Last week US President Donald Trump announced 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports. The move came after the Federal Reserve was less dovish than Trump’s liking (judging by his tweets). In reaction, China’s Yuan weakened to a record low against the US dollar, as more than seven yuan are needed now to buy one greenback. As a consequence, the US Treasury was quick to label China a ‘currency manipulator, devaluing the yuan while maintaining foreign exchange reserves, despite using such tools in the past’. Now, it is acknowledged that China’s currency does not float freely but is managed as a matter of policy. By and large it only fluctuates within a predefined channel.
Nonetheless there is a widespread opinion that China has in fact kept the yuan strong, in the past, for two main reasons. Firstly, if China wants to keep growing by exporting to the world (Belt and Road Initiative is testimony to that) they will want to make yuan part of global currency reserves club (up there with the US dollars, euros, yens, pounds and so on). One cannot do that with a shaky currency. Secondly, China is, and has been, worried for a while about capital flights. At any sign of currency trouble, investors (foreign or domestic) could decide to take their cash out of China. So defending the yuan is a way to discourage capital outflows.
But in order to do that China needs to sell US dollars. Ok, it has a trillion dollars in reserves, but why squandering these reserves to prop up your own currency, in the middle of a trade dispute. Especially when the other side desperately wants a weaker currency themselves. Does that mean the trade dispute might take longer than initially expected? We shall see. Interesting to note is that a devalued Chinese yuan could export deflation all over the world. And that’s the last thing the West needs amid low growth, low interest rates and ongoing weak inflation.
From the technical analysis point of view, the chart shows the overall trend in USDCNH is bullish.
We saw a sharp rise above psychologically important 7.0 mark recently. That level proved good resistance in December 2016 as well as October last year. It managed to break above the sideways range of 6.68 – 7.0 where it has been fluctuating since March 2018. So the uptrend remains intact. The price now sits comfortably above the 9 week (red) and 21 week (green)moving averages so a retracement to resistance turned support of 7.0 could be considered. We note that the 9 week moving averages has crossed above the 21 week moving averages in May this year which, in hindsight, proved good buying signal for USDCNH pair. Interestingly these moving average crosses were effective signals, both in January 2019, when they gave an indication of a bearish move, and end of May 2018, a bullish trend (blue circles).
There are a string of lower supports, which proved good levels, at 6.90, 6.85, 6.79 and 6.68 shown by the red stripes. We note that support around 6.68 mark also represents 50% Fibonacci retracement from a high of 7.13 to a low of 6.24 (February 2018) alongside 6.79 as a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement.
Gold’s breakout above levels that held repeatedly since 2013, making a high of $1439, has been described as a perfect storm of technicals and fundamentals. Geopolitics, in the form of US tensions with Iran, Sino-US trade dispute, a Federal Reserve getting ready to ease again constantly bullied by a President who desperately wants a weaker dollar (and higher stock market), all lined up to support the precious metal.
China’s Commerce Ministry said tariffs by certain countries are a threat to the global economy, although they agreed to keep open the communication channels with the US. Meanwhile US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reiterated Trump’s tariffs threats are not a bluff, although his camp is looking for a ‘reasonable deal’ with China over trade.
Presidents Trump and Xi will meet on Saturday in Japan at the G20 summit and the media seems cautiously optimistic, although both sides aren’t giving much away.
Boris Johnson, the front runner to become the UK Prime Minister, said Parliament is now ready to back a no-deal Brexit and repeated his promise to exit by October 31 this year. Fear grows among Brussels politicians that a no-deal Brexit is increasingly becoming unavoidable. After encountering good support at 1.25 to the dollar, the sterling soared to 1.2750 which was good resistance in the past.
ECB President Mario Draghi hinted last week that more stimulus will be needed if the outlook remains concerning, amid lingering uncertainty regarding trade tensions. A string of economists were quick to predict the central banker will emphasize that more and more in the near future and eventually take action, possibly from September onwards. The EURUSD is sitting just below 1.14.
After going south for a good 18 months, Bitcoin more than doubled since early May reaching above $13,800 and the steep surge made everyone remember the booming second half of 2017. It retraced to $10,500 and looks to be stable just below $12,000 on Friday. However Bloomberg reports ‘the pop culture zeitgeist isn’t quite as giddy’ as apparently Google searches for the word bitcoin were five times higher in December 2017. On the other hand, that episode made Bitcoin & co significant enough that a lot more people are now clued up about them. Facebook announced plans to issue their own crypto currency, Libra, in a sign that institutional adoption is gathering pace.
It seems the US has reached an agreement with Mexico and President Donald Trump has now tweeted that tariffs would be suspended indefinitely. So much for ‘tariffs are a beautiful thing’ then… As a result, the greenback was given a lift, despite the weakest US employment report released less than 24 hours before. Later this month we could see the re-opening of negotiations between China and US at the G20 meeting, although it’s widely understood that a resolution of trade tensions between these two will require a lot more effort.
We saw a larger than anticipated trade surplus for China in May due to higher than expected exports (despite trade dispute escalation), coupled with lower than expected imports. At the same time, Chinese state-owned Bank of Communications International said ‘weakened valuation of the yuan is decided by the recent tough trade environment China is facing’ but added that they believe the yuan will drop below 7 within 3 months.
The race for the UK Prime Minister has seen the first round of voting which the clear favourite, Boris Johnson, has won by quite some margin after promising an income tax cut. He has already expressed his views that Brexit will happen on October 31 with or without a deal. However, despite previous concerns about a possible hard Brexit hurting the pound, cable (GBPUSD) was trading conditions were stable, around 1.2650, Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the ECB officials are starting to fear the market is losing confidence in the region inflation’s control which could force another round of stimulus to re-establish control. So much so that governing council member Olli Rehn said the central bank could strengthen forward guidance, cut interest rates and relaunch quantitative easing.
Australia’s (May) employment data release showed mixed signals, with an addition of 42.3k jobs (hugely above the expectation for 16k gain), while unemployment rate came in at 5.2% versus 5.1% prediction. Aussie dollar moved lower with many now seeing an increased chance for further easing in the coming months.
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