15 March 2013: Stock market growth smile on US dollar

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 The Dow Jones Industrial rose for a 10th straight day in a stock rally not seen since 1996, and ended up 0,6 % at 14 539. This followed a strong session in Europe.  In Asia stocks rose again this morning after two loss making sessions. The rally was spurred by new US- labour market data showing a fall in the weekly numbers of people applying for unemployment benefits. The data reflects  that the American economy is steadily improving.  A raft of recent data from retail sales and manufacturing to employment and housing have shown that the US  economy is gathering steam.

In contradiction to former historical stock rallies where the green buck was used as some kind of a life jacket, the USD has this time benefited greatly on the stock market’s surge to new highs and improved economic data.  Against a basket of currency, DXY, the dollar has reached a seven month high. Since January USD/JPY has jumped from 86,67 to over 96. Pound Sterling, GBP, has fallen from 1.62 to a bottom of  1.4832 earlier this week. The moves suggest that the dollar has entered a multi-year bull cycle where the dollar has outperformed nine of the major G-10 currencies.

Political uncertainty in Italy has re-ignited  fear about the  euro zone’s debt crisis and put new pressure on the Euro.  Weak economic growth and  prospects of aggressive monetary easing in Japan and Britain have driven the yen and GBP to multi-year lows.  Spending cuts in Washington could for sure damper US economic growth and the FED has further pledged to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future.   But capital flows continue to rotate in the favour of US-assets and  strengthen both the US economy and the dollar.

The dollar strength against JPY and Euro  took a little breather  on Friday. USD/JPY trades at 96,03 down from the peak of 96,71 on Tuesday. If the Bank of Japan (BOJ) follows up on its  declared strong monetary easing policies, USD/JPY is likely to trade in a future range between 95 – 105. If BOJ disappoints the trading range is expected to be 86 – 96. Euro/USD was in the short term  strengthened by a positive Spanish bond auction on Thursday. It  trades at 1.3010. Pound sterling and Australian dollar were yesterday’s winners. The Aussie added another 0,8 % after another  one percentage jump on good employment numbers on Wednesday.

British pound surged yesterday as investors scrambled to cover short positions made on expectations of more quantitative easing by the Bank of England. The Bank’s Governor stated that GBP according to his opinion is properly valued and not seeking further depreciation.  GBP was helped by rumours that Qatar is planning to invest billions of GBP into British infrastructure projects. The GBP yesterday’s one % gain is the biggest seen in seven months.

These short term gains are nevertheless not expected to  have any major medium or long term  impact.  The long medium and long term outlook point towards  a stronger USD both in relation to Euro, JPY, GBP and most other currencies. These forecasts for Euro/USD point to  a new test on former bottom levels 1.19 – 1.20. It is also predicted that GBP/USD can drop as low as 1.35.  The corridor range 95 – 105 is the most likely medium term scenario for USD/JPY.

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