Dollar continues to feel the heat of Fed pivot expectations
Nike, FedEx, and consumer sentiment help Wall Street
Oil gains on US inventory drawdown
Dollar on the back foot as investors maintain pivot bets
The dollar traded slightly higher against most of the other currencies yesterday, but it came back under renewed selling pressure today.
It seems that the dovish market expectations about the Fed’s future course of action continue to weigh on the greenback and this is evident by the slide in Treasury yields. Investors slightly lowered the level where they expect interest rates to peak, while they are still pricing in nearly 50 basis points worth of rate cuts by the end of 2023.
And all this despite the Fed appearing hawkish last week and signaling that interest rates could rise to slightly above 5%. With inflation, as well as one-year inflation expectations, continuing to cool, market participants may not be willing to listen to what the Fed has to say now.
This kept the dollar under pressure even during periods when equities were sold, suggesting that the inverse correlation may be slowly breaking. Therefore, even if the currency attracts some safe-haven flows due to increasing recession fears, a scenario where it returns to its September multi-decade highs seems extremely unlikely.
With the BoJ tweaking its yield curve control policy, yield differentials between the US and Japan are now narrowing further, suggesting that the yen could take its dusty safe-haven suit out of the wardrobe, while the dollar may lose the status of the “ultimate safe haven” due to retreating Treasury yields. In other words, dollar/yen could very well break the 130.50 key support zone soon and drift further south.
Wall Street adds to gains on consumer sentiment and upbeat earnings
Wall Street extended its recovery yesterday on the back of data revealing a rebound in US consumer confidence for December as well as upbeat Nike and FedEx quarterly earnings. That said, a rebound in consumer confidence during the last month of the year may not necessarily be representative of the real picture as it is usual for consumers to feel better and spend more around Christmas.
After all, the S&P 500 remains below the solid downtrend line taken from its record high hit back in January, as well as below the recently broken support (turned into resistance) zone of 3920. This could mean that the outlook did not suddenly brighten, as concerns about a US recession next year have anything but vanished.
Indeed, according to data released yesterday, US existing home sales tumbled 7.7% m/m in November as the housing market continues to be hurt by higher mortgage rates. This comes on top of last week’s disappointing retail sales and PMIs, and with the full effect of the Fed’s tightening crusade not felt yet, the outlook could deteriorate more. Ergo, even if we see some further recovery due to holiday-thin liquidity or end-of-year portfolio rebalancing next week, stocks could resume their slide at the turn of the year.
Oil prices gain more than 3% on draw in US stockpiles
Oil prices rose yesterday after crude oil inventories fell by more than expected, with both Brent and WTI crude futures for February delivery gaining more than 3%. That said, the gains could have been a bit bigger if it wasn’t for concerns that an upcoming snowstorm may hit US travel.
After hitting a nearly one-year low on December 9, oil prices entered a recovery mode, printing a higher low this week, perhaps helped by hopes that China would ease its COVID-related restrictions, Nonetheless, a discussion of a full-scale bullish reversal appears premature for now as it may take some time for China’s economic engines to restart and revive crude demand.
On top of that, Bloomberg reported early today that the nation may be recording increasingly concerning numbers of COVID infections and deaths, which does little to ease worries about further business disruptions and new economic complications.