US Dollar Index Sinks Following Weaker Retail Sales

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US Dollar Index Sinks Following Weaker Retail Sales

US Dollar Index weakened on Friday following lower than expected Retail Sales figures for the month of August. Binary options traders might have been profiting along the way down, since the price moved lower by 80 pips. There had also been new rising tensions, triggered by a new missile launch over Japan by North Korea, which raised again concerns that the situation might escalate again further.

August Retail Sales MoM down to -0.2%

Even though the market expectations were around 0.1%, the actual figures turned out to be much worse, at -0.2%. Also, the July numbers had been revised lower, from 0.6% to 0.3%, adding extra pressure on the US dollar index quote.

Looking at out chart above, you can see that the Retail Sales are in a downtrend since the start of the year, as each low had been followed by a swing high and then a lower low. This suggests a weakening in the underlying numbers and also that the numbers could continue to underperform in the upcoming months.

Binary options activity might be intense around 91.80 and 92.26 resistance levels, since they represent strong selling areas where sellers might react pretty strongly. If the price will continue to weaken further, it might head towards 90.84 support, where the recent upward leg started to build up.

So far, there are no positive news that could support the upside and we expect the downside to extend lower as long as pressure will continue to mount. We also have the Fed meeting this week and investors might look for new hints regarding a new rate hike until the end of the year and also, a guide regarding the reduction of the Fed balance sheet.

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US Dollar Index Sinks Following Weaker Retail Sales

US Dollar Index weakened on Friday following lower than expected Retail Sales figures for the month of August. Binary options traders might have been profiting along the way down, since…

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U.S. Dollar Sinks To 3-Year Low; UK Retail Sales Eyed

Here are the latest developments in global markets:

  • FOREX: The dollar index traded almost 0.3% lower on Friday, adding to the losses it posted yesterday and recording a new three-year low. The continued slide in the world’s reverse currency managed to push EUR/USD to 1.2555 overnight, marking a fresh high last seen in 2020 for the pair. Meanwhile, USD/JPY posted a new 15-month low.
  • STOCKS: US equity indices continued to recover yesterday, amplifying expectations that the recent turbulence may be gradually fading. The NASDAQ Composite led the way, climbing by 1.6%, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones both rose by 1.2%. It is worth noting that all three of these indices have closed higher every day so far this week, while the so-called “fear index” ( VIX ) has also declined steadily, both factors enhancing the argument that the selloff may have run its course, for now at least. Futures tracking the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ 100 are all in positive territory at the time of writing, albeit marginally so. This positive sentiment rolled into Japanese trading as well, with the Nikkei 225 and the TOPIX indices gaining 1.2% and 1.1% respectively. Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong are closed in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Over in Europe, futures tracking all of the major stock indices are safely in the green.
  • COMMODITIES: Oil prices traded a little higher on Friday, with WTI and Brent crude gaining 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. With little in the way of energy news, the liquid’s gains may be owed to the continued weakness in the US dollar, as well as the sustained recovery in risk sentiment, which is supporting energy stocks and by extent, oil prices themselves. Despite the recent rebound though, one must sound a note of caution, as the fundamentals of the oil market seem to be deteriorating rather quickly. US production is already at all-time highs and seems to be rising still, a factor that could keep a lid on any near-term gains in oil. Today, investors will look to the release of the Baker Hughes oil rig count for signs on whether US output continues to soar. In precious metals, dollar-denominated gold is nearly 0.4% higher today, last seen near the $1360/ounce mark. The $1366 resistance zone is worth keeping an eye on. If buyers manage to overcome it, that would mark a fresh high on the daily chart, and it could be a signal for further advances.

    Major movers: The dollar’s slide continues; Kuroda secures another term as BoJ Governor

    The US dollar continued to bleed on Thursday, extending its losses during the Asian trading session Friday, even though the yields on 10-year US Treasuries touched a fresh four-year high yesterday. The inability of the greenback to draw any support from the bond market in recent days is quite perplexing, and likely reflects the fact that yields may be rising for the “wrong reasons”.

    Namely, instead of the surge in yields being driven by expectations that a healthy US economy will lead the Fed to raise rates more aggressively, it may be largely owed to investors reducing their exposure to Treasuries amid concerns that widening US deficits will make the nation’s debt trajectory even more unsustainable. Indeed, today’s release of flow data from the Japanese Ministry of Finance adds credibility to this argument, as it confirmed that Japanese investors continued to sell off foreign bonds in the week ended February 9. The repatriation of these funds in light of the Japanese fiscal year ending soon may also be one of the major factors behind the yen’s recent gains.

    Speaking of the yen, it gained nearly 0.3% against the dollar today to briefly touch the 105.50 area, a fresh 15-month low for dollar/yen, even despite relatively dovish news coming out of Japan. Haruhiko Kuroda has been reappointed for another term as Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor, while the government also nominated another two deputy Governors to join the BoJ, both of which are seen as policy doves. This suggests that the Bank is very likely to keep its ultra-loose policy framework in place for a while longer, which in isolation, is a negative development for the yen. Nonetheless, in an environment where Japanese funds are repatriating money, and the currency may enjoy increased inflows due to its safe-haven status amid this equity turbulence, this may not matter all too much in the near-term.

    Elsewhere, aussie/dollar is 0.4% higher, with the pair remaining largely unfazed by some comments from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe overnight, who said that he would prefer a lower AUD to a higher one.

    Day ahead: UK retail sales, US housing data and University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey among Friday’s releases

    Dominating attention during morning European trading hours (at 0930 GMT) will be the release of UK retail sales for the month of January. Both headline and core retail sales – that exclude fuel for automotives – are projected to rebound on a monthly basis following December’s contraction. In 2020, UK retailers experienced their worst year since 2020 as inflation outstripping wage growth – translating into weaker purchasing power for households – weighed on consumer spending and consequently on retail sales. Should the readings move convincingly towards offsetting weakness from the past, then market participants are likely to interpret them as yet another factor supporting the case for a Bank of England rate hike being delivered sooner rather than later, potentially pushing sterling higher versus other currencies.

    US housing data due at 1330 GMT are also of importance. Housing starts were affected by cold weather conditions in December, recording their sharpest monthly fall in around a year. January’s print is interesting to watch as the extreme weather effects are dropping out of the data. Building permits and import prices for January will be made public at the same time.

    Another release attracting interest in the US is the University of Michigan’s preliminary survey on consumer sentiment for the month of February. Not much of a change in consumer sentiment is expected relative to January. The survey will be made public at 1500 GMT. Investors may also look at another aspect of this survey, inflation expectations, to either confirm or disprove the recent narrative that higher US inflation is around the corner.

    Canadian manufacturing sales for the month of December due at 1330 GMT will be gathering loonie traders’ attention.

    In politics, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The meeting could be interesting given the rising tensions between the two countries. Also of interest – amid Brexit negotiations – might be a meeting between UK PM Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
    Oil traders will be paying attention to the US Baker Hughes oil rig count due at 1800 GMT.

    The earnings season remains in full swing, with Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) being among companies releasing quarterly results in the US.

    Technical Analysis: EUR/GBP looking increasingly neutral in short-term ahead of UK data

    EUR/GBP retreated a bit after hitting a one-month high of 0.8919 on Wednesday. The Tenkan-sen line remains above the Kijun-sen line – a positive short-term signal – though both lines have flatlined, perhaps pointing to a lack of direction in the short-term. The RSI seems to have halted its advance as well, lending support to a mostly neutral short-term picture.

    UK retail sales data due later have the capacity to move the pair in either direction. Stronger-than-anticipated readings are likely to push it lower. Support in this case could come around the current level of the 100-day moving average at 0.8855. The area around this level also encapsulates the Ichimoku cloud as well as the 50-day MA (0.8831), while not far below lie the Tenkan-sen (0.8825) and Kijun-sen (0.8806) lines; given the proximity of all these points, they could in essence be viewed as one broad range of support.

    Weaker-than-projected data on the other hand, are expected to be met with price advancing. In this scenario, the area around Wednesday’s high of 0.8919 (including the 0.89 handle which may be of psychological significance) might act as a barrier to the upside. In case of an upside break, the 0.90 handle would be eyed next. The range around this point includes a number of peaks from the recent past.

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