16 Dec 2014

Volatility the outcome as Russia, oil and EM currencies dominate the headlines

United States Dollar: Conditions in FX markets can best be described as turbulent. Oil prices continue to drift lower, the Russian rouble has fallen lower – despite the fact that the Russian central bank hiked interest rates by 6.5% on Monday, and the negative effects are flowing through in to emerging markets. There remains a lot of attention on the RUB as the sanctions rhetoric continues – John Kerry says that these could be lifted if there’s action over Ukraine. Putin is also due to hold a news conference in the next day or so. Meanwhile yesterday, UK inflation data printed weaker than market expectations at 1% in November vs. forecasts for 1.2%, the main contributor being the recent drop in oil prices. Despite this, GBP/USD actually pushed higher as the dollar weakened broadly throughout the morning. The turmoil in Russian markets, the associated impact on EM currencies and falling oil prices has markets guessing that the Fed will actually leave US interest rates on hold for longer. In that respect, we’ll be clearer on this later tonight when the FOMC announce their decision on monetary policy. The statement will get most of the attention though, as investors look for signs of any intention to change rates – there’s been much debate recently as to whether the Fed will leave out the phrase “considerable time” when referring to the prospect of leaving rates on hold. GBP/USD opens this morning at 1.5685, this after spiking to 1.5768 yesterday. As well as the FOMC statement tonight, UK employment data, average earnings and MPC minutes are released this morning.

We expect a range today in the GBP/USD rate of 1.5610 to 1.5780

Euro: EUR/USD pushed slowly higher yesterday as the dollar weakened against most of the other majors. Better than expected German Flash Manufacturing PMI and German ZEW sentiment data no doubt helped support the single currency yesterday morning, although French Flash Manufacturing PMI actually printed weaker than market forecasts. It also benefited somewhat by the outflows of capital from Russia. EUR/USD has since retraced though and it opens in London at 1.2460 this as trading conditions turn more risk averse. Meanwhile, GBP/EUR has been fairly steady throughout and trades at 1.2590 currently.

We expect a range today in the GBP/EUR rate of 1.2520 to 1.2645

Aussie and Kiwi Dollars: AUD/USD dropped below key support levels at .82 overnight, triggering stops on its way to a low of .8143. With turbulence in FX markets continuing, pressure on commodity prices and a growing risk off trend in FX trading, the likes of the AUD and NZD have suffered losses. NZD/USD has gone the same way as AUD/USD and fell to a low of .7714 a few hours ago. It looks vulnerable to further moves lower this morning too and opens at .7725.

We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 1.9100 to 1.9255

We expect a range today in the GBP/NZD rate of 2.0220 to 2.0400

Data Releases

AUD: RBA Bulletin

EUR: Final CPI y/y

GBP: Average Earnings Index 3m/y, Claimant Count Change, MPC Official Bank Rate Votes, Unemployment Rate

NZD: GDP q/q

USD: CPI m/m, Current Account, FOMC Economic Projections, FOMC Statement, Federal Funds Rate, FOMC Press Conference

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