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The Euro hit an all time high of 1.5983 against the US dollar following better than expected trade balance numbers. The strength faded quickly however when Eurogroup President Junker told the markets that they “did not correctly understand G7 message on FX” and he “does not consider the euro’s rise vs. dollar desirable.” This triggered a 100 pip drop in the EUR/USD in a matter of minutes.
Junker jawboned the Euro at a time when Euro traders were looking for a reason to sell, which is why the move happened so quickly. However Junker is not Trichet and Trichet is not Junker. This is not the first time that the EU President has complained about the strength of the Euro.
Back in March, Junker said that the Euro was overvalued and in September he said that the strong currency is starting to be a great concern – at that time, the EUR/USD was trading at 1.38. Therefore if he was worried about the Euro 2000 pips ago, he would most certainly be worried about the Euro now.
Instead, we choose to pay far greater attention to the ECB because they are the ones that have the power to impact the currency and monetary policy. Although ECB member Weber also said that currency volatility is not helpful for growth, in contrast to Junker, he feels that the G7 statement speaks for itself. His comment that the next inflation forecasts by the ECB will reflect recent wage deals indicates that inflation is still very much of a concern. With oil prices above $114 a barrel, their focus on price pressure is justified.
The fact that the Eurozone’s trade deficit turned into a surplus in February is proof that the strong currency is not slowing growth significantly. On a year over year basis, exports grew 13 percent while imports rose 11 percent. As explained by Weber, 80 percent of German exports are invoiced in Euros, so German corporations are not particularly exposed to the effect of currency translations.
Unless jawboning comes from the President of the ECB, comments from Junker or any Eurozone politician will not be enough to stop the Euro’s rise. German producer prices are due for release tomorrow and I expect them to be hot.