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Fundamental Analysis 20.03.2018 – Market Outlook

Market Recap

GBP was the biggest gainer on the day after Britain and the EU agreed on a 21-month transition period after Brexit. The move makes it much less likely that the UK will simply exit the EU next year without an agreement, which is all for the good of the pound. The agreement is definitely positive for the GBP in that it removes a substantial risk factor for the currency for several months.

Britain accepted almost all the EU demands. The country will continue to abide by EU regulations but lose any say in making those regulations. Furthermore, this agreement depends on reaching agreement on the points that are still in dispute, such as the Irish border. There’s no guarantee that they can reach agreement on all points.

This is likely to end the Brexit risk for some time, which is good for GBP. 

EUR also gained on a Reuters report saying that European Central Bank (ECB) officials are shifting their debate to the expected path of interest rates as Board members generally agree that the bond-buying program should end this year. The ECB has always maintained that interest rates would remain at current levels for some time after the bond-buying operations finished, so once they agree to finish the bond buying, they then have to start thinking about the subsequent path of interest rates – when to start raising them and how quickly. The report said that policy makers are comfortable with the market forecast that rates start moving up by the middle of next year, and the debate is increasingly about the pace at which they rise after that.

A Japanese Ministry of Finance official at the G20 meeting said that Japan sees recent moves in the yen as too volatile and out of synchronization with economic fundamentals. 

JPY was the biggest loser among currencies even though the country’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said some Japanese products are likely to be exempted from the US steel and aluminum tariffs. With any other currency, that would cause the currency to strengthen. The fact that USD/JPY moved higher in the face of lower global stocks is also noticable, since the correlation between the two – although weak nowadays – remains positive, i.e. USD/JPY still tends to move down when stocks move down (59% of the time so far this year).

 Today’s market

The G20 meeting will end today. The focus will probably be on cryptocurrencies. According to Bloomberg, the draft communique says that cryptos aren’t currencies, but rather are assets, meaning that they should be subject to capital gains taxes.

One can reasonably expect that nobody in this group is going to have any great incentive to promote or protect them – all finance ministers and central bankers want to keep money under their control – so the most likely result will be calls at least to “study” them, if not outright regulation, particularly with regards to money laundering. 

UK inflation is predicted to rise at a fairly steep mom rate, but because of an even higher mom jump in the same month a year earlier (+0.7%), it’s set to moderate on a yoy rate across all measures. This is an important data point for the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to consider as it meets. 

The question is, will this be enough to persuade all the MPC members to vote unanimously to keep rates unchanged, as they did at their last meeting on 7 February 2018. The rate of price increases continues to trend downward.

The ZEW survey of German analysts and economists is forecast to moderate. The “current situation” index hit a record level in January 2018, so some decline is normal. 

Overnight, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index for Australia will be announced. There are no forecasts for it, but it does seem to affect AUD, individuals with a position in AUD should watch it when it comes out. 

The Fundamental Analysis are provided by Marshall Gittler, an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.
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