December 2, 2023

EUR/USD: December – A Formidable Month for the Dollar

  • Who will start loosening the grip on their monetary policies earlier, the Federal Reserve (FRS) or the European Central Bank (ECB)? The discussion on this topic remains active, as clearly seen in the quotes' charts. The statistics from the past week did not allow EUR/USD to solidify above the significant level of 1.1000. It all began on Wednesday, November 29, with the publication of inflation data in Germany. The preliminary Consumer Price Index (CPI) in annual terms amounted to 3.2%, which is lower than both the forecast of 3.5% and the previous value of 3.8%. In monthly terms, the German CPI went even deeper into the negative territory, reaching -0.4% (against a forecast of -0.2% and 0.0% the previous month).

    These data marked the beginning of the euro's retreat. EUR/USD continued its decline after the release of the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the Eurozone. Eurostat reported that, according to preliminary data, the HICP fell to the lowest level since June 2021, amounting to 2.4% (y/y), which is lower than both the 2.9% in October and the expected 2.7%. The monthly indicator was -0.5%, decreasing from 0.1% in the previous month.

    All these data have shown that deflation in the Eurozone significantly outpaces the American one. As a result, many market participants, including strategists at the largest banking group in the Netherlands, ING, have started talking about the imminent victory of the ECB over inflation. They have concluded that the European Central Bank will be the first to ease its monetary policy, including lowering interest rates and engaging in monetary expansion. According to forecasts, this process may begin in April, and with a 50% probability, even a month earlier, in March. The likelihood that the key interest rate will be reduced by 125 basis points (bps) during 2024, from 4.50% to 3.25%, is estimated at 70%. Indirectly, the move towards a more dovish policy was recently confirmed by a member of the ECB's Executive Board and the head of the Bank of Italy, Fabio Panetta, who spoke about the "unnecessary harm" that can be caused by persistently high-interest rates.

    As for the United States, FOMC officials speak not of harm but, on the contrary, of the benefits of high-interest rates. For instance, John C. Williams, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, stated that it is appropriate to keep borrowing costs on a plateau for an extended period. According to him, this would allow for a complete restoration of the balance between demand and supply and bring inflation back to 2.0%. Williams predicts that the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index will decrease to 2.25% by the end of 2024 and stabilize near the target level only in 2025.

    Therefore, it is unlikely that we should expect the hawks of the Federal Reserve to turn into doves in the near future. Especially considering that the U.S. economy allows maintaining such a position: stock indices are rising, and the GDP data published on November 29 showed a growth of 5.2% in Q3, surpassing both market expectations of 5.0% and the previous value of 4.9%.

    Given this situation, it's not surprising that EUR/USD experienced a decline.

    On Friday afternoon, it reached a local low at the level of 1.0828 and would have continued to decline further if it were not for the head of the Federal Reserve. Jerome Powell spoke at the very end of the workweek and stated that he considers premature the discussion of when the U.S. central bank can begin to ease its monetary policy. He hinted that the Fed will keep the interest rate unchanged at the current level of 5.50% at the December meeting. Powell also noted that the core inflation in the U.S. is still significantly higher than the target of 2.0%, and the Federal Reserve is ready to continue tightening its policy if necessary. In general, he said the same things as John Williams. However, if the words of the President of the New York Fed strengthened the dollar, somehow similar words from the Fed Chair weakened it: during Powell's speech, the DXY Index lost about 0.12%. Market reactions are truly unpredictable! As a result, the final chord of the week sounded at the level of 1.0882.

    What awaits us in December? Following the logic mentioned above, the dollar should continue its advance against the euro. However, a seasonal factor may intervene, indicating a bearish movement for the dollar in December against a range of currencies. According to economists at Societe Generale, the average decline of the Dollar Index (DXY) over the last 10 years in December is 0.8%. Seasonally, the euro (EUR), Swedish krona (SEK), British pound (GBP), and Swiss franc (CHF) tend to rise, while the movements of the Australian dollar (AUD), Canadian dollar (CAD), Japanese yen (JPY), and Mexican peso (MXN) can be considered mixed.

    Specialists at the Japanese MUFG Bank also confirm bullish indicators for EUR/USD in the last month of the year. "The seasonal tendency in December," they write, "is quite convincing: over the last 20 years, December has seen EUR/USD rise 14 times, with an impressive average gain of 2.6% over these 14 years. If we exclude December 2008 (+10.1%), the average gain in the other 13 cases was still significant at +2.0%. Moreover, in 8 out of 11 cases when EUR/USD rose in November, it was followed by a rise in December" (and it rose indeed!). "But this does not mean," caution MUFG, "that we can ignore fundamental factors." It is relevant to remind here that based on such factors, the Federal Reserve (FRS) and the European Central Bank (ECB) will make decisions at their meetings on December 13 and 14, respectively.

    At the moment, experts' opinions on the near future of EUR/USD are divided as follows: 50% voted for the strengthening of the dollar, 30% sided with the euro, and 20% remained neutral. Regarding technical analysis, 50% of oscillators on the D1 chart are coloured green, 30% are in a neutral grey, and only 20% are red. Interestingly, half of these 20% are already signalling oversold conditions. Among trend indicators, 65% favour the bullish side, while 35% point in the opposite direction.

    The nearest support for the pair is located in the area of 1.0830-1.0840, followed by 1.0740, 1.0620-1.0640, 1.0480-1.0520, 1.0450, 1.0375, 1.0200-1.0255, 1.0130, and 1.0000. Bulls will encounter resistance around 1.0900, 1.0965-1.0985, 1.1070-1.1110, 1.1150, 1.1230-1.1275, 1.1350, and 1.1475.

    A substantial flow of data is anticipated from the American labour market in the upcoming week of December 5 to 8. The highlight will be on Friday, December 8, when crucial indicators such as the unemployment rate and the number of new non-farm jobs (NFP) will be published. Additionally, on Tuesday, December 5, we will learn about business activity (PMI) in the U.S. service sector. Data on retail sales in the Eurozone will be available on Wednesday, December 6, and the following day, we will find out about GDP. Finally, on Friday, December 8, revised data on consumer inflation (CPI) in Germany will be released.

GBP/USD: Three Reasons in Favor of the Pound

  • The likelihood that the US Federal Reserve has likely concluded its cycle of monetary restriction and interest rates have plateaued has been mentioned earlier. Similar sentiments were expressed regarding the historical seasonal advantages of the British pound over the dollar in December.

    Verbal support for the British currency was provided by the rhetoric of the Bank of England (BoE) leadership, which currently has no plans to adjust its current monetary policy trajectory. As known, this trajectory is aimed at tightening. Deputy Governor of the BoE, Dave Ramsden, stated that monetary policy should continue to be restrictive to curb inflation. A similar hawkish position was taken by BoE Governor Andrew Bailey, who emphasized that rates should rise for longer, even if it negatively affects the economy.

    Currently, the key interest rate for the pound is at a 15-year high of 5.25%. Its last increase occurred on August 3, after which the Bank of England took a pause. However, this does not necessarily mean that they won't resume and increase the rate by 25 basis points at their December or January meeting.

    Similar hawkish statements from the leaders of the Bank of England contribute to bullish sentiments for the pound. Even despite the dollar's rise in the second half of the past week, GBP/USD couldn't breach the support at 1.2600. According to economists from the Singaporean United Overseas Bank (UOB), as long as this strong level remains unbroken, there is a possibility for the pair to move slightly higher in the next 1-3 weeks before an increased risk of a pullback. UOB believes that, at the moment, the likelihood of the pound rising to the resistance level of 1.2795 is not substantial.

    Following Jerome Powell's remarks, GBP/USD settled at the level of 1.2710 at the conclusion of the past week. Regarding its immediate future, 20% are in favour of further ascent, while the majority of surveyed analysts (55%) have taken the opposite position, and the remaining 25% remain neutral. On the D1 chart, all trend indicators and oscillators unanimously point north, with the latter indicating overbought conditions at 15%.

    In the event of a southward movement, the pair will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2600-1.2635, followed by 1.2570, 1.2500-1.2520, 1.2450, 1.2370, 1.2330, 1.2210, and 1.2040-1.2085. In case of an upward movement, resistance awaits at levels 1.2735-1.2755, then 1.2800-1.2820, 1.2940, 1.3000, and 1.3140.

    No significant economic events related to the United Kingdom are anticipated for the upcoming week.

USD/JPY: Caution, More Caution, and Even More Caution

Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for December 04 – 08, 20231

  • We mentioned in the previous overview that the dynamics of USD/JPY in the coming weeks would be almost entirely dependent on the dollar's performance. Additionally, its volatility would be influenced by the oversold condition of the yen: in mid-November, the pair reached a peak at 151.90, a level not seen since October 2022, and before that, 33 years ago in 1990. The result of the synergy between these two factors was observed last week. Following the Dollar Index (DXY), the pair initially dropped by 300 points, from 149.67 to 146.67, then rose in two waves to 148.51. On December 1, it responded with a significant red candle to the statement from the head of the Federal Reserve, finishing at 146.79.

    The influence of the United States on the dynamics of USD/JPY is consistently evident. However, will the Bank of Japan (BoJ) impact the strength of its national currency? Hopes for this are diminishing. BoJ board member Toyoaki Nakamura made comments on Thursday, November 30, expressing his opinion on the possibility of transitioning from an ultra-easy monetary policy. He stated that tightening it prematurely is risky, and for now, it is necessary to patiently maintain the current course. As for the timing of when this can be done, according to the official, it is currently challenging to determine. 'We can change our policy when the Japanese economy sees sustainable growth in wages and inflation,' Nakamura explained. 'Now is the time to exercise caution in our policy.'

    One might think, was the Bank of Japan not cautious before this? Judging by its monetary policy, BoJ can confidently contend for the title of the 'Most Cautious Central Bank in the World.'.

    According to economists at the Singaporean United Overseas Bank (UOB), in the next 1-3 weeks, USD/JPY is likely to trade in a range between 146.65 and 149.30, then start declining. Regarding the median forecast, in the near term, only 20% of experts anticipate further strengthening of the dollar, while 60% are in favour of the yen, and 20% have refrained from making any predictions. As for trend indicators on D1, 85% favour the yen, recommending buying the pair in only 15% of cases. All oscillators are in the red, with 100%, and a quarter of them are in the oversold zone. The nearest support level is located in the 146.65 zone, followed by 145.90-146.10, 145.30, 144.45, 143.75-144.05, and 142.20. The closest resistance is at 147.25, then 147.65-147.85, 148.40, 149.20, 149.80-150.00, 150.80, 151.60, 151.90-152.15, 152.80-153.15, and 156.25.

    Among the events in the upcoming week's calendar, it is worth noting Tuesday, December 5, when data on consumer inflation in the Tokyo region will be released, and Friday, December 8, when the GDP volume of Japan for Q3 2023 will be announced.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES: A Year Between a Bear Past and a Bull Future

  • December is upon us, making it a fitting time not only to review the week's outcomes but also to assess the entire passing year. Apparently, 2023 has the potential to serve as a transition between the bear 2022 and the bull 2023, supported by an impressive 11% growth in the leading cryptocurrency in November and a staggering 130% increase since the beginning of the year.

    The share of potentially profitable bitcoins has reached 83.7% of the total supply, marking the highest level since November 2021. According to analysts at Bitfinex, the balance between short-term and long-term holders of digital gold is tilting in favour of the latter. The active supply of bitcoin has dropped to a five-year low, with only 30% of coins moving over the year. Consequently, approximately 70% of bitcoins, or an "unprecedented" 16.3 million BTC, remained stagnant throughout the year. Moreover, 60% of these coins have been motionless for two years. According to Bitfinex experts, these metrics indicate that the market is in a "relatively strong position" as coin holders are experiencing positive returns on their investments and are not rushing to liquidate assets in anticipation of even greater profits.

    Positive sentiments have increased, especially among large investors (those with investments of $1 million or more). Over the first 11 months of 2023, they have increased their investments in crypto funds by 120%, bringing the total to $43.3 billion. Bitcoin remains the leader in this regard, with its volume growing to $32.3 billion, a 140% increase. Among altcoins, Solana has also attracted institutional interest. However, Ethereum had been showing negative dynamics for a while, although it has recently started to recover.

    The rise in optimism in the market is attributed to: 1) the resolution of the issues between the U.S. authorities and the crypto exchange Binance, 2) the anticipation of the imminent launch of spot bitcoin ETFs, and 3) the upcoming bitcoin halving in April next year.

    Regarding point 1, as a result of a settlement agreement between the U.S. authorities and Binance, bitcoin is now expected to exceed $40,000 by the end of the year, according to Matrixport. Various estimates suggested that Binance could face fines of up to $10 billion and might be accused of unauthorized appropriation of user funds or market manipulation. However, on November 21, an agreement was reached that Binance would pay a $4.3 billion fine, cease operations in the U.S., and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, stepped down and posted a $175 million bail to remain free. This outcome is considered by Matrixport experts as a 'turning point in the crypto industry,' indicating that Binance will maintain its position among the largest crypto exchanges for at least the next two to three years.

    In light of this news, bitcoin initially experienced a temporary correction but then bounced back from $36,000. This confirmed a strong trend, and according to Matrixport experts, a rise above $40,000 in December appears 'inevitable.' However, they assess the probability of this 'inevitable' outcome at 90%, acknowledging that unforeseen events could still impact the situation.

    According to some experts, the "peaceful" withdrawal of Binance from the U.S. market should ease tensions and facilitate the approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of applications for the creation of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for spot bitcoin. In November, the SEC held a series of meetings with applicants to allow them to edit their submissions in accordance with the regulator's requirements. The presence of this dialogue was viewed as a positive factor. It is not ruled out that by January 10, 2024, the Commission will approve a significant portion, if not all, of the applications for launching bitcoin ETFs. This date marks the deadline for approving the joint application from ARK Invest and 21Shares. If the regulator makes a negative decision, it risks getting involved in legal proceedings again. The SEC has already lost a legal battle with an investment giant like Grayscale, with the court deeming the SEC's actions "arbitrary and capricious." So, is it worth stepping on the same rake again and risking similar humiliations?

    Trader, analyst, and founder of the venture company Eight, Michael Van De Poppe, expects the first bitcoin ETFs to be approved by the SEC in the next five to six weeks. Consequently, the price of BTC could rise in December as investors try to profit from the potential rally. The expert forecasts its growth to $48,000. However, after approval, according to Van De Poppe, BTC/USD could sharply decline. The lower target of this potential pullback is the 200-week exponential moving average (EMA) line, which is currently around $26,500. This downward trend may continue even after the upcoming halving, Van De Poppe believes. The analyst suspects that it is then that traders will actively accumulate coins, triggering the next bullish rally with a target ranging from $300,000 to $400,000.

    The strategists at Standard Chartered believe that BTC could reach $50,000 by the end of this year and $120,000 by the end of 2024. The bank's initial forecast indicated a possible rise to $100,000 but was later increased. The price of $120,000 is three times higher than the current level. This optimism from Standard Chartered experts is linked to the increased profitability of mining when selling a smaller quantity of tokens to maintain the same cash flow volume, leading to price growth.

    The Managing Partner and CEO of 10T Holdings, Dan Tapiero, is confident in the inevitable growth of the first cryptocurrency and believes that bitcoin is becoming an increasingly attractive means of savings. However, in his opinion, the next bullish trend will not occur in 2024 but in 2025. "And we will see bitcoin surpass $100,000," predicts Tapiero, adding that this is a rather conservative estimate. The businessman believes that negative interest rates on US Treasury bonds will be a special "mega-bull signal" for BTC.

    (Note that the former CEO of the crypto exchange BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, intends to withdraw the funds he invested in US Treasury bonds and invest them in cryptocurrency in the near future, without waiting until 2025.)

    We have repeatedly noted earlier that the leading cryptocurrency has "decoupled" from both stock indices and the dollar exchange rate, disrupting direct and inverse correlations. However, now analysts at the Santiment analytical company are observing an increase in the correlation between the crypto and stock markets. In November, bitcoin, Ethereum, and the S&P 500 index grew on average by 9.2%. The strengthening connection was recorded after bitcoin traded in a narrow price range in late October to early November, showing no significant fluctuations. "If bitcoin continues to grow, surpassing stocks," say the analysts at Santiment, "this will once again disrupt the correlation, which, according to historical data, is one of the factors for the formation of a bullish crypto market.

    BTC/USD set a new high for 2023 on Friday, reaching $38,950, aided by the surge in risk assets, including cryptocurrencies, mentioned in this review by the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in his speech. As of the evening of December 1, BTC/USD is trading around $38,765. The overall market capitalization of the crypto market is $1.45 trillion ($1.44 trillion a week ago). The Crypto Fear and Greed Index rose from 66 to 71 points and still remains in the Greed zone.

    So, December has arrived, and many members of the crypto community are once again talking about the "Bitcoin Santa Rally." This phenomenon mirrors the historical "Santa Claus Rally" in the stock market when stocks rise between Thanksgiving and Christmas. On the crypto market, a similar rally first occurred at the end of November 2013 when the price of BTC was less than $1,000. Throughout December, the price of bitcoin steadily rose, reaching a peak of $1,147 by December 23. The next significant surge happened four years later during the holiday season of 2017. Bitcoin embarked on a steep upward trajectory, surpassing $19,000 by mid-December and touching $20,000 for the first time. However, in 2021, Santa Claus didn't bring joy to traders; the result was the opposite. On November 10, the asset reached an all-time high, approaching $69,000, but in December, the price was influenced by volatility and low trading volumes during the holiday days. By the end of the year, bitcoin was trading in the $46,000 range.

    Naturally, this year, members of the crypto community are hoping for a convincing rise in digital gold. It remains to be seen whether Santa Claus will fulfil these hopes.


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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