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A Technical Word Ahead of Macro Events

Nevertheless, the dollar’s strength was more than we anticipated.

While the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of England are expected to ease policy in the coming days, the larger focus swings back to the US, where national elections, the FOMC meeting, and October employment report are the highlights. None should be particularly bullish for the dollar.

A solid showing for the Democratic Party has been favored by polls and surveys using traditional and non-traditional approaches, like Ravenpack. They don’t appear to have changed very much recently. Although there is angst over the possibility of a protracted period of uncertainty as the results are challenged, we suspect that the risk is exaggerated.

The actual results could expedite some M&A activity, corporate tax planning and spur industry-specific (e.g., health care, energy) reactions. The Federal Reserve is not going to do anything, but its somber economic assessment and forward guidance cannot be construed as favorable for the dollar. The risk may be on the downside of the median forecast in the Blomberg survey of a 600k increase in non-farm payrolls given the recently announced lay-offs, the little change in weekly jobless claims over the survey period, and seasonal adjustments.

It is always interesting to look at the technical condition ahead of what are obviously significant macro events. Broadly speaking, the momentum indicators favor additional dollar gains, but as sketched above, we are less sanguine. Still, we will seek here to identify levels that would be technically significant and could accelerate moves.

Dollar Index

Pushing above 94.00 last week was more than expected last week, but there was not much follow-through, and a softer tone was seen ahead of the weekend. The momentum indicators are pointing higher, and a convincing break of 94.00 could spur a move to the September high near 94.70. The 93.00 area may provide support, which is the middle of the 92.00-94.00 range that has dominated since the end of July, save those few days in late September.

Euro

The one-two punch of the escalated social restrictions in the face of the surging pandemic and the dovish ECB saw the euro buckle to $1.1660, a new low for October, though above the September low (~$1.1610). The push above $1.17 ahead of the weekend was repelled. The Slow Stochastic is trending lower while MACD has softened slightly but is little changed. A break of $1.1600, which the euro has held above since late July, would give immediate scope for another cent decline. A move above $1.1700 would help stabilize the tone, but resistance around $1.1750-$1.1760 needs to be overcome.

Japanese Yen

As stocks were selling off hard on October 29, the dollar tested key support near JPY104.00. It held like a rock, and the greenback recovered to JPY104.70. This marks the lower end of as bad of resistance that extends a little above JPY105.00. The MACD and Slow Stochastic look poised to cross higher. A move above JPY105.00 would still be constrained by the larger range with intermittent resistance near JPY105.50.

British Pound

There has been no major breakthrough in UK-EU trade talks, and a German official from the finance ministry was quoted on the news wires expressing disappointment. The broader dollar gains set the tone, and sterling has recorded lower higher for the past four sessions. If sterling’s trend higher from late September’s low (~$1.2675) is being retraced since October 21, then it neared a (61.8%) retracement objective (~$1.2865).

A move now above $1.3000-$1.3030 would lend credence to this scenario. Recapturing the $1.3065 would improve the technical tone. The euro was sold through GBP0.9000 ahead of the weekend for the first time since September 8. Although it bounced back, it found new sellers near GBP0.9030 and finished on a soft note. The next area of chart support is seen around GBP0.8965.

Canadian Dollar

The US dollar rose by about 1.6% against the Canadian dollar last week, the most since March. The risk-off mood, sharp drop in oil prices, and the greenback’s broader strength were the main driving forces. The Bank of Canada will reduce its bond-buying but extend maturities leaving the broad impulse in favor of accommodation.

The US dollar’s high for October was set on the 29th, a little shy of CAD1.3400. A break of the CAD1.3450 area would target the 200-day moving average (~CAD1.3550) and then CAD1.3600. The momentum indicators are moving higher. Initial support is seen near CAD1.3280, and if a consolidative phase emerges, the greenback can pullback to CAD1.3200.

Australian Dollar

The Aussie held important support at $0.7000 last week, but the subsequent price action was not inspiring, and it finished the week near $0.7030. The RBA meets and is expected to ease policy, including a small rate cut and more bond-buying. It probably requires a break of the $0.6965 area to confirm a downside break, in which case the 200-day moving average around $0.6800 offers an initial target.

The MACD is bouncing along its trough, while the Slow Stochastic has turned down from mid-range. The $0.7080-$0.7100 area now offers resistance, but overcoming the weekly downtrend line from the August high (~$0.7160 next week) may be the key to the medium-term outlook.

Mexican Peso

The dollar snapped a four-week slide that saw it lose around 7% against the Mexican peso. Its nearly 1.9% gain is only the third weekly increase since late July. Last week’s bounce appeared to lose momentum in front of the minimum retracement objective (38.2%) of the latest leg down, which started in late September, found near MXN21.55. The peso’s pre-weekend gain was impressive because it took place even amid the continued retreat from risk assets more broadly. Initial support for the dollar is seen in the MXN21.10-MXN21.20 area.

Chinese Yuan

The dollar furnished virtually unchanged against the Chinese yuan last week near CNY6.6915. This is a bit misleading as the greenback strengthened to almost CNY6.73 in the middle of the week when the PBOC announced that banks no longer had to use a counter-cyclical function when submitting bids to set the daily reference rate for the dollar. The dollar weakened in the second half of the week and posted its lowest close of the week on Friday. Broad consolidation appears to be the most likely near-term scenario. The market may get cautious near CNY6.65 while attracting investment flows in the CNY6.73-CNY6.75 area.

Gold

The 1.1% decline in gold prices last week was sufficient to ensure the third consecutive losing month. The price tumbled with stocks in the middle of the week but traded firmer ahead of the weekend even as equities headed south. The Slow Stochastic is falling, and the MACD is softened at low levels. September’s low was around $1848, and last week’s low was about $1860. A recovery above $1900 would solidify the base. At the same time, it has been over a month since gold was above $1935.

Oil

December crude oil prices had a tough week. It fell 10.5%, the most since April. It was off about 1.5% for the month coming into last week. It briefly traded below $35 a barrel for the first time since the end of May. The momentum indicators are headed down but getting stretched. A convincing break of $35 could spur losses toward $33.50. Demand concerns mount, and market talk suggests Saudi Arabia is likely to cut its official selling price for Asia for December when a decision is made in the coming days. Previous support around $37 may now be resistance.

US Rates

The US 10-year yield rose three basis points last week, but the fact that it rose at all in the face of the biggest slide in stock since March is notable. Moreover, it finished at 0.87%, the highest in nearly five months, and closed above the 200-day moving average (0.83%) for the first time since late 2018. The yield bottomed near 0.50% in August, the chaotic low in March near 0.30% notwithstanding. The market is looking stretched, and the 10-year note futures contract finished the week below the low er Bollinger Band. Some observers attribute the sell-off to election positioning.

Still, we would expect the Fed to be dovish and the employment data to show that the labor market’s improvement is slowing. With the two-year yield virtually unchanged on the week at 15 bp, the long-end accounts’ backing up accounts for the steeper curve. It finished at 72 bp, the steepest since early 2018. The fact that the 10-year breakeven is about 10 bp lower than at the end of August suggests that the yield curve’s steepening may not result from elevated inflation expectations.

S&P 500

The index fell 5.6% last week and offset the earlier gains to finish the month with a nearly 2.8% decline. It had fallen by almost 4.0% in September, snapping the five-month recovery from the 20% decline in Q1. The key technical development last week was the gap lower opening on Wednesday that remains unfilled. Gap theory, which helped us anticipate and identify the month’s high on October 12 (third consecutive gap exhausts the market), suggest that area (~3342.5-3388.7) has technical significance now.

Prices may be attracted to the vacuum of the gap, but it may also act as resistance. Even though the month’s low was set before the weekend near 3234, the selling pressure abate ahead o the September low and support closer to 3200. A break of 3200 would have negative technical consequences for likely the remainder of the year. It would boost the chances that a significant high is in place.

A potential double top could be confirmed on the break of 3200 that projects toward 2800-2900, which corresponds to a (50%) retracement of the gains rally from the March lows. Yet, the momentum is clearly on the downside. The MACD and Slow Stochastic have entered the overextended territory, Remember lows even after smaller pullbacks often take a couple of days or so to forge.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

This article was written by Marc Chandler, MarctoMarket.