Dollar Under Pressure after FOMC, Focus Shifts to Greece

August 23, 2012 Forex Crunch

August 23, 2012 – By Matthew Lifson, Cambridge Mercantile Group

The USD has remained under pressure in overnight Asian and early morning European trading as traders react to the release of the FOMC meetings yesterday. The minutes contained comments that traders believe are pointing towards more monetary easing measures to be implemented soon unless upcoming data shows a “sustainable and substantial strengthening”.

Traders who were originally skeptical of any FED move have now changed their opinions to a “when” attitude as opposed to an “if” attitude. Most traders are now focusing on the September job report due out September 7 as the “trigger” point towards FED action. Traders will also focus on the speech that FED Chairman Ben Bernanke will give at the Jackson Hole seminar on August 31. All eyes will be on Bernanke to see if there are any clues given in this speech.

Guest post by Matthew Lifson, Foreign Exchange Trader, Market Analyst of Cambridge Mercantile Group.

Traders have taken the EUR through the 1.2550 resistance point to trade as high as 1.2572, but has since fallen back and trades slightly below 1.2550 at the time of this writing (4:30 am). Adding to the EUR strength this morning has been positive economic news that has come out of the Eurozone. French manufacturing rose from 43.4 to 46.2 in August, when the consensus was for a small rise to 43.6. The German and EMU figures also came in above expectations. German grew from 43.0 to 45.1, with consensus at 43.5 and the Eurozone indicator moved from 44.0 to 45.3, when consensus was 44.3. The market has reacted “EUR positive” on these releases, even though these numbers continue to be contractionary rather than expansionary. A number must be above the 50 level to be considered expansionary.

The EUR euphoria will try to remain today as German Chancellor Merkel meets with French President Hollande later today in Berlin. The meeting is scheduled to begin later this afternoon, early evening and both are scheduled to give statements and meet with the press at 7pm Berlin time, so the North American trading afternoon should have time to react to their comments. The French and German views have differed greatly since President Hollande replaced President Sarkozy in May and it is hoped that these meetings will get these two leaders on the same page.

After meeting with Hollande, Merkel will met tomorrow with Greek Prime Minister Samaras who continues his European tour, having met with Luxemburg Prime Minister yesterday and French President Hollande tomorrow. Samaras is looking for an extension to carry out policy changes in Greece and he is hoping that these meetings will get the European leaders on his side. Merkel has stated she will not make any decisions before the the Troika presents their report on Greek progress.

Chancellor Merkel was named Forbes magazine’s “most powerful woman” yesterday for the second year in a row. The comments that she has made lately point towards her looking to find a way to get consensus on Greece as long as Prime Minister Samaras pledges and continues to meet the targets of his country’s bailout program.

Expect the EUR to trade in the 1.2520 – 1.2575 range today. I would not expect any surprises from Merkel or Hollande. EUR positive sentiment should remain. A break through 1.2575 would target 1.2610 as the next level.

Asian and European equity markets are mixed overnight, while DOW Futures are higher indicating a positive opening to US equity markets.