The U.S. dollar, as measured by the DXY index, suffered heavy losses last week, pressured by the collapse in U.S. Treasury yields across most tenors following the Federal Reserve’s pivot. Although the U.S. central bank held its policy settings unchanged on Wednesday, it embraced a dovish posture – a turnaround that appeared unlikely based on recent rhetoric.
To offer some context, the Fed adopted a more optimistic view of the inflation outlook, acknowledged the start of discussions about rate cuts and signaled 75 basis points of easing in 2024 at the end of its last meeting of the year. The unexpected shift in the strategy caught investors by surprise and on the wrong side of the trade, sending interest rate expectations sharply lower (see chart below).
2024 FED FUNDS FUTURES (IMPLIED YIELDS)
New York Fed President John Williams contested the idea of policymakers openly talking about slashing borrowing costs in an interview before the weekend, but Wall Street downplayed this contradiction. Many theories have emerged to explain the change in tune, but most traders believe it is not a complete policy reversal, but a damage control tactic to tamp down animal spirits and prevent financial conditions from easing further.
With markets increasingly confident that the Fed will ease its stance materially over the next 12 months, bond yields and the U.S. dollar are likely to stay biased to the downside in the near term. However, interest expectations could change, especially if incoming data indicate strong growth and elevated inflationary pressures. For this reason, traders should keep a close eye on the economic calendar.
The first days of the week won’t feature any major risk events, but Friday will hold significance with the release of Personal Income and Outlays, a key report containing information on consumer spending and, more importantly, core PCE, the Fed’s favorite inflation gauge.
For the FOMC’s path, as discounted by market participants, to remain dovish, personal spending and core PCE must exhibit restraint. A failure to show moderation would signal that the economy is still running hot and that it would be premature to ease the policy stance – a scenario that could spark a hawkish repricing of interest rate expectations, boosting the greenback in the process.
The screen capture below, sourced from DailyFX’s economic calendar, presents the consensus estimates for the upcoming Personal Income and Outlays report.
EUR/USD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
EUR/USD rallied last week, but it failed to clear cluster resistance in the 1.1015 area, with prices pivoting lower upon testing this region. If bullish momentum continues to diminish and sellers re-enter the scene, the first line of defense against a bearish assault lies at 1.0830, near the 200-day simple moving average. Subsequent losses could bring attention to 1.0770, followed by long-term trendline support at 1.0640.
On the other hand, if the pair manages to consolidate higher and takes out overhead resistance stretching from 1.0995 to 1.1020, a potential move towards the 1.1100 handle could be in the cards. Breaching this ceiling may prove challenging for the bulls, but in the event of a breakout, the prospect of revisiting the 2023 highs in the vicinity of 1.1275 cannot be dismissed.
EUR/USD TECHNICAL CHART
USD/JPY TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
USD/JPY plummeted last week, breaching and closing below the 200-day simple moving average, marking a bearish development in technical analysis. If losses continue in the coming days, the pair may establish a base around the psychological 141.00 level. It is imperative for this floor to hold; failure to do so could spark a retracement towards trendline support at 139.40.
On the other hand, if USD/JPY resumes its rebound unexpectedly, the first obstacle on the path to recovery is the 200-day simple moving average. Given the worsening sentiment around the U.S. dollar, surmounting this barrier may prove difficult, but a successful move above it could open the door for a rally toward 144.60. On further strength, attention then shifts to the 146.00 handle.
USD/JPY TECHNICAL CHART
GBP/USD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
GBP/USD jump last week, briefly touching its best levels since late August. However, the positive momentum began to diminish on Friday as the pair encountered resistance around the 1.2795 area, paving the way for a modest pullback off those highs. If prices extend lower over the coming trading sessions, support is seen near 1.2590, followed by 1.2500, just around the 200-day simple moving average.
Conversely, if buyers regain dominance and drive cable higher, initial resistance looms at 1.2720, the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the July/October selloff, and 1.2795 thereafter. Moving beyond those levels, the focus turns to 1.2830. Overcoming this hurdle will be a mighty task for the bulls, but should a breakout occur, a retest of the 1.3000 mark could be on the horizon.