Monetary Policy Expectations are Driving Foreign Exchange

Monetary policy is said to have lost its impact on the foreign exchange
market, as investors scratch their heads at the resilience of currencies with
negative interest rates. 
Yet the
price action in the action cannot be understood
without recognizing the ongoing importance of monetary policy

Two members of the UK MPC seemed to distance themselves from the
dovishness of recent comments from Governor Carney and the minutes from the BOE
meeting this week.
  They want more hard data post-Brexit. 
Sterling rallied a little more than two cents before the weaker than expected
retail sales, whose survey period extended until July 2, saw it drop nearly
three-quarters of a cent, leaving it little changed from yesterday’s NY

For the record, June UK retail sales fell 0.9%, which is half again as
large of a decline as the median forecast (-0.6%). 
Food sales were
off 1.2%, and non-food purchases fell
0.8%.  The weaker consumer confidence surveys warn of downside risks going
forward.  We suspect that on balance
the majority of the MPC will be inclined to ease policy next month, recognizing
that monetary policy acts with a lag, even though the mark down of sterling may
boost exports and spur some import substitution by domestic producers.  

Initially, the focus in Japan was on fiscal policy.  We had been
highlighting the reports that suggested a large package (~JPY20 trillion) was
under consideration, but in recent days, the media has been emphasizing a
smaller package (~JPY10 trillion).  However, today the talk is back at the
larger figure, and this helped the dollar
push through the JPY106.85 resistance we identified to reach almost

However, the dollar reversed lower, falling through yesterday’s lows seen
near JPY105.85 (setting up a possible key reversal) in response to BOJ Governor
Kuroda rejection of helicopter money.
    The market may have
exaggerated the significance of Kuroda’s remarks, but it shows the nervousness
of the market going into next week’s BOJ meeting after the dollar has rallied
7% against the yen since the US employment data on July 8.  Our first
target is near JPY104.65, and then possibly

First, it is not clear what Kuroda means by helicopter money. 
Some, like ourselves, have suggested that given the scale of the BOJ’s operations,
and the fiscal position, Japan is already engaged in some form of helicopter
money.  An advisor to Abe agrees.  

Second, the idea of the MOF issuing a non-marketable
perpetual bond that the BOJ would buy is not practical any time soon, though it
has captured many imaginations. 
Like many other central banks, the
BOJ is barred from buying bonds directly from the government.  

Third, in rejecting helicopter money, Kuroda kept the door open to
extended QQE if needed.
  If the BOJ does not ease policy next week,
the yen is likely to appreciate again.  On the other hand, as investors
have experienced, even if the BOJ does ease, it does not mean the yen will
necessarily weaken. 

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand was explicit.  Further easing
will likely be required.  The  New Zealand dollar is extending its
recent losses.  It has not posted an advancing sessions since July
12.  It has lost about 5.2% against the US dollar in this period.  It
has found support as it approached the $0.6925-$0.6950 band that holds several
technical levels.  

The Australian dollar is trading a little firmer having bounced off an
important trendline near $0.7450.
  Expectations that next week’s Q2
CPI will not stand in the way of the RBA resuming its rate cuts has weighed on
the Aussie.  The market is discounting around a 60% chance of a cut next

The ECB meeting is one of the
highlights of today’s sessions.
   The ECB’s focus has been on
implementing the rest of its package of measures, like the corporate bond purchase
program and the TLTRO.  There are two issues that many investors may wish
would be settled, but from the ECB’s point of view, there may be less urgency to decide now.  

First, will the ECB extend its QE
past the current March 2017 soft end date? 
This can be decided after the
summer when the staff forecast will be available, and more data will be in hand. 
It can be decided in Q4 as well.  

Second, with the further drop in interest rates since the UK referendum,
more bund yields are below the deposit
rate, which excludes them from the ECB purchase program.
  Many think
the shortage is so acute that the ECB must decide something this week as September by being
too late.  We are less convinced that the ECB will feel their sense of
urgency.  And many observers seem too quick to suggest jettisoning the
capital key criteria of the purchases.  There are other measures that can
be explored first that are less extreme. 

The euro dipped below $1.10 yesterday for the first time since June 27.
 It has been confined a half-cent range above that floor today.  Anticipate of Draghi either talking it down
or being dovish may have weighed on it.  There
seems to be scope today then for sell the rumor buy the fact type of

The US reports weekly jobless claims,
existing home sales and the July Philly
Fed Business Outlook
.   Collectively the data does not have the heft
to challenge the accumulated evidence that the US economy accelerated in late Q2, and that many regional Fed Presidents are more confident after being
shaken by the poor May jobs report. 


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