About that Dollar Bounce

The US dollar did not recover as much ahead of the jobs as we flagged a week ago, and the technical condition is still stretched.  The price action lends credence to our view that a technical consolidative/corrective phase is at hand. Further near-term dollar recovery looks likely but does not change our longer-term bearish outlook.

Dollar Index:  A bottom was carved and tested near 92.50.  It is potentially a double bottom.  A move above 94.00 is needed to confirm it, though others might not be convinced until 94.50 area (20-day moving average) is surpassed.  The measuring objective of the double bottom is around 95.50, and the 95.80 is a retracement objective.  The MACD appears poised to turn higher while the Slow Stochastic bottomed late last month, setting up a modest bullish divergence.

Euro:  A potential double top is in the euro.  It checked the air above $1.19 at the end of July and made a fractional new high in recent days.  In between, it had fallen a little through $1.1700.  That is the neckline of the double top and implies a measuring objective of near $1.15.  We had offered a $1.1650 target last week.  The 20-day moving average (~$1.1630) and the halfway mark of the rally off last month’s low ($1.1640) are near there as well.   The next retracement (61.8%) is found closer to $1.1550.  The MACD and Slow Stochastic are rolling over.  Note too that implied vol rose along with the euro, and as the single currency corrects lower, vol will likely ease.  The chart here since 2008 illustrates the importance of the area euro has approached.  The fate of the 12-year downtrend is at stake. 

Japanese Yen:  The dollar posted its first leg up against the yen in dramatic fashion, with a key reversal from JPY104 on July 31.  Follow-through buying lifted it to nearly JPY106.50 at the start of last week.  There were a few days on consolidation, and the next leg up appears to have begun before the weekend.  We suspect it can rise into the JPY107.00-JPY107.50.  The 200-day moving average lies a little above the JPY108, around the upper end of its previous range.  The Slow Stochastic turned higher at the end of July.  The MACD is also edging higher.

British Pound:  A double top also may be in place for sterling.  The pound reached a high on the last day of July near $1.3170, and on August 6, a little above $1.3185.  In between, it slipped to around $1.2980.  The break confirms the pattern with a measuring objective of the $1.2780 area.  The 20-day moving average and the 50% retracement of the last leg up of sterling that began near $1.1520 on July 20 also comes in near there. The next retracement (61.8%) comes in a little below the double top objective (~$1.2770).  The momentum indicators are just begun rolling over.

Canadian Dollar:  The US dollar fell to six-month lows against the Canadian dollar around CAD1.3230 in the middle of last week, but rebounded back to CAD1.3400 amid the wider greenback recovery ahead of the weekend.  The 20-day moving average is found near CAD1.3435, and the high from late last month is a little higher (~CAD1.3460).  A push there would signal a test on the CAD1.3500-CAD1.3530, and near the upper end of that range, the 200-day moving average is found.  The momentum indicators are floundering in over-extended territory and have yet to convincingly curl up.

Australian Dollar:   The potential topping pattern is not as aesthetically pleasing as the euro or sterling.  It made a high at the end of July a little above $0.7225.   It fell to about $0.7075 before rebounding and reached nearly $0.7245 before the pre-weekend cent sell-off.  The greenback’s recovery saw the Aussie fall through and close below the previous day’s low, for a key reversal.   A break of the $0.7075 area would confirm the topping pattern and project toward $0.6925.  There are several areas of intermittent support. The $0.7040 area is the (50%) retracement of the rally that began in early July. The $0.7000 area is of modest psychological importance, and the next retracement (61.8%) objective is also there.   The MACDs are not helpful now, and the Slow Stochastic has turned lower.

Mexican Peso:   Emerging markets, for which the Mexican peso often serves as a proxy, seemed to turn lower against the dollar before the majors.  Leaving aside the Turkish lira, where officials have finally appear to abandon their ill-conceived currency strategy, emerging market currencies remained under pressure, with the JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index falling for the second consecutive week.  Last week’s 1.5% decline is the largest decline in three and a half months.  The dollar rose around 3.3% against the rand last week after gaining 2.4% in the prior week.  Last week, the dollar’s nearly 4% gain against the Brazilian real was the most among emerging market currencies.  The greenback looks poised may be range-bound between around MXN22.30 and MXN23.00. Our near-term bias is for a stronger dollar, but it closed softly ahead of the weekend.  

Chinese Yuan:  The yuan looks rich, given the dollar’s recovery ahead of the weekend and given the escalation and broadening tensions with the US.   It traded at its best level since March (with the dollar at a low ~CNY6.9360). A trendline drawn off the late May high (~CNY7.1770) comes at the start of next week near CNY6.9860, but a move back to if not above CNY7.0 seems likely.   Around 4.75% three-month implied vol is low compared with other currencies, but it is above its 200-day moving average (~4.4%). The skew in the options market (three-month risk-reversal) favoring dollar calls edged up slightly last week.   While the skew is still low, it did increase more than the one-month tenor and could be picking up some risks around the US election.

Gold:  New record highs were seen before the weekend near $2075.50, but then gold reversed lower and fell below the previous day’s low (~2034.55), though closed slightly above it.  The bearish price action is intuitively consistent with the dollar’s bounce and the signal from the momentum indicators.  The Slow Stochastic is poised to turn lower and did not confirm the new price high.  The MACD is poised to cross down.  Initial support is expected in the $1980-$2000 area.  The rally has been so sharp that even a modest (38.2%) of the recent rally from early last month is closer to $1955.

Oil: The September WTI contract reached a five-month high (~$43.50) in the middle of last week, just shy of the 200-day moving average (~$43.80).  This marked the end of a four-day net (close-to-close) rally of nearly 5.7%.  Crude trade heavily in the second half of the week.  It tested the upper end of a band of support that extends from around $39.80 to $41 before the weekend.  The MACD has been trending lower since early/mid-June.  The Slow Stochastic has actually turned up from mid-range.  Still, our bias is lower. 

US Rates:  The US rates have found a near-term floor.  The 2-year has held the 10 bp record low.  Traders may have thought about pushing the 10-year yield below 50 bp, but have pulled back.  The 30-year yield held 1.15% and recovered to almost 1.25%.  There is some thought that with a weak dollar environment and near-record low-interest rates, some concessions may be needed to induce a robust reception to the US quarterly refunding. It is as if the inventory must be distributed to make room for new product. The Treasury will raise $112 bln ($48 bln 3-year, $28 bln 10-year, and $26 bln 30-year) in coupon sales, which is about 16% more than the previous quarterly refunding.  The Treasury has announced intentions to sell $132 more coupons in the August-October period than it did the last three months as it seeks to fund the huge gap between revenues and expenditures.  One implication is that it would seem to boost the chances that the yield curve steepens.  The 2-10 year curve briefly dipped below 40 bp last week, a low since late April.  There is scope to claw back toward 50 bp in the coming weeks.  The 2-30 year curve has been bouncing off 107 bp for two weeks. It can steepen toward 125 bp in the period ahead. 

S&P 500:  The benchmark gained almost 2.5% last week and filled the old breakaway gap from February (~3328.5).  The S&P 500 gapped higher to start the week, and the gap takes on additional technical significance because it appears on the weekly and monthly charts as well.  That gap, for reference, is roughly between 3272.20 and 3284.5.  It then gapped higher on Wednesday, and that gap is unfilled as well (~3306.8-3317.4).  This area may offer initial support.  The MACDs are not yielding any useful signal, while the Slow Stochastic turned up in the past week after barely correcting the over-extended reading. The S&P closed firmly, setting new highs were set for the week in the run-up to the close.  There seem to be little in the way of a test on the record high set in February around 3393.5.  


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