In a landscape of global financial intricacies, the EUR/USD currency pair is making headlines as it hovers around the 1.1000 benchmark during the early hours of Tuesday’s Asian trading session. This development comes after it tested a two-day upward trajectory just a day prior. With South Africa’s economic relations tightly interwoven with global financial health, the movement of major currency pairs like the EUR/USD can resonate with local investors and policymakers.
Of notable interest is the US Dollar’s struggle to sustain the gains it made at the beginning of the week. This contrasts sharply with looming concerns about an economic downturn in the European region, majorly spurred by recent data from Germany. These dynamics leave Euro-focused traders on their toes, particularly as we anticipate high-importance inflation data in the coming days.
Earlier this week, a glimpse of positivity came from the Eurozone Sentix Investor Confidence which showed an uptick, standing at -18.9 in August from July’s -22.5. This was against the market’s expected reading of -23.4. Despite this, the mood remained somber as Patrick Hussy, Sentix’s Managing Director, labelled Germany as the ‘ailing giant’ of the Eurozone. He further remarked on the continued recessionary state of the Eurozone, suggesting limited optimism for the region’s near-term economic outlook.
Adding to the concerns, Germany’s Industrial Production data for June took a dip, with numbers down at -1.5% MoM, defying the expected -0.4% and a revised previous reading of -0.1%. Fitch Ratings, the globally acclaimed rating agency, hinted at a potentially lower peak for ECB rates, citing falling Eurozone inflation as a driving factor. This sentiment was echoed in an ECB publication, which suggested that the inflation rate had likely seen its highest point in the first half of 2023.
The US financial scene also had its share of drama. The US Dollar started off strong earlier in the week, bolstered by hawkish sentiments from Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman. Bowman’s assertion was clear: more rate hikes might be on the horizon to bring inflation back within the target range. Yet, this stance was somewhat counteracted when New York Fed President, John C. Williams, voiced his anticipation of potential interest rate cuts in the coming year. He also hinted at expectations of a modest rise in unemployment rates, indicative of a slowing economy.
Wall Street saw a brighter close on Monday, influenced partly by the movements in US Treasury bond yields. They sought to find stable ground following the significant drop on Friday, providing some level of support to the US Dollar and applying pressure on the EUR/USD. The benchmark US 10-year Treasury bond yield was documented at 4.10% at the time of reporting.
For South African investors and analysts eyeing the international scene, the upcoming release of Germany’s Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for July and the US foreign trade data for June will be of significant interest. Most crucially, the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to shed light on the market’s sentiment regarding the Fed’s potential rate adjustments in September.
Technical Take: As of now, the EUR/USD is caught in a tug-of-war, oscillating between the 100-DMA and a declining resistance line from July 18, pinpointed near 1.0925 and 1.1010 respectively. South African markets will be closely monitoring these movements, understanding that global financial tides can have ripple effects on the local economy and investment strategies.