March 18, 2023
EUR/USD: ECB Not Fazed by Banking Crisis
- The past week was marked by a large black candle when EUR/USD plummeted from 1.0759 to 1.0515. And this happened not on Thursday, March 16, when the ECB made a decision on the interest rate, but the day before. The reason for the weakening of the European currency was none other than the head of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia.
Here's what happened. Following the collapse of three banks in the United States, Silvergate, Silicon Valley, and Signature, the banking crisis spread to Europe, hitting Credit Suisse. This largest Swiss financial conglomerate has long been experiencing serious liquidity problems amid corruption scandals in Mozambique and rumors of dirty money from Bulgarian drug lords fueled by the media. And on Wednesday, March 15, it became known that the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, which is the largest shareholder of Credit Suisse, decided not to help the troubled Swiss with money anymore.
Credit Suisse's stocks fell more than 30%. But it didn't end there, and a wave of panic hit other major European banks. Societe Generale's shares fell by 12%, BNP Paribas - by 10%, Commerzbank - by 9%. In this situation, investors decided that the ECB would not dare to raise the rate by 50 basis points (bp), the likelihood of such a move dropped from 90% to 20%, which led to euro sales.
But as often happens, investors were wrong. Thursday came, and the European Central Bank did what it promised a month ago: raised the rate by 50 bp. In addition, concerns about the banking sector began to decline. The National Bank of Switzerland took on the salvation of Credit Suisse, and US authorities extended a helping hand to American banks, including the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. In addition, 11 more private banks joined the rescue operation, allocating $30 billion for these purposes. As a result, the storm subsided, EUR/USD returned to its comfortable zone of 1.0650, and market participants began discussing how much the US regulator would raise the interest rate on Wednesday.
Let's remind that the nearest FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting of the US Federal Reserve is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22. However, despite the hawkish statements of Jerome Powell and his colleagues, macroeconomic statistics suggest rather easing than further tightening of the Fed's monetary policy.
The data from the US labor market published on March 9 and 10 vividly demonstrate the slowdown of the country's economy. Thus, the number of initial jobless claims was 211K, exceeding the expected 195K and 190K a month earlier. This indicator exceeded the 200K mark for the first time and reached a maximum since December 2022. As for the number of new jobs created outside the agricultural sector (NFP), it was 311K, significantly less than in January - 503K. Together with the rise in unemployment to 3.6% (3.4% in January), the decrease in retail sales growth rates, and the banking crisis, these data may cool down the hawkish fervor of FOMC members. Currently, the likelihood of raising the federal funds rate by 25 basis points (from the current 4.75% to 5.00%) on March 22 is 80%. Moreover, derivatives predict a drop in the rate below 4% by the end of 2023, which is bad news for the dollar.
However, the European economy is not doing well either, which could prompt the ECB to take a less aggressive step. The swap market is almost 100% sure that on May 4, the euro regulator will raise the rate only by 25 basis points - from 3.00% to 3.25%.
EUR/USD closed the past five-day period at 1.0664. At the time of writing this review, on Friday evening, March 17, 40% of analysts expect the strengthening of the dollar, while the same percentage predicts its weakening, and the remaining 20% take a neutral position. Among the oscillators on D1, 75% are painted in green, another 10% are in red, and 15% are in neutral gray. Among the trend indicators, 90% recommend buying and 10% recommend selling. The nearest support for the pair is located in the area of 1.0590-1.0620, followed by levels and zones of 1.5000-1.0530, 1.0440, 1.0375-1.0400, 1.0300, and 1.0220-1.0255. Bulls will face resistance in the area of 1.0680-1.0700, 1.0740-1.0760, 1.0800, 1.0865, 1.0930, 1.0985-1.1030.
It is clear that the main event of the upcoming week will be the Fed meeting on March 22, the summary of forecasts, and the subsequent press conference of the organization's leadership. In addition, on Monday, March 20, the People's Bank of China will make its decision on the interest rate, which may affect the dynamics of the DXY dollar index. As for the end of the working week, on Thursday, March 23, another batch of data from the US labor market will be released, and on Friday, March 24, the indicators of business activity (PMI) in Germany and the Eurozone, as well as the volume of orders for capital goods and durable goods in the United States, will become known.
GBP/USD: UK Treasury Boosts the Pound
- GBP/USD also marked a black candle on March 15, albeit slightly shorter at 170 pips. However, by the end of the week, the pound had fully recovered and even strengthened compared to the first ten days of March, finishing at 1.2175. This was due to increased optimism about the prospects of the British economy. The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, presented the budget for the current year, the main goal of which, he said, was to stabilize the country's economy. It is expected that the UK GDP will decrease by only 0.2% this year, rather than 1.5% as previously expected, thus avoiding a technical recession. In addition, the inflation rate should decrease to 2.9% by the end of 2023, which is almost 3.5 times less than the peak value of 10.1%. Furthermore, the Chancellor announced a package of measures and benefits for individuals to help compensate for the shortage of labor.
Following the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates next week, the Bank of England (BoE) will announce its own decision just 18 hours later. It should be noted that the head of the BoE, Andrew Bailey, speaking on Wednesday, March 1, was vague, stating that a final decision regarding the prospects of the monetary policy of the British central bank had not yet been made, and that the bank should be flexible in the coming months to avoid alarming the markets. Now, the regulator's caution will be further exacerbated by the banking crisis initiated primarily by the aggressive actions of colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic. And if previously, market participants were confident in raising interest rates by at least 25 basis points from the current 4.00% (and perhaps even by 50 basis points), now they have doubts – what if the BoE decides to take a pause to assess the situation and avoid making any mistakes?
At the moment, the majority of experts (50%) are on the side of the dollar, with only 10% voting for the rise of the British currency, while the remaining 40% remain in a wait-and-see position. Among the oscillators on D1, the balance of power is as follows: 85% voted in favor of the greenback (a quarter of them are in the overbought zone) and 15% in favor of the red. Among the trend indicators, the absolute advantage is on the side of the greenback, with 100%. The support levels and zones for the pair are 1.2145, 1.2075-1.2085, 1.2000-1,2025, 1.1960, 1.1900-1.1920, 1.1800-1.1840, 1.1720, and 1.1600. If the pair moves north, it will encounter resistance at levels 1.2200-1.2210, 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 events related to the UK economy, in addition to the BoE meeting, the next week's calendar includes Friday, March 24, when data on retail sales and business activity in the country's service sector will be released.
USD/JPY: Will the Interest Rate Go Even Lower?
- The yen is the currency that is absolutely unaffected by the banking crisis in the US and Europe, on the contrary, it adds attractiveness to the Japanese currency as a quiet harbor capable of protecting against financial storms. Not even the statement by the departing governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, about the possible further reduction of the interest rate, which is already negative at -0.1%, has discouraged investors. As a result, USD/JPY ended the trading session where it had already been in early February, at the level of 131.80.
As for the nearest prospects, currently, 50% of experts have voted for the pair to move north, 25% have pointed in the opposite direction, and another 25% have refrained from making any forecasts. Among the oscillators on D1, 90% are pointing south (a third of them are signaling oversold), while 10% are looking in the opposite direction. All trend indicators are pointing south. The nearest support level is located in the zone of 131.25, followed by levels and zones of 130.50, 129.70-130.00, 128.00-128.15, and 127.20. Resistance levels and zones are at 132.80-133.20, 134.00-134.35, 135.00-135.35, 135.90-136.00, 137.00, 137.50, and 137.90-138.00.
No significant macro statistics related to Japan's economy are expected to be released next week. However, traders should keep in mind that Tuesday, March 21is a holiday in Japan: the Spring Equinox Day. And, of course, it should not be forgotten that the FOMC meeting of the US Federal Reserve is scheduled for March 22.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: What's Bad for Banks Is Good for Bitcoin
- In our last review, we listed a number of factors that negatively affect the crypto market. Among them are crypto repressions by US authorities, including the Treasury Department, SEC, Federal Reserve, Attorney General, Senate, and even the Biden administration. However, problems with altcoins and even upcoming changes in tax legislation pale in comparison to the crisis in the American banking sector. On March 8, the crypto bank Silvergate announced voluntary liquidation, followed by Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, which were actively used by crypto companies as fiat gateways. And last week, European banks were added to the list, as discussed above.
Silvergate suffered due to the debts of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, while SVB and Signature were sunk by the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, including aggressive interest rate hikes and balance sheet reductions. "The 18th largest bank [SVB] has collapsed. We learned how the record sale of US Treasury bonds led to billions of dollars in unrealized losses in the banking sector. Thus, we received another example that a partial reserve system has creditors, not depositors," commented The Bitcoin Layer on the event. According to FDIC data, just in the last year, unrealized losses of US banks increased from $3 billion to $652 billion.
So, regulators first sent banks to the bottom, and then set about saving them. SVB and Signature have come under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The latter, along with the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, stated that SVB and Signature Bank depositors will have access to all funds in full. In addition, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Bank Term Funding Facility (BTFP) to provide emergency financing to banks that may face similar problems, with $25 billion allocated for this purpose.
Against this background, the author of the bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki once again called for investment in gold, silver, and bitcoin. In his opinion, to save the "sick economy," regulators will print "even more fake money." "Take care of yourself. An emergency landing is ahead," Kiyosaki wrote.
Market analyst Tedtalksmacro called this move by the Fed the beginning of unofficial quantitative easing. And former CEO of BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, was even more categorical: "Get ready for a rapid rally in risky assets. The money printer is on! - he wrote. - Helping depositors of failed banks means injecting money into an economy from which liquidity has only been withdrawn over the course of a year. This is excellent fuel for risky assets."
Recall that at the beginning of March, we saw active outflows from institutional investors, who were scared off by regulators. In just one week, outflows from bitcoin funds amounted to a record $244 million. And now everything has changed: the BTC rate has jumped by more than 30%, and the overall cryptocurrency market capitalization has once again risen above $1 trillion. Market participants have remembered the potential of cryptocurrency as a capital protection tool and that Bitcoin was created precisely to withstand such shocks. Observers draw parallels with the Cypriot crisis of 2013, which highlighted the shortcomings of the fractional reserve system and drew attention to decentralized hedging in opposition to centralized banking.
According to some experts, what happened has been excellent advertising for bitcoin, whose price is expected to soar. However, there are skeptical voices as well. For example, CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer continued to criticize the crypto industry, calling bitcoin a "strange animal." In his opinion, large financial institutions and wealthy investors manipulate cryptocurrencies in secret. "Please don't think everything is happening on its own," Cramer warned the audience, adding that he never believed in bitcoin.
The forecast given by well-known macro analyst and trader Henrik Zeberg also looks bleak. He evaluated the correlation between the level of unemployment in the US, the NAHB housing index, the stock market index, and cryptocurrencies, and noted the scary similarity of the current scenario to the 1929 crisis. According to the expert, all markets were "extremely overheated" and are now approaching an economic collapse that will last for several years. The impending recession may be much more severe than in 2007-2009. According to the analyst, the cryptocurrency market will also suffer greatly, and many digital coins will not withstand the pressure.
Zeberg presented a forecast for the macroeconomic recession based on Elliott wave theory. According to the research, wave 4 may reach its maximum level in early 2024. After that, major financial markets will be doomed to collapse. The specialist emphasized that all attention should be focused on the economic indicators of the third and fourth quarters of 2023, which may become the last "bullish" period of this market cycle.
As of the writing of this review on the evening of March 17, BTC/USD is trading around $27,500. The total market capitalization of the crypto market rose from $0.937 trillion to $1.155 trillion over the week. The Bitcoin fear and greed index increased from 34 to 51 points in seven days and moved from the Fear zone to the Neutral zone.
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.