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IC Markets Asia Fundamental Forecast | 15 April 2024

IC Markets Asia Fundamental Forecast | 15 April 2024

What happened in the US session?

The University of Michigan (UoM) released its preliminary findings on consumer sentiment for the month of April which showed overall sentiment remaining relatively unchanged at 77.9. However, year-ahead inflation expectations edged up from 2.9% in the previous month to 3.1% as recent CPI and PPI data has come in hot. The dollar index (DXY) rose strongly last Friday to break above the 106-level and notched its largest weekly gain since May 2023, jumping 1.7%.

What does it mean for the Asia Session?

After last week’s robust gains, the DXY could pull back as there could be a bout of profit-taking by the dollar bulls to lock in some profit. The DXY dipped under 106 as markets re-opened today while spot prices for gold gapped higher and were rising towards $2,370/oz – this commodity could edge higher today after making a new all-time high of $2,431.52/oz last Friday.

The Dollar Index (DXY)

Key news events today

Retail Sales (12:30 pm GMT)

Empire State Manufacturing Index (12:30 pm GMT)

What can we expect from DXY today?

Retail sales have been mixed over the past five months but now appear to have stabilized. After rising 0.6% MoM in February, the estimate of 0.4% for March points to another steady month of growth. Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in the state of New York continues to decline as new orders and shipment declined significantly in March. The latest report for April points to another month of decline albeit at a slower pace – the mixed data could inject some volatility into the DXY during the US session.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The Federal Funds Rate target range remained unchanged at 5.25% to 5.50% for the fifth meeting in a row.
  • The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2% over the longer run and judges that the risks to achieving its employment and inflation goals are moving into better balance.
  • The economic outlook is uncertain, and the Committee remains highly attentive to inflation risks; inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated.
  • Recent indicators suggest that economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace while job gains have remained strong, and the unemployment rate has remained low.
  • In considering any adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will carefully assess incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks and does not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%.
  • In addition, the Committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in its previously announced plans.
  • Next meeting runs from 30 April to 1 May 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bearish


Gold (XAU)

Key news events today

Retail Sales (12:30 pm GMT)

Empire State Manufacturing Index (12:30 pm GMT)

What can we expect from Gold today?

Retail sales have been mixed over the past five months but now appear to have stabilized. After rising 0.6% MoM in February, the estimate of 0.4% for March points to another steady month of growth. Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in the state of New York continues to decline as new orders and shipment declined significantly in March. The latest report for April points to another month of decline albeit at a slower pace – the mixed data could inject some volatility into gold during the US session.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bullish


The Australian Dollar (AUD)

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from AUD today?

After declining 1.8% last week to lose nearly 120 pips, the Aussie rose strongly at today’s open rising from 0.6463 to as high as 0.6485. This currency pair could continue to rise higher during the initial part of the day but overhead pressures remain.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The RBA kept the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35%, marking the seventh pause out of the last eight board meetings.
  • The headline monthly CPI indicator was steady at 3.4% over the year to January, with momentum easing over recent months, driven by moderating goods inflation. Services inflation remains elevated and is moderating at a more gradual pace.
  • The central forecasts are for inflation to return to the target range of 2–3% in 2025, and to the midpoint in 2026.
  • While recent data indicate that inflation is easing, it remains high. The Board expects that it will be some time yet before inflation is sustainably in the target range.
  • The path of interest rates that will best ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe remains uncertain and the Board is not ruling anything in or out.
  • Next meeting is on 7 May 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bullish


The Kiwi Dollar (NZD)

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from NZD today?

The Kiwi fell 1.3% last week shedding 70 pips in the process. This currency pair closed at 0.5936 last Friday but it could retrace higher on the first day of the new trading week. The Kiwi was trading around 0.5940 as Asian markets came online.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee kept the OCR unchanged at 5.50% for the sixth meeting in a row.
  • The Committee remains confident that the current level of the OCR is contributing to an easing in capacity pressures to ensure inflation returns to target.
  • However, current consumer price inflation remains above the Committee’s 1 to 3% target range. A restrictive monetary policy stance remains necessary to further reduce capacity pressures and inflation.
  • The Committee discussed upside risks to the inflation outlook: persistent services inflation remains a risk and goods price inflation remains elevated while anticipated near-term increases to local government rates, insurance, and utility costs, could also further slow the decline in headline inflation.
  • The Committee discussed downside risks to the inflation outlook: ongoing restrictive monetary policy in an environment of weak global growth could lead to a more rapid decline in inflation than expected. Business and consumer confidence remain particularly weak which could lead to more unemployment and financial stress than expected while structural challenges facing the economy in China remain a concern given its importance for the global economy and for New Zealand’s trade.
  • Next meeting is on 10 July 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bullish


The Japanese Yen (JPY)

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from JPY today?

Significant weakness in the Japanese yen caused USD/JPY to surge past 153 last week. The strong bullish momentum resumed as markets reopened today as the currency pair raced past 153.50 at the beginning of the Asia session and is anticipated to remain elevated today.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The Bank considers that the policy framework of Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE) with Yield Curve Control and the negative interest rate policy to date have fulfilled their roles. With the price stability target of 2%, it will conduct monetary policy as appropriate, guiding the short-term interest rate as a primary policy tool.
  • The Bank of Japan decided on the following measures:
    1. The Bank will encourage the uncollateralized overnight call rate to remain at around 0 to 0.1% while continuing its JGB purchases with broadly the same amount as before.
    2. In addition, the Bank will discontinue purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) and will also gradually reduce the amount of purchases of CP and corporate bonds and will discontinue the purchases in about one year.
  • Underlying CPI inflation is likely to increase gradually toward achieving the price stability target of 2%, as the output gap turns positive and as medium- to long-term inflation expectations and wage growth rise.
  • Japan’s economy is likely to continue recovering moderately for the time being, supported by factors such as the materialization of pent-up demand, although it is expected to be under downward pressure stemming from a slowdown in the pace of recovery in overseas economies.
  • Next meeting is on 26 April 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Medium Bullish


The Euro (EUR)

Key news events today

Industrial Production (9:00 am GMT)

What can we expect from EUR today?

Industrial production declined sharply in January as it fell 3.2% MoM to mark the sharpest contraction in activity since March 2023. The estimate of a 0.8%-growth points to a slight rebound for this sector but production levels continue to remain depressed. The Euro could face some selling pressures should the result for February miss market expectations.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The ECB kept the three key interest rates unchanged for a fifth consecutive meeting, keeping the main refinancing rate on hold at 4.50%.
  • Inflation has continued to fall, led by lower food and goods price inflation with most measures of underlying inflation easing, wage growth is gradually moderating, and firms are absorbing part of the rise in labour costs in their profits.
  • Financing conditions remain restrictive and the past interest rate increases continue to weigh on demand, which is helping to push down inflation but domestic price pressures are strong and are keeping services price inflation high.
  • The Governing Council is determined to ensure that inflation returns to its 2% medium-term target in a timely manner and if the Council’s updated assessment of the inflation outlook, the dynamics of underlying inflation and the strength of monetary policy transmission were to further increase its confidence that inflation is converging to the target in a sustained manner, it would be appropriate to reduce the current level of monetary policy restriction.
  • Next meeting is on 6 June 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bullish


The Swiss Franc (CHF)

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from CHF today?

The Swiss franc continues to severely underperform the dollar over the past three weeks causing USD/CHF to surge towards 0.9150. This currency pair could pull back in the initial part of the day but is anticipated to remain elevated.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The SNB eased monetary policy by lowering its key policy rate by 25 basis points, going from 1.75% to 1.50% in March.
  • For some months now, inflation has been back below 2% and thus in the range the SNB equates with price stability.
  • According to the new forecast, inflation is also likely to remain in this range over the next few years.
  • The forecast puts average annual inflation at 1.4% for 2024, 1.2% for 2025 and 1.1% for 2026, based on the assumption that the SNB policy rate is 1.5% over the entire forecast horizon.
  • Swiss GDP growth was moderate in the fourth quarter of last year and it is likely to remain modest in the coming quarters.
  • Overall, Switzerland’s GDP is likely to grow by around 1% this year.
  • Next meeting is on 20 June 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Medium Bullish


The Pound (GBP)

Key news events today

MPC Member Breeden Speaks (11:15 am GMT)

What can we expect from GBP today?

Last Friday’s monthly GDP growth came inline with estimates, eking out a minor gain of 0.1% for the month of February. However, the Pound closed sharply down last Friday as it fell below 1.2450. This currency pair was climbing higher at today’s open but overhead pressures remain.

Bank of England (BoE) Deputy Governor Sarah Breeden will be speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London on the implications of new technologies for digital money, retail and wholesale payments. Although the theme is not related directly to monetary policy, she could pass some remarks on the BoE’s outlook for future monetary policy action.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted by a majority of 8-to-1 to maintain its Official Bank Rate at 5.25% for the fifth consecutive meeting.
  • One member preferred to reduce the Bank Rate by 25 basis points to 5.0%.
  • Twelve-month CPI inflation fell to 3.4% in February from 4.0% in January and December while Services consumer price inflation has declined but remains elevated, at 6.1% in February.
  • CPI inflation is projected to fall to slightly below the 2% target in 2024 Q2, marginally weaker than previously expected owing to the freeze in fuel duty announced in the Budget.
  • In the February Report projection, CPI inflation had been expected to fall temporarily to the 2% target in 2024 Q2 before increasing again in Q3 and Q4, to around 2.75%.
  • Having declined through the second half of last year, UK GDP and market sector output are expected to start growing again during the first half of this year while the fiscal measures in Spring Budget 2024 are likely to increase the level of GDP by around 0.25% over coming years.
  • Next meeting is on 9 May 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bullish


The Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from CAD today?

The Loonie was amongst the worst-performing currencies against the dollar last week as USD/CAD surged past the 1.3700-threshold to hit 1.3750. This currency pair could continue to climb higher as strong tailwinds remain in place.

Central Bank Notes:

  • The Bank of Canada held its target for the overnight rate at 5.0% for the fifth meeting in a row while continuing its policy of quantitative tightening.
  • Canada’s economy stalled in the second half of last year and the economy moved into excess supply but economic growth is forecasted to pick up in 2024. Overall, the Bank forecasts GDP growth of 1.5% in 2024, 2.2% in 2025, and 1.9% in 2026.
  • CPI inflation slowed to 2.8% in February, with easing in price pressures becoming more broad-based across goods and services. However, shelter price inflation is still very elevated, driven by growth in rent and mortgage interest costs.
  • Core measures of inflation, which had been running around 3.5%, slowed to just over 3% in February, and 3-month annualized rates are suggesting downward momentum. The Bank expects CPI inflation to be close to 3% during the first half of this year, move below 2.5% in the second half, and reach the 2% inflation target in 2025.
  • The Governing Council is particularly watching the evolution of core inflation, and continues to focus on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behaviour.
  • While inflation is still too high and risks remain, CPI and core inflation have eased further in recent months and the Council will be looking for evidence that this downward momentum is sustained.
  • Next meeting is on 5 June 2024.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bearish


Oil

Key news events today

No major news events.

What can we expect from Oil today?

Despite the Iran-Israel escalation over the weekend, prices for crude oil were falling as markets re-opened today. WTI oil was trading around $85.30 per barrel but should this latest conflict escalate further, it could lift this commodity higher as the week progresses.

Next 24 Hours Bias

Weak Bearish


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