July 22, 2023

EUR/USD: Awaiting the Federal Reserve and ECB Meetings

  • When the DXY Dollar Index dropped to April 2022 levels (99.65) on July 14, many market participants concluded that the best days for the American currency were over. Inflation is nearing target levels, and in order not to suffocate the economy, the Federal Reserve will soon initiate a campaign to ease its monetary policy. However, things aren't that straightforward. After reaching a peak of 1.1275 on Tuesday, July 18, the EUR/USD pair reversed and started to decline.

    In general, against the backdrop of weak macroeconomic reports coming from the United States, the dollar could have given up a few dozen or even a couple of hundred points to the euro. Industrial production in the country is falling for the second month in a row, with a 0.5% decrease in June. Retail sales, expected to grow by 0.5%, only increased by 0.2% (a 0.5% increase in May). The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's Manufacturing Activity Index continues to be in the negative territory (-13.5). The real estate market data also turned out worse than predicted. For instance, the number of new constructions in the U.S. fell by 8.0% in June, following a 15.7% increase in the previous month. The number of issued construction permits also dropped by 3.7% after a 5.6% rise in May. Sales in the secondary housing market were below the previous values (4.16M in June, 4.30M in May, forecast 4.20M). However, the labour market data turned out slightly better than expected - the number of initial jobless claims was 228K (previous value 237K, forecast 242K). Yet, this is a highly volatile indicator, and it may not reflect the actual situation, but the market was pleased with this bit of positivity.

    Overall, the published macro-statistics vividly illustrate the cooling of the American economy. The worsening situation in the real estate market clearly signals the pressure that high-interest rates exert on this important sector. It's enough to recall the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, which began with a mortgage crisis in the U.S.

    In such a situation, the hawkish course of the Federal Reserve is likely nearing its end. Almost all Bloomberg experts anticipate that on July 26, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will raise the interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.5%. There's a possibility that the hike could be even less: not 25, but just 10 basis points. Afterwards, the regulator is expected to take a wait-and-see approach, which could last until the end of the year. The futures market estimates the probability of a rate increase to 5.75% in 2023 at 28%.

    However, there's not just the American currency on the EUR/USD scale but also the pan-European one. Revised statistics show that in Q1, the Eurozone's GDP was almost at zero, the economy is stagnating, and its growth prospects appear rather weak. It is clear that the hike in the euro's key interest rate, which has grown from 0% to 4.00% in this tightening cycle, has had and continues to have a negative impact. The lagging effect of monetary tightening is becoming more and more palpable.

    On the other hand, despite a 400 basis point increase in rates, inflation (CPI) in the Eurozone is declining quite slowly - in June, it was 5.5% year-on-year compared to 6.1% a month earlier. It is still very far from its target level of 2.0%.

    Therefore, on one hand, we see significant price pressure, on the other – the difficulties the EU economy is experiencing. In such an ambiguous situation, the further steps of the European Central Bank officials also seem uncertain. More clarity regarding future monetary policy is expected to emerge at the upcoming European Central Bank Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Thursday, July 27. At least, that's what market participants are hoping for.

    Even somewhat unclear data from the US labour market was enough to trigger a DXY correction northwards and send EUR/USD south. The final note of the working week was set at 1.1125. As for the near-term prospects, at the time of writing this review, the evening of July 21, only 20% of analysts voted for the pair's further rise, 50% for its fall, and the remaining 30% took a neutral stance. As for technical analysis, on D1, 75% of trend indicators point up, 25% point down. Of the oscillators, 85% recommend buying, while the remaining 15% take a neutral stance. The pair's nearest support is located around 1.1090-1.1110, 1.1045, 1.0995-1.1010, 1.0895-1.0925, 1.0845-1.0865, 1.0800, 1.0760, 1.0670, 1.0620-1.0635. Bulls will meet resistance around 1.1145, then 1.1170, 1.1230-1.1245, 1.1275-1.1290, 1.1355, 1.1475, and 1.1715.

    Undoubtedly, the key events of the upcoming week will be the FED meeting on July 26 and the ECB meeting on July 27, along with the subsequent press conferences held by the leaders of these regulators. Additionally, on Monday, July 24, numerous preliminary business activity data (PMI) will come from Germany, the Eurozone, and the US. The next day, the Eurozone Bank Lending Survey will be published, and the value of the US Consumer Confidence Index will be known. On Thursday, data on durable goods orders will arrive from the United States, along with real estate and unemployment statistics. Finally, at the very end of the working week, on Friday, July 28, we will learn the preliminary data on inflation (CPI) in Germany, as well as personal consumption expenditure data in the US.

GBP/USD: 50 Basis Points or is it 25 After All?

  • The next meeting of the Bank of England (BoE) is set for August 3. Some market participants are inclined to believe that at this meeting, the regulator will raise the base rate for the pound by another 50 basis points (bps) to 5.50%. Economists from the French financial conglomerate Societe Generale have formulated three main reasons why the BoE will take this step.

    Firstly, inflation in the service sector and wages may have peaked in June, but both indicators remain uncomfortably high. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), although it fell over the month from 8.7% to 7.9% (with a forecast of 8.2%), is still far from the target level of 2.0%.

    Secondly, as Societe Generale believes, investors are avoiding UK bonds due to persistent inflation in the country. Such high and stable inflation means that investors require higher compensation for holding UK bonds compared to US Treasuries and German bonds. To reassure investors, it is necessary at this stage to continue a strict monetary policy.

    Thirdly, in recent weeks the Bank of England and its governor Andrew Bailey have been heavily criticized for sticking to a soft monetary course for too long, thereby allowing a powerful surge in inflation. And now the BoE may overdo it in its desire to prove that its critics are wrong. This can lead to more aggressive actions, such as a significant rate hike. However, we must also consider the possibility that the BoE could choose a more conservative 25 basis point rate hike instead.

    Indeed, not everyone agrees with the arguments put forth by the French economists. For instance, their colleagues at the German Commerzbank have noted that consumer prices (CPI) in the UK grew at a much slower rate in June than was expected. Therefore, the market's built-in expectations for a rate increase are too high and require a downward correction. This, in turn, will lead to a weakening of the pound. A similar viewpoint was expressed by strategists at the Netherlands' largest banking group, ING, who believe the rate will be increased by a maximum of 25 basis points.

    The above-mentioned CPI data was published on Wednesday, July 19. However, in addition to this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK also published retail trade data for the country on Friday, July 21. It turned out that in June, the volume of retail trade increased by 0.7% on a monthly basis, compared to the expected 0.2% and 0.1% previously. The main indicator of retail sales, excluding auto fuel sales, increased by 0.8% over the month compared to the forecasted 0.1% and 0% in May. The annual volume of retail sales in the UK fell by -1.0% in June against the forecasted -1.5% and May's decline of -2.3%, while the base volume of retail sales dropped by -0.9% against the expected -1.6% and the previous -1.9%.

    After the release of these favorable data, the UK Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt stated that "we will start seeing results if we stick to our plan to halve inflation". The minister's words could be interpreted as support for further tightening of the BoE's hawkish policy. However, the markets practically ignored them, and the strengthening dollar continued to pressure GBP/USD, which ended the five-day trading period at the 1.2852 mark.

    As for the pair's movement, it will, of course, depend on the decisions and statements of the Fed on July 26. Undoubtedly, the ECB's meeting on July 27 will also influence the pound through EUR/GBP. But all this is in the near future. As for the present, at the time of writing this review, the median forecast of experts for GBP/USD looks maximally neutral: a third of them voted for the pair's growth, a third - for its fall, and a third maintained neutrality. On D1 oscillators, 35% are coloured green, 25% - red, and the remaining 40% - neutral grey. Among trend indicators, 60% sided with the green, and 40% sided with the red. In case of the pair's movement south, it will meet support levels and zones at 1.2800-1.2815, then 1.2675-1.2695, 1.2570, 1.2435-1.2450, 1.2300-1.2330, 1.2190-1.2210. In case of the pair's growth, it will meet resistance at 1.2940, then 1.2980-1.3000, 1.3050-1.3060, 1.3125-1.3140, 1.3185-1.3210, 1.3300-1.3335, 1.3425, 1.3605.

    Apart from the FED and ECB meetings, another notable event in the upcoming week's calendar is on Monday, July 24, when the preliminary business activity data (PMI) for various sectors of the UK economy will be published.

USD/JPY: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for July 24 - 28, 20231

  • The Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin wrote a book in 1904 titled "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back". What happened to the yen over the past three weeks can be titled as "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back". For the first two weeks of July, the Japanese currency grew, and for the third, it gave back more than half of its gains. And while its peers - the euro and pound, retreated thanks to a stronger dollar, in the case of USD/JPY, a significant blow to the national currency was not dealt by the US, but by a fall in inflation in Japan.

    It should be recalled that at the time of writing the previous forecast, the number of supporters of yen weakening was three times the number of those expecting its further strengthening (45% versus 15%). And the majority turned out to be correct. The Inflation Report published on Friday, July 21st, sent the Japanese currency into a knockdown. USD/JPY jumped by more than 1%. It turned out that despite the ultra-dovish policy of the BoJ and a negative interest rate of -0.1%, consumer price growth has decreased. Despite a forecast of 3.5%, in reality, inflation (CPI) in June was 3.3%. The consumer price index excluding food and energy fell to 4.2% compared to the previous value of 4.3%.

    These data, if not completely, then at least for a long time, buried hopes for a tightening of the monetary policy of the Japanese Central Bank. Moreover, the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who spoke the day before, supported the current monetary policy of the regulator. Therefore, with a high degree of probability, at its meeting on Friday, July 28, the Bank of Japan will leave the interest rate unchanged. And to maintain the course of the national currency, if necessary, as before, it will resort to currency interventions.

    In the meantime, to stop the yen's fall, Japan's Chief Currency Diplomat Masato Kanda stepped in with a "verbal intervention". In particular, he stated that he "never felt a limit to the possibilities for currency interventions" and that when it comes to them, he takes various steps to avoid running out of "ammunition".

    The situation has somewhat calmed down after the comments made by Masato Kanda, with USD/JPY ending the past week at a mark of 141.80. At the time of writing this review, 25% of analysts predict the pair will continue its upward movement in the upcoming days, 55% voted for a downward trend, and 20% took a neutral position. The readings of the D1 indicators are as follows: among the oscillators, 25% are coloured red, 50% green, and 25% grey. Trend indicators show a clear advantage for the greens at 90%, with only 10% on the opposite side. The nearest support level is located in the zone of 141.40, followed by 140.45-140.60, 139.85, 138.95-139.05, 138.05-138.30, then 137.25-137.50, 135.95, 133.75-134.15, 132.80-133.00, 131.25, 130.60, 129.70, 128.10, and 127.20. The nearest resistance is at 142.20, followed by 143.75-144.00, 145.05-145.30, 146.85-147.15, 148.85, and finally the peak of October 2022 at 151.95.

    Besides the Bank of Japan's meeting, no significant economic information pertaining to the country's economy is anticipated in the upcoming week.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Litecoin Halving - Rehearsal for Bitcoin Halving

  • Observers note that the peak of the Dollar Index DXY in 2023 almost coincided with bitcoin's trough. There's nothing surprising about this: BTC/USD is like a scale. If the dollar gets heavier, bitcoin becomes lighter. Last week, the rise of the American currency led to a weakening of the digital one. It's worth noting that bitcoin is desperately trying to hold onto the support zone at $29,850 and avoid a collapse to the June lows around $25,000.

    The relationship between BTC and USD is logical and understandable. However, some crypto enthusiasts are trying to position bitcoin as the primary, leading asset, with the dollar trailing behind like a dog's tail. As an argument, they cite, for example, the fact that bitcoin entered a horizontal channel by the middle of last year, while the Dollar Index caught up with it a few weeks later. If you look closely, you can find many such moments on the charts. But in our opinion, one should not overestimate the significance of the main cryptocurrency.

    At the moment, many experts and influencers continue to paint a bright future for bitcoin. Although the heights of target horizons differ by times, sometimes even by tens of times. For example, Standard Chartered economist Geoff Kendrick recently stated that his financial corporation has adopted a more optimistic forecast for bitcoin's market value, targeting the $120,000 level by the end of 2024.

    In response, BBC World analyst Glen Goodman wrote that these $120,000 "seem more like a figure pulled out of thin air than a genuinely justified forecast." He believes that the authors of such predictions are siding with the bulls and are not considering a number of key factors. The most important of them is that the US financial regulators are ruthlessly cracking down on the crypto industry, inundating its participants with lawsuits and investigations. Moreover, Goodman refers to forecasts by American economists who expect a protracted recession next year, the consequences of which can seriously suppress activity in the financial markets, including the digital asset market.

    Unlike Glen Goodman, Real Vision CEO and former Goldman Sachs top manager Raoul Pal believes that economic troubles, confusion in the banking sector, and the real estate market crisis are beneficial for bitcoin, which serves as a defensive asset against this backdrop. According to Raoul Pal, a bullish rally for digital gold is inevitable, and BTC can easily reach the $50,000 mark later this year.

    Renowned analyst under the nickname PlanB, on the other hand, does not believe that a powerful pump of the flagship cryptocurrency can occur before the halving in April 2024. His forecast is based on using the MA-200 as an indicator. This line increases on average by $500 a month, so in nine months it will be at the $32,000 mark. According to PlanB, it is possible that the coin's price might even be about 50% above this mark, but even then, it would be only $48,000.

    Michael Van De Poppe, the founder of venture firm Eight, has clarified his prediction from last week. He believes that the current trend is breaking the minimums, as a result of which bitcoin could drop to $29,500 and even $29,000. However, he thinks that such a price movement could precede a bullish rally, during which the main cryptocurrency will raise its rate first to $32,500, then to $34,000, followed by a surge to $38,000.

    Shifting from short- and medium-term forecasts to long-term, one could mention the opinion of Catherine Wood, CEO of ARK Invest. It seems that she is not particularly interested in jumps to $38,000 and even to $120,000. Once again, she reaffirmed her forecast that in about seven years, against the backdrop of inflation and a banking crisis, bitcoin will trade at $1,500,000 per coin, or at least at $625,000.

    Against the backdrop of Catherine Wood's boundless optimism, data from CryptoVantage, whose employees surveyed 1,000 crypto investors from the U.S., comes as a cold sobering shower. It turned out that only 23% of them believe that the Bitcoin rate will reach its historical maximum of $68,917 next year. 47% think that the coin's price will rise to this mark within five years. 78% are confident that BTC will eventually return to its all-time high, but in an uncertain future. And 9% believe that this will never happen again.

    We've paid significant attention to the upcoming bitcoin halving in April 2023 in our previous reviews. Let's now remember that the Litecoin halving is due quite soon, on August 2nd of this year. The reward for mining a block will be reduced to 6.25 LTC. Given that Litecoin is a fork of bitcoin, and its total emission is capped at 84 million coins, it will be interesting to observe the changes in Litecoin's price and attempt to forecast bitcoin's performance after its future halving based on these observations.

    At the time of writing this review, on the evening of Friday, July 21, BTC/USD is trading around $29,850. The total capitalization of the crypto market has barely changed and stands at $1.202 trillion ($1.198 trillion a week ago). The Crypto Fear & Greed Index is in the Neutral zone, at 50 points (down from 60 points a week ago).


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.

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