May was a very strong month for the U.S. dollar and that was no surprise to our readers because we shared this chart at the beginning of the month showing how well the dollar performs in May. With last month’s gains, the positive seasonal bias continued for 7 straight years but on this first day of June, we are more interested in how seasonality affects currencies in the new month.
Which is why we updated our seasonality tables –
As you can see, there’s a negative bias for the Dollar Index in June. After strong performance in May, profit taking tends to drive the greenback lower in June. The seasonal trends are strongest for GBP/USD, EUR/USD and AUD/USD. However the gains in general are relatively modest with the dollar giving back only part of the past month’s moves.
Seasonal trends are important but with the Federal Reserve poised to make a major decision in June and the U.K. holding a referendum on E.U. membership – this year’s unique factors could easily overshadow seasonal trends. With that in mind, if the U.K. votes to remain in the European Union (and we think they will), the corresponding relief rally could drive the dollar lower against sterling and other high beta currencies.
Forex: 10 Events to Watch Next Week
In order of release
1. UK Consumer Price Index (Aug 19)
2. New Zealand Dairy Auction (Aug 19)
3. RBA Semi-Annual Testimony (Aug 19)
4. Bank of England Minutes (Aug 20)
5. FOMC Minutes (Aug 20)
6. HSBC China Manufacturing PMI Aug Flash (Aug 20)
7. Eurozone PMIs (Aug 21)
8. Jackson Hole Summit (Aug 21)
9. Canadian Retail Sales (Aug 21)
10. US Philadelphia Fed Index (Aug 22)
Will be on CNBC Street Signs this morning and wanted to give you a sneak peek of my notes:
I like EUR and AUD
– All of $ that was parked in Switzerland and U.K. for safety and now its coming back
– Strong German data means IMF and others could be underestimating EZ growth
– ECB begins taking back liquidity with LTRO repayments
– Sharp move lower not warranted
– Chinese data consistently surprising to upside
– RBA will leave rates on hold
– Triple Dip Recession Risks
– Investors and central banks dumping GBP
– Talk of EU Referendum weighing on currency
– BoJ Easing, need I say more?
– Yen weakness not helping trade much give territorial dispute with China
– Strong uptrend, keep buying USD/JPY on dips (or selling yen on rallies, depends how you want to say it)
– Incoming BoJ Gov in April could speed up open ended asset purchases
Over the past 3 weeks, central banks around the world have made a number of comments that have affected rate hike expectations. On Jan 27th, I showed where rate hike expectations were at the time and since then a number of interesting changes have occurred.
First, the market is now pricing in a 25bp rate hike by the Fed in Dec. Last month, no rate hike was expected. Close to 70bp of tightening is now expected from the Bank of England, up from 50bp. The market went from pricing in 2 rate hikes from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to one. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada are now expected to tighten by 75bp this year instead of 50bp. A lot can change in 3 weeks =)
The Bank of England’s Quarterly Inflation Report is one of the most important pieces of documents released by the central bank. The Inflation Report includes the central bank’s latest growth and inflation forecasts and frequently telegraphs their plans for monetary policy. Although the Monetary Policy Committee has not changed interest rates in nearly 2 years, they getting close to raising rates and because of that, investors are watching their every move.
The publication of the Inflation Report is rarely a nonevent for the GBP/USD. The following chart from Barclays Capital shows the rollercoaster like reaction in the currency pair days after the report is released. With the Bank of England upgrading its inflation forecast and downgrading its growth forecasts, sterling traders are as confused as ever and this confusion could turn into volatility for the British pound. The sell-off in the GBP/USD today indicates that the Quarterly Inflation Report was not nearly as hawkish as investors had hoped but many economists are still looking for the BoE to raise rates this year. In the short term, the less hawkish tone of the report could lead to additional position adjustments in the GBP but in the long term, the GBP is still headed higher because the BoE remains at the verge of raising interest rates. There is no question that the U.K. central bank will tighten before the Federal Reserve.