time force the Fed to raise rates at a faster pace. On currency markets, the better than expected NFP data saw the USD gain across the board.

Locally, this week will be dominated by Australia’s RBA interest rate announcement and statement tomorrow, the rate is expected to remain unchanged. Also, for New Zealand there will be another Global Dairy auction on Tuesday night and then the RBNZ statement and rate decision on Thursday.

Australia

The main news out this week from Australia will be around the first RBA meeting for 2018 tomorrow. The RBA usually uses the first meeting of the year to re-set the policy discussion with an overhaul of the wording in the Governor’s statement accompanying the decision, and the Statement on Monetary Policy (SoMP) released this coming Friday, providing an opportunity to present revised forecasts and a fuller elaboration of its views. There is not expected to be a major shift this time around. It is expected that the Bank will acknowledge the more positive tone from offshore economies and emerging stronger domestic data. It may also alter its commentary, particularly around the AUD. However, its central view from late last year – that “continuing spare capacity in the economy and the subdued outlook for inflation mean that there is not a strong case for a near-term adjustment in monetary policy” – is likely to remain in place. Expect rates to remain on hold along with some commentary around the strength of the AUD. Although inflation is continuing to run below the RBA’s target 2-3% band, currently at 1.9%, we expect little comment on this as the RBA will see this as a relatively minor problem. Prior to the RBA statement trade balance figures will be released along with import/export data.

New Zealand

It is a shortened week for New Zealand markets with the Waitangi Day holiday tomorrow, so markets should see light trading ahead of the RBNZ rate announcement and Monetary Policy statement on Thursday. We believe that there is virtually zero chance of any rate increase on Thursday or anytime soon, given inflation and inflation expectations remain below levels desired by the RBNZ – low wage growth being part of the problem. Tomorrow night brings another Global Dairy auction, futures markets are pricing in a 7% gain for Wholesale milk prices, however it should be noted that over the last few auctions this indicator has been very unreliable, having seen GD auction prices tip the other way. On the better than expected NFP figures on Friday the USD is back in play and the continued thumping the equity markets are taking, does not add to the lustre of risk assets like the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The last two weeks may have been the high watermark for the NZD for the year.

United States

Very solid NFP jobs data on Friday, above expectations at 200K (180k expected) and with the unemployment rate remaining constant for the 4th month at 4.1% proved positive for the USD, although equity markets continued to be aggressively sold off. Of note in the jobs data was the increase in wages of 2.9% against the previous 2.5%, the fastest pace of growth in eight years, a sign that inflation may be starting to stir. Market concern is that although 3 Fed rate hikes for the calendar year have been more-or-less allowed for, continued stronger than forecast data may see the Fed increasing the pace of rate hikes to 4 for the year, which has seen the bond market rally and equity markets sharply lower.  Given the strong labour data we believe that next month’s rate hike is “a done deal” and that ongoing solid data releases will raise rate hike expectations, keeping equity valuations under pressure. The US dollar rallied on Friday immediately after the NFP release, as negative sentiment toward the greenback began to fade after it plummeted last week to multi-month lows across the board. However, the USD later in the day gave back most of its gains against the EUR as the equity market continued to be sold down.

Europe

The tortuous negotiations around the formation of a new German government continue with a Sunday deadline for talks between Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats coming and going without any coalition agreement being reached. This continues to weigh on the EUR and talks will continue this week. Eurozone weak wage growth remains an important factor in the subdued Eurozone inflation outlook. Wages have failed to pick up recently despite increasing labour shortages. With unemployment in December at 8.7%, stable at the lowest rate since January 2009, some recovery in wage growth would seem imminent. German unions are pushing for higher wage increases in collective bargaining negotiations for example, but it will likely take at least until 2019 until wage growth is back at pre GFC crisis levels. Don’t hold your breath for any swift return of inflation to the Eurozone anytime soon.

United Kingdom

With little in the way of major releases over the week, Thursday/Friday saw manufacturing and construction PMI data, with both figures falling lower in January below market expectations, however the UK pound remained well supported by the ongoing fundamental weakness of the US Dollar.  We expect UK markets to consolidate ahead of major releases on Thursday for quarterly inflation and the BoE rate decision along with the accompanying Monetary Policy statement. Data on Friday for Industrial production and the trade balance will also provide further gauges of the state of the UK economy. Expectations are for the Monetary Policy Committee expected to stay unchanged on both asset purchasing program as well as the interest rates that have just been lifted to 0.5% after a decade of lower rates. The Bank of England is expected to remain traditionally conservative in its inflation report, seeing only modest economic growth rate in the UK for the upcoming three years, although it may be a little more optimistic than the International Monetary Fund with its 1.5% y/y prediction for both 2018 and 2019. BoE Governor Carney is expected to be cautiously pragmatic and has already pointed out that the Bank’s forecast of the UK GDP differs from the one issued by the IMF two weeks ago in Davos. The UK has been the only G7 country with the GDP forecast downgraded in the newest version of the World economic Outlook. While growth outlook for the UK might be a bit more optimistic, the inflation outlook is the main determinant of the policy and there should be little change on that front, even after the current strength of GBP is playing in favour of inflation falling faster towards the 2% inflation target. The latest inflation numbers showed the UK CPI rising less than expected by 3.0% y/y in December, but although the Bank of England may opt for tentative optimism in terms of inflation forecast, it is highly unlikely to alter its outlook of maximum two rate hikes until 2019.

Japan

Light economic releases to end the week from Japan, with nothing much this week until trade data and current account figures on Wednesday. The monetary stimulus continues in Japan with the BoJ on Friday buying JPY 450 bln of 5 to 10 year Japanese Government bonds. The USD/JPY rose on Friday completing three days of gains. After the release of the NFP, it peaked at 110.47, the highest level in a week. It has now pulled back modestly finding support around 110.00- 110.25 level.

Canada

Canadian GDP came in as expected at 0.4% m-o-m for November, not changing the bigger positive picture for the economy. Markit’s manufacturing PMI also suggested that Canada is doing well, with a score of 55.9, better than expectations. The upcoming week features a Canadian publication almost every day. Trade data and the Ivey PMI will shape trading of CAD on Tuesday, building permits on Wednesday and more housing starts on Thursday. Thursday also sees a speech by BOC Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins. She provided the first hint for the first BOC hike in 2017, so her speech on Thursday could be a market mover. The most important publication is Canada’s jobs report on Friday with high expectations for a good report around 44K after two stellar jobs reports for November and December, both were around 79K, smashing all expectations. The publication will get full attention as the US Non-Farm Payrolls is already out, and we may see a stark difference between the two neighbours’ publications. The USD/CAD enjoyed solid gains, breaking over the 1.2400 resistance level to a high around 1.2435. Immediate support is at 1.2400 with topside at 1.2480.

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End of day NY time
Source: CoinDesk

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