Bond Yields, Stocks Soar, Risk-On, AUD Up, Yen Down, Dollar Flat

Michael Moran

Michael Moran is an experienced global markets professional who currently writes a daily markets commentary. Moran has traded currencies for over 30 years, having worked in dealing rooms of major banks all over the globe. He lives in Sydney with his wife, 5 children, 2 grandsons and another coming. He still loves trading and talking about the currency markets. All of them! Michael began his career as an assistant dealer in money markets and foreign exchange with Lloyds Bank. He has worked in Hongkong, Manila, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. He’s traded through the 1985 Plaza Accord, Paul Keating’s 1986 “banana republic” statement, the Asian Currency Crisis in 1997, and the 9/11 New York Twin Tower terrorist strike. He took the task of speaking to sales team of the banks he worked at (Lloyds, NAB, CBA) during the daily morning meetings. Other traders hated this job. But he developed a liking for commentating and putting forward his views on currencies, in the process helping others. Which he still does today. Moran wrote briefly for Invast Global before taking the position as senior analyst for Royal Financial Trading. He currently is a Responsible Manager in Compliance for Transferwise Ltd, Pty, a global money transfer firm where he advises the Treasury team. Having spent the last 10 years of his trading career managing the Emerging Markets and Asian currency desks of NAB and CBA, he formulates much of his market analysis from their movements. His favourite description for global markets today comes a 1968 hit tune from the group Blood, Sweat and Tears – “What goes up, must come down, spinning wheel got to go round.”


Bond Yields, Stocks Soar, Risk-On, AUD Up, Yen Down, Dollar Flat

April 2, 2019

Summary: Ten-year US Bond Yields soared 9 basis points (2.50%), its biggest daily gain in almost 4 months. Rival global bond yields rose in synch. Stronger-than-expected Chinese PMI’s lifted equities on the market’s risk-on stance. Currency traders, however, did not share the same enthusiasm. FX volatility, already low, was suppressed further. Reuters reported that extremely low volatility has impacted the daily US$ 5.1 trillion-a-day FX market. With global central banks turning dovish, there is little divergence to move currencies against the Dollar and one another. Deutsche Bank’s Implied Currency Volatility Index Chart showed that FX vols fell to their lowest since March 2014. Trading volumes have also fallen. Notable exceptions though were the British Pound and Turkish Lira.

Reuters-Deutsche Bank Currency Volatility Index Chart - 02 April 2019
Reuters-Deutsche Bank Currency Volatility Index Chart – 02 April 2019

The Dollar Index closed flat at 97.244. EUR/USD traded in a relatively narrow 49-pip range, closing little-changed at 1.1214 (1.1217 yesterday). The risk-on stance and higher US bond yields saw USD/JPY rally to 111.35 from 110.85. Sterling rallied to 1.3115 (1.3032) lifted by stronger UK economic data.
Wall Street stocks lifted to the highest levels of the year. The DOW finished at 26,237, up 1.18%.
China’s Caixin Manufacturing Index climbed to 50.8 against analysts forecast of 50.1. Australia’s NAB Business Confidence Index dropped to 0 from 2, its lowest level in over 3 years. Euro area Manufacturing PMIs mostly matched forecasts. UK Manufacturing PMI in March beat forecasts, up to 55.1 from 52.0. US Headline and Core Retail Sales underwhelmed. Core sales fell to -0.4 from an upwardly revised 0.4%.

  • EUR/USDThe Single currency traded in a relatively tight range between 1.1204 and 1.1250. The trading range in the world’s most traded currency pair has fallen to its narrowest quarterly range on record, according to a Reuters report. EUR/USD closed at 1.1214.
  • AUD/USDThe Australian Dollar benefited from the market’s risk-on stance climbing 0.41% to 0.7115 (0.7099). National Australia Bank’s Business Survey underwhelmed. The RBA is expected to keep its Cash Rate at 1.50% today while changing its rhetoric to the dovish side, as the RBNZ did last month.
  • USD/JPY – While the Dollar rallied against the Japanese Yen, volatility in this currency pair has also suffered a drop in recent months. USD/JPY finished up 0.45% at 111.35 from 110.85. The trading range last night was 63 pips.
  • GBP/USD – rallied to 1.1315 from 1.3035 yesterday. Upbeat UK Manufacturing PMI and chances that a soft Brexit option will be chosen by lawmakers lifted Sterling.

On the Lookout: Today’s big event is the RBA rate decision and policy meeting (2.30 pm Sydney time). The RBA is not expected to move its cash rate (1.5%). However, some believe that Australian policymakers may follow the RBNZ’s lead by acknowledging it may cut interest rates again. The RBA still watches key Australian job market indicators for any policy changes. Last month Australian Unemployment fell to 4.9%, its lowest level in eight years. Job vacancies point to firm hiring ahead. However last month’s move by the RBNZ has many expecting the RBA to do the same. The economies and boards are different.

Trading View US 10-Year Bond Yield Chart - 02 April 2019
Trading View US 10-Year Bond Yield Chart – 02 April 2019

Australian Building Approvals for March will be released earlier (11.30 am Sydney time), while the Australian Federal Budget will be handed down 5 hours after the RBA’s rate decision.
Today also sees Spanish Employment Change (expected to all to -33,300 from 3,300). Eurozone PPI for March and UK Construction PMI are also due out. US Headline and Core Durable Goods Orders follow. Progress on China-US trade talks will continue to be monitored. UK Parliament vote on a series of Brexit options with some hoping for a softer Brexit than May’s defeated version.

Trading Perspective: The climb in the US 10-year bond yield was a whopping 9 basis points. While those of its Rivals climbed in synch, the rise was not as pronounced. Germany’s 10-Year Bund rose to -0.03% from -0.07% while Japanese 10-Year JGB’s slipped to -0.09% (-0.10%). This should be US Dollar supportive in Asian trading. Expect the recent ranges to hold with traders searching for the next market-moving factor to shake up sleeping volatility.

Daily FX.COM - AUD USD H1 Chart - 02 April 2019
Daily FX.COM – AUD USD H1 Chart – 02 April 2019
  1. AUD/USD – Will the RBA shake things up (ala Taylor Shift) today? The Australian Dollar has benefited from the market’s risk-on stance. China-US talks will go on for a few months more while we can expect further Chinese stimulus measures. Emerging Market currencies may have seen the worst of it and are recovering. Commodity prices are up. All Aussie supportive. AUD/USD has immediate support at 0.7100 followed by 0.7070. Immediate resistance can be found at 0.7130/40 followed by 0.7170 and 0.7200. Look to buy dips. Ahead of the RBA decision, look for a likely 0.7100/40.
  2. EUR/USD – The Euro held above 1.1200 although it closed not much higher above it. Euro area PMI data releases yesterday mostly matched forecasts. Immediate resistance lies at 1.1250. Immediate support can be found at 1.1200. Market positioning remains short in this currency pair. While the Euro area data fell in Q1, they should stabilise in Q2. So should the Single Currency. Look to buy dips to 1.1200 today.
  3. GBP/USD – Sterling survived another attempt below 1.3000, rallying to 1.3150 overnight high on the back of an upbeat UK Manufacturing report. Brexit’s focus is now on Brexit options. The longer the delay, the more chances of a softer Brexit, means more chance of a strong British Pound. Immediate resistance lies at 1.3150 followed by 1.3200. Immediate support can be found at 1.3080 and 1.3030. Likely range today 1.3080-1.3180.

Happy trading all.

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