US long-dated yields eased once again yesterday, possibly driven by the US Senate bi-partisan infrastructure impasse. More likely, position adjustments ahead of the outcome today drove the realignment, with and strength, once again, leading weakness. Notably, regional Asian currencies and the antipodeans show only very modest gains versus the US dollar, suggesting that delta-variant and China nerves remain very much front and centre for investors in Asia.
The dollar index fell 0.17% to 92.31 yesterday, breaching technical support at 92.55. A suitably dovish FOMC today should see the index continue lower, potentially testing support at 92.00. Support at 91.50, which is also the 100-day moving average (DMA), remains the index’s medium-term pivot level.
EUR/USD has now traced out firm support at 1.1750, and its rally yesterday to 1.1830 leaves it in sight of resistance at 1.1850. A close above 1.1850 targeting 1.1975. Sterling continues to outperform, receiving a boost by a suspension of hostilities with the EU over Northern Ireland and its intention to start accepting fully vaccinated tourists from the US and Europe without quarantine. Sterling rose 0.45% to 1.3880 yesterday, not far from resistance at 1.3910, also its 100-DMA. A close above 1.3910 will signal a further rally to test the much more important 1.4000 regions.
The ructions in the China stock markets saw the Chinese yuan fall quite rapidly yesterday, rising 0.44% to 6.5100, finally breaking out of the near two-month 6.4500 to 6.4900 range. USD/CNY has fallen to 6.5050 today as local media reports stabilise stock markets, but the cross has now made a substantial technical break above 4.4900, which should limit any pullbacks for now. That is quite some distance above today’s USD/CNY fixing at 6.4929 and reflects investors’ opinion that CNY outflows will increase due to the ever-expanding government clampdowns on various sectors.
The fall of the yuan yesterday will keep the pressure up on ASEAN currencies as well, which are also contending with the Delta-variant discount. I expect currency markets to range ahead of the FOMC as traders reduce risk into the meeting outcome today. All things remaining the same with the FOMC, US dollar weakness versus the major currencies should resume, but Asia’s own issue will keep up the pressure on local currencies.
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