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Tuesday, 9 Aug 2011
Moody's Defends US AAA Debt Rating
Moody's Investor Services defended the AAA rating of US debt yesterday, attempting to forestall a sharper decline on Wall Street and justify the USD and US Treasury notes as stable stores of value in this shaky global market.
USD - USD Holding Fast Against Strong Market Bears
The US dollar (USD) was seen struggling to hold its value yesterday amid severe market pessimism due to a downgrade of US debt by S&P's ratings agency. The value of safe-haven assets like the Swiss franc (CHF) and Japanese yen (JPY) have been buoyed by a shift away from higher yielding assets, though the CHF has seen only mild gains and the JPY was brought to bear by an intervention by Japan's central bank. The greenback appears to be holding strength despite the downgrade as it remains a central store of value for most investors.
China unleashed a lengthy diatribe against the US on Monday during the emergency G20 summit as a reaction to S&P's historic move. The talk was aimed at the loss of value China foresees as impending due to what it viewed as fiscal irresponsibility on the part of Congressional leadership. Moody's Investor Services, however, did defend the AAA rating of US debt yesterday, attempting to forestall a sharper decline on Wall Street and justify the USD and US Treasury notes as stable stores of value in this shaky global market.
With a heavy news day expected today, traders are sure to see heightened volatility with potentially wide swings in value from the plummeting stock market. The US economy will be publishing several reports on productivity, labor costs, and the latest decision on short-term interest rates, known as the Federal Funds Rate. The Federal Funds Rate announcement will be of prime importance today considering its timing in relation to these other historic events. How the Fed portrays itself this week may be key to determining the USD's value in the weeks and months ahead.
GBP - British Industry and Manufacturing under Review Today
The British pound (GBP) has been seen trading with largely bullish results so far this week as traders assess the risk sentiment across the region. The Cable was seen trading bullish in late trading as shifts away from the greenback, due to uncertainty surrounding US markets after an historic downgrade by S&P of US debt led many to favor sterling in early week trades.
News of debt contagion spreading across the euro zone, however, has also led several economists to worry that a toppling of consumer confidence may be up next. Whether Britain is affected by this regional tug is a matter for speculation at the moment, but one traders should bear in mind considering the wide spill-over effect running through global markets this week. Should today's reports on industrial and manufacturing output indicate a downturn in productivity, and thus growth, there is a chance that traders will take the news to mean the pound sterling could meet resistance in the near future.
On tap today, traders will witness the release of a highly significant monthly report on manufacturing production in Great Britain at 9:30 GMT, concurrent with the nation's less important industrial production and trade balance data. Should the figures reveal stagnation in manufacturing and industry growth, we could see heftier flights to safety in the days and weeks ahead. This would likely push the value of the GBP lower over the long-haul as traders continue to flee risk in larger numbers.
AUD - Aussie Trading Lower as Housing Data Comes Into View
The Australian dollar (AUD) was trading mostly weaker versus its currency counterparts yesterday after data releases have begun to shift traders back into safety. The Aussie has been losing momentum these past few weeks as risk aversion becomes predominant in the global market. Fears emanating from the recent downgrade of US debt have made the forex market jittery so far this week, leading many to seek safety.
This movement has gouged the AUD against all of its currency rivals, especially against safe-havens like the Swiss franc (CHF) and Japanese yen (JPY). With further housing reports getting released this morning, forex traders are highly likely to see heavy movement by the Aussie in today's trading hours. News out of China today is also expected to hike volatility throughout the Pacific countries of Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Pacific traders should be cautious in today's trading.
Oil - Crude Oil Prices in Steep Decline as Futures Tumble
Crude Oil prices dropped sharply Monday as sentiment appeared to favor a massive downturn in global stocks following a downgrade of US debt by S&P's ratings agency this weekend. Data releases out of Europe and the US last week are still driving many investors back into safe-haven assets, but dominating sentiment this week has been the debt downgrade in the US, widening bond yields in Spain and Italy, and a sharp decline in stocks and futures as a result of portfolio shifts and pessimistic forecasts.
An expected dip in dollar values due to market outlook has caused oil futures to plummet, driving many investors away from such physical assets. Should Crude Oil sentiment continue to flop this week, oil prices may fall well into $80 price range. Traders appear weary of the value of oil as its volatility has increased these past several trading weeks. Should the stock market fail to find support in the days ahead, oil futures will likely remain bearish, pulling prices lower over the next few days.
An opening gap higher on Monday morning took the pair above its current downward sloping channel that contained the EUR/USD since late July. Selling into EUR/USD gains may be the right play as the pair has been unable to hold a bid above the 1.45 level. Initial resistance comes in at 1.4540 though a break above the June high of 1.4700 would likely reverse the negative technical tone. To the downside support comes in initially at last Friday's low of 1.4050 followed by the 200-day moving average at 1.3940 and the rising trend line from June 2010 which comes in at 1.3840.
Cable looks to be supported after moving lower and receiving a bounce at 1.6220. This level holds the 55-day moving average and a 38% retracement from the mid- July low to the late July high. Resistance is found at 1.6475 followed by 1.6550. A break here and sterling could test the April high of 1.6750. 1.6220 is initial support followed by the 200-day moving average at 1.6085, 1.6000, and the July low of 1.5780.
The spike higher in the value of the USD/JPY due to Japanese government intervention was short lived as the 80 yen level was eagerly sold into. The pair has retraced 68% of its move from the August low to the post intervention high and may continue to move lower. A previously broken trend line from the late July move lower may be supportive but most likely only a short term pit stop on the way back to the all-time low at 76.25. Resistance is found at 79.50 and the post intervention high of 80.22. An additional round of FX intervention could take the pair to the long term trend line off of the 2007 high which comes in at 82.00.
Even measures undertaken by the Swiss National Bank to weaken the Swiss franc have failed to give the USD/CHF a bid. On Monday morning the pair gapped lower to a new all-time low. Momentum is steadily falling and traders may want to continue to hold their shorts. Initial resistance stands at 0.7800 followed by 0.8080 and the downward sloping trend line from the February low at 0.8270.
The Wild Card
Yesterday was a brutal day for stocks all-around with the S&P 500 plunging 6.66%. The US stock index has moved through its 1,131 target from the head and shoulders pattern. Forex traders should note the next support level on the daily chart comes in at 1,037, a level not seen since August of last year. A breach here could take the pair to the July 2010 low of 1,004. Resistance is found at 1,170.