Some calm returned to global markets even as the picture on the EMU debt crisis didn’t change. The consequence of the poor German bond auction on Wednesday was still the most important issue on the financial news wires yesterday. However, initially it didn’t cause much additional damage anymore. Trading in most markets was thin as most US traders and investors were absent in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The euro was already slightly off from Wednesday’s lows in Asia. European equities also opened the session in positive territory. The German Ifo business climate indicator improved slightly in November, defying market expectations for a further material decline. EUR/USD reached an intraday high north of 1.34 after the publication of the report. However, understandably, the report was unable to remove investor uncertainty on the EMU debt crisis. So, the rebound had no strong legs. Fitch cut the credit rating of Portugal from BBB- to BB+, but this action had hardly any impact on EUR/USD trading. The meeting between German Chancellor Merkel, French President Sarkozy and the Italian Prime Minister Monti didn’t bring any indication that the context in which European policymakers intend to address the crisis will change in the near future. France and Germany intend to propose Treaty changes at the Dec 9 EU summit. However, for now its doubtful that these kinds of LT measures will be able to change overall investor distrust in the functioning of the EMU. German Chancellor Merkel reiterated her objections to the issuance of E-bonds and to a bigger role for the ECB.
European equities returned a big part of their early losses and EUR/USD even reached a minor new low just below 1.3320 in the afternoon session in Europe. The pair closed the session at 1.3347, little changed from the 1.3342 close on Wednesday evening.
Yesterday evening and this morning, rating agencies S&P and Moody’s ‘fine-tuned’ their assessment on Hungary. S&P maintained its negative watch while Moody’s cut the rating to Ba1 with negative outlook. This is probably not a major issue of EUR/USD trading, but it is another illustration that the debt contagion is also spreading toward the
‘outers’ of the EMU.
Today, the calendar is extremely thin on both sides of the Atlantic. The US newswires will focus on the shopping malls as Black Friday marks the start of the Year-end sales. However, the anecdotic evidence on start of the sales won’t be a key factor for global markets. So, we expect more erratic trading. However, with no indication on a comprehensive solution for the debt crises, there are also no reasons to expected any improvement in investors’ distrust to the single currency. We maintain our sell-on-upticks strategy.
Looking at the technical picture, end-October the pair regained temporary the ‘old’ sideways trading pattern roughly between 1.40 and 1.4550. However, the Japanese interventions and a new escalation of the EMU debt crisis (the announcement of an EMU referendum by the Greek PM) again overthrew this improvement in the technical picture. From there, the pair lost gradually ground and dropped below the 1.3655/08 support area. The technical picture deteriorated and the pair set consecutive new short-term lows. This morning, the pair is setting new (interim?) lows in the 1.3300 area. The 1.30 area might soon come in the picture, with the 1.3145 (4 Oct low) an important intermediate support. A sustained break above 1.3653 (neckline H&S) would be a first sign that the downside pressures are waning. We maintain our EUR/USD negative bias and keep a sell-on-upticks approach.