January 20, 2024

EUR/USD: Reasons Behind the Dollar's Strengthening

Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for January 22 – 26, 20241

● The past week was notably sparse in terms of macroeconomic statistics. Consequently, the market participants' sentiment largely depended on the statements made at the World Economic Forum in Davos (WEF). It's worth noting that this event, held annually at a ski resort in Switzerland, gathers representatives of the global elite from over 120 countries. There, amidst the sparkling, crystal-clear snow glistening in the sunlight, the world's power players discuss economic issues and international politics. This year, the 54th edition of the forum took place from January 15 to 19.

● Speaking at the World Economic Forum on January 16, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, expressed her confidence that inflation would reach the target level of 2.0%. This statement did not raise any doubts, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the Eurozone shows a steady decline. From a level of 10.6% at the end of 2022, the CPI has now fallen to 2.9%. Isabel Schnabel, a member of the ECB's Executive Board, did not rule out the possibility of a soft landing for the European economy and a return to the target inflation level by the end of 2024.

According to a Reuters survey of leading economists on the future monetary policy of the ECB, the majority expect the regulator to lower interest rates as early as the second quarter, with 45% of respondents believing that this decision will be made at the June meeting. 

● On the other hand, inflation in the United States has been unable to surpass the 3.0% mark since July 2023. The figures published on January 11th showed that the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 3.4%, which was above the consensus forecast of 3.2% and the previous value of 3.1%. In monthly terms, consumer inflation also rose, registering at 0.3% against a forecast of 0.2% and a previous value of 0.1%.

In light of this, and considering that the U.S. economy appears quite stable, the likelihood of the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in March started to diminish. This shift in sentiment led to a slight strengthening of the dollar, moving EUR/USD from the 1.0900-1.1000 range to the 1.0845-1.0900 zone. Additionally, the weak performance of the Asian stock markets exerted some pressure on the European currency.

● According to economists at the Dutch Rabobank, long positions on the euro may face further challenges. This could happen if Donald Trump continues his movement towards a potential second term in the White House. "Although President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act meant that the past four years were not always easy for Europe, Trump's stance on NATO, Ukraine, and possibly climate change could prove costly for Europe and enhance the appeal of the U.S. dollar as a safe asset," the Rabobank experts write. "Based on this, we see a possibility of EUR/USD falling to 1.0500 in a three-month perspective."

EUR/USD closed last week at 1.0897. Currently, the majority of experts predict a rise in the U.S. dollar in the near future. 60% voted in favour of the dollar's strengthening, 20% sided with the euro, and the remaining 20% took a neutral stance. Oscillator readings on the D1 chart confirm the analysts' forecast: 80% are coloured red, indicating a bearish trend, and 20% are in neutral grey. Among the trend indicators, there is a 50/50 split between red (bearish) and green (bullish) signals.

The nearest support levels for the pair are located in the zones of 1.0845-1.0865, followed by 1.0725-1.0740, 1.0620-1.0640, 1.0500-1.0515, and 1.0450. On the upside, the bulls will face resistance at 1.0905-1.0925, 1.0985-1.1015, 1.1110-1.1140, 1.1230-1.1275, 1.1350, and 1.1475.

● Unlike the past week, the upcoming week promises to be more eventful. On Tuesday, January 23, we will see the publication of the Eurozone Bank Lending Survey. Wednesday, January 24, will bring a deluge of preliminary statistics on business activity (PPI) in various sectors of the German, Eurozone, and U.S. economies. The main event on Thursday, January 25, will undoubtedly be the European Central Bank's meeting, where a decision on the interest rate will be made. It is expected to remain at the current level of 4.50%. Investors will therefore be paying close attention to what the ECB leaders say at the subsequent press conference. For reference, the FOMC meeting of the Federal Reserve is scheduled for January 31. Additionally, on January 25, we will learn about the GDP and unemployment data in the United States, and the following day, data on personal consumption expenditures of residents of this country will be released.


GBP/USD: High Inflation Leads to High Rates and a Stronger Pound

● Unlike the United States and the Eurozone, there was a significant amount of important statistics released last week concerning the state of the British economy. On Wednesday, January 17, traders were focused on the December inflation data. The data revealed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the United Kingdom rose from -0.2% to 0.4% month-on-month (against a consensus forecast of 0.2%) and reached 4.0% year-on-year (compared to the previous value of 3.9% and expectations of 3.8%). The core CPI remained at the previous level of 5.1% year-on-year.

Following the release of the report showing inflation growth, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak moved quickly to reassure the markets. He stated that the government's economic plan remains correct and continues to work, having reduced inflation from 11% to 4%. Sunak also noted that wages in the country have been growing faster than prices for five months, suggesting that the trend of weakening inflationary pressure will continue.

● Despite this optimistic statement, many market participants believe that the Bank of England (BoE) will postpone the start of easing its monetary policy until the end of the year. "Concerns that the disinflation process might slow down have likely intensified as a result of the latest inflation data," economists at Commerzbank write. "The market will probably bet on the Bank of England responding accordingly and, therefore, being more cautious regarding the first interest rate cut."

Clearly, if the BoE does not rush to ease monetary policy, this will create ideal conditions for the long-term strengthening of the British pound. This prospect already allowed the GBP/USD pair to bounce off the lower boundary of its five-week channel at 1.2596 on January 17th, rising to the channel's midpoint at 1.2714.

● It is quite possible that GBP/USD would have continued its upward trajectory, but it was hindered by weak retail sales data in the United Kingdom, which were published at the end of the workweek on Friday, January 19th. The data showed a decline in this indicator by 4.6%, from +1.4% in November to -3.2% in December (against a forecast of -0.5%). If the upcoming Purchasing Managers' Indexes and business activity indicators, due to be released on January 24th, paint a similar picture, it could exert even more pressure on the pound. The Bank of England might fear that a stringent monetary policy could overly decelerate the economy and might consider easing it. According to analysts at ING (Internationale Nederlanden Groep), a reduction in the key interest rate by 100 basis points could lead to GBP/USD falling to the 1.2300 zone over a one to three-month horizon.

ING analysts also believe that the UK budget announcement on March 6 will significantly impact the pound, with tax cuts on the agenda. "Unlike in September 2022," the experts write, "we believe this will be a real tax cut, financed by the reduced cost of debt servicing. This could add 0.2-0.3% to the UK's GDP this year and lead to the Bank of England maintaining higher rates for a longer period."

GBP/USD ended the last week at 1.2703. Looking ahead to the coming days, 65% voted for the pair's decline, 25% were in favour of its rise, and 10% preferred to remain neutral. Contrary to the specialists' opinions, the trend indicators on D1 show a preference for the British currency: 75% indicate a rise in the pair, while 25% point to a decline. Among the oscillators, 25% are in favor of the pound, the same proportion (25%) for the dollar, and 50% hold a neutral position. If the pair moves southward, it will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2650, 1.2595-1.2610, 1.2500-1.2515, 1.2450, 1.2330, 1.2210, 1.2070-1.2085. In case of an upward movement, the pair will meet resistance at 1.2720, 1.2785-1.2820, 1.2940, 1.3000, and 1.3140-1.3150.

● No significant events related to the United Kingdom's economy are anticipated for the upcoming week, other than the previously mentioned events. The Bank of England's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 1.


USD/JPY: The 'Moon Mission' Continues

● According to data published by the Japanese Statistics Bureau on Friday, January 19, Japan's National Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December was 2.6% year-on-year, compared to 2.8% in November. The National CPI, excluding fresh food, was 2.3% year-on-year in December, down from 2.5% the previous month.

Given that inflation is already decreasing, the question arises: why raise the interest rate? The logical answer: there is no need. This is why the market's consensus forecast suggests that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will leave the rate unchanged at its meeting on Tuesday, January 23rd, maintaining it at the negative level of -0.1%. (It is worth remembering that the last time the regulator changed the rate was eight years ago, in January 2016, when it was lowered by 200 basis points.).

● As usual, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki made another round of verbal interventions on Friday, and as usual, he said nothing new. "We are closely monitoring currency movements," "Forex market movements are determined by various factors," "it's important for the currency to move stably, reflecting fundamental indicators": these are statements that market participants have heard countless times. They no longer believe that the country's financial authorities will move from persuasion to real action. As a result, the yen continued to weaken, and USD/JPY continued its upward movement. (Interestingly, this aligns precisely with the wave analysis we provided two weeks ago.)

● The past week's high for USD/JPY was recorded at 148.80, with the week closing near that level at 148.14. In the near future, 50% of experts anticipate further strengthening of the dollar, 30% are siding with the yen, and 20% hold a neutral position. As for the trend indicators and oscillators on D1, all 100% point north, though a quarter of the latter are in the overbought zone. The nearest support level is located in the 147.65 area, followed by 146.90-147.15, 146.00, 145.30, 143.40-143.65, 142.20, 141.50, and 140.25-140.60. Resistance levels are set in the following areas and zones: 148.50-148.80, 149.85-150.00, 150.80, and 151.70-151.90.

● In addition to the Bank of Japan's meeting, another significant event related to the Japanese economy to note for the upcoming week is the publication of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the Tokyo region, which is scheduled for Friday, January 26.


CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Numerous Predictions, Uncertain Outcome

● Last week, the long-awaited regulatory saga finally concluded: as expected, on January 10th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a batch of all 11 applications from investment companies to launch spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on bitcoin. This news initially caused a spike in bitcoin's price to around $49,000. However, the cryptocurrency then depreciated by about 15%, falling to $41,400. Experts cite overbought conditions or what is known as "market overheating" as the main reason for this decline. As Cointelegraph reports, the SEC's positive decision was already factored into the market price. In 2023, bitcoin had grown 2.5 times, with a significant part of this growth occurring in the fall when the approval of the ETFs became almost inevitable. Many traders and investors, especially short-term speculators, decided to lock in profits rather than buy the now more expensive asset. This is a classic example of the market adage, "Buy on rumors (expectations), sell on facts."

● It cannot be said that this price collapse was unexpected. In the lead-up to the SEC's decision, some analysts had predicted a downturn. For instance, experts at CryptoQuant talked about a potential drop in prices to $32,000. Other forecasts mentioned support levels at $42,000 and $40,000. "Bitcoin failed to break through the $50,000 level," analysts at Swissblock wrote. "The question arises whether the leading cryptocurrency can regain the momentum it has lost."

● Our previous review was titled "D-Day Has Arrived. What Next?". More than a week has passed since the approval of the Bitcoin ETF, but judging by the BTC/USD chart, the market still hasn't decided on an answer to this question. According to Michael Van De Poppe, head of MN Trading Consultancy, the price is stuck between several levels. He believes that resistance lies at $46,000, but bitcoin could test support in the range between $37,000 and $40,000. In reality, for almost the entire past week, the primary cryptocurrency moved in a narrow sideways channel: between $42,000 and $43,500. However, on January 18-19, bitcoin experienced another bear attack, recording a local minimum at $40,280.

● Evaluating the impact of the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs will require some time. Suitable data for analysis is expected to accumulate around mid-February. However, as noted by Cointelegraph, these funds have already attracted over $1.25 billion. On the first day alone, the trading volume of these new financial market instruments reached $4.6 billion.

Andrew Peel, Head of Digital Assets at investment bank Morgan Stanley, points out that the weekly inflow of funds into these new products already exceeds billions of dollars. He believes that the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs could significantly accelerate the process of de-dollarization of the global economy. He is quoted as saying, "Although these innovations are still in their infancy, they open up opportunities for challenging the hegemony of the dollar. Macro investors should consider how these digital assets, with their unique characteristics and growing adoption, can change the future dynamics of the dollar." Andrew Peel reminds us that the popularity of BTC has been growing steadily over the last 15 years, with over 106 million people worldwide now owning the first cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, Michael Van De Poppe notes that the events of January 10 will change the lives of many people around the world. However, he warns that "this will be the last 'easy' cycle for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies" and that it "will take longer than before."

● The impact of the newly launched bitcoin ETFs on the global order has also been a topic of discussion among many influencers at the top of the power pyramid, underscoring the significance of this event. For instance, Elizabeth Warren, a member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, criticized the SEC's decision, expressing concerns that it could harm the existing financial system and investors. In contrast, Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), holds a different view. She believes that cryptocurrencies are a class of assets, not money, and it's crucial to make this distinction. Therefore, she argues, bitcoin will not be able to replace the U.S. dollar. Additionally, the IMF head disagrees with those who expect that bitcoin ETFs will contribute to the mass adoption of the first cryptocurrency.

● Bitcoin's price is projected to reach $100,000 - $150,000 by the end of 2024 and $500,000 within the next five years, according to Tom Lee, co-founder of the analytics firm Fundstrat, in an interview with CNBC. "In the next five years, supply will be limited, but with the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, we have potentially huge demand, so I think something around $500,000 is quite achievable within five years," the expert stated. He also highlighted the upcoming halving in the spring of 2024 as an additional growth factor.

ARK Invest CEO Cathy Wood, also speaking on CNBC, predicted a bullish scenario where the first cryptocurrency could reach $1.5 million by 2030. Her firm's analysts calculated that even under a bearish scenario, the price of the digital gold would grow to at least $258,500.

Another forecast was given by Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital and former White House Communications Director. "If bitcoin is at $45,000 during the halving, then by mid-to-late 2025, it will be worth $170,000. Whatever the price of bitcoin is on the day of the halving in April, multiply it by four, and it will reach that figure within the next 18 months," said the SkyBridge founder in Davos, ahead of the World Economic Forum.

● It's interesting to see how different AI chatbots have provided varied predictions for the price of bitcoin by December 31, 2024. Claude Instant from Anthropic predicted $85,000, while Pi from Inflection expects a rise to $75,000. Bard from Gemini forecasts that the price of BTC will exceed $90,000 by that date, though it cautions that unforeseen economic obstacles could limit the peak to around $70,000. ChatGPT-3.5 from OpenAI sees a price range of $75,000 to $85,000 as plausible but not guaranteed. A more conservative estimate from ChatGPT-4 suggests a range of $40,000 to $60,000, factoring in potential market fluctuations and investor caution, but doesn't rule out a rise to $80,000. Lastly, Bing AI from Co-Pilot creative predicts a price around $75,000, based on the information it has gathered.

These diverse predictions from AI systems reflect the inherent uncertainty and complexity in forecasting cryptocurrency prices, highlighting a range of factors that could influence market dynamics over the next few years.

● As of the evening of January 19, BTC/USD was trading around $41,625. The total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market stood at $1.64 trillion, down from $1.70 trillion a week earlier. The Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index, a measure of market sentiment, has dropped from 71 to 51 points over the week, moving from the 'Greed' zone to the 'Neutral' zone. This shift indicates a change in investor sentiment, reflecting a more cautious approach in the cryptocurrency market.

● In conclusion regarding the growing market speculation about the imminent launch of spot ETFs on Ethereum, in our previous review, we cited a statement by SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who clarified that the regulator's positive decision applies exclusively to exchange-traded products based on bitcoin. According to Gensler, this decision "does not signal readiness to approve listing standards for crypto assets that are considered securities." It's important to note that the regulator still classifies only bitcoin as a commodity, while "the vast majority of crypto assets are seen as investment contracts (i.e., securities)."

Now, analysts from the investment bank TD Cowen have confirmed pessimism regarding ETH-ETFs. Based on the information they have; it seems unlikely that the SEC will begin reviewing applications for this investment instrument in the first half of 2024. "Before approving ETH-ETFs, the SEC will want to gain practical experience with similar investment instruments in bitcoin," commented Jaret Seiberg, head of TD Cowen Washington Research Group. TD Cowen believes that the SEC will revisit the discussion of Ethereum ETFs only after the U.S. presidential elections in November 2024.

Nikolaos Panagirtzoglou, a senior analyst at JP Morgan, also does not expect a quick approval of spot ETH-ETFs. He opines that for the SEC to make a decision, it needs to classify Ethereum as a commodity rather than a security. However, JP Morgan considers such a development unlikely in the near future.


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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