Major markets are settling in for a key announcement from the Federal Reserve today. After last week’s rebound (some of which driven by risk-off trading), the dollar has been gradually weakening again in recent sessions. The perception is that the FOMC will take on board the sentiment from Fed chair Powell’s Jackson Hole speech and adopt a greater tolerance for inflation. No changes are expected to rates, but will the door be opened to shifting the emphasis of asset purchases? The issues to look for today is how significant changes to the language in the FOMC statement will be. Also, look for dovish shifts in the dot plot projections of economic forecasts, regarding inflation, growth and unemployment. Expect volatility on yields and the dollar. Signs of potential progress in US Congress over a fiscal relief package. A $1.5trillion package does not appear to be getting too much agreement anywhere but could pave the way for further talks. UK inflation has come in slightly ahead of expected in August, even if there was a significant drop. The UK has avoided the fate of the Eurozone (which went into headline deflation recently). Essentially, all eyes are on the Fed today though.
Wall Street closed slightly higher last night with the S&P 500 +0.5% at 3401, whilst US futures are all but flat ahead of the Fed. In Asia, there was a mixed session, with the Nikkei just +0.1% higher, whilst Shanghai Composite was -0.6%. European markets are taking a cautious approach after Wall Street came off session highs into the close, with FTSE futures -0.6% and DAX futures -0.1%. In forex, there is the mildest USD negative, risk positive bias, but with little real drive to take a view. In commodities, the consolidation is across gold and silver this morning, whilst for oil it is interesting to yesterday’s decisive rebound followed up by further strong gains today of just under +2%.
The Fed looms large on the economic calendar today, but retail sales will also be keenly watched. First up though, is the Eurozone Trade Balance at 1000BST which is expected to see the surplus grow to +€19.3bn in July (from +€17.1bn in June). US Retail Sales are at 1330BST and are expected to show core ex-Autos sales having grown by +0.9% in the month of August (after a +1.9% improvement in July). The EIA Crude Oil Inventories are at 1530BST and are expected to show a stock build of +2.1m barrels (after a build of +2.0m barrels last week). The FOMC monetary policy decision is at 1900BST with no change expected to the Fed Funds range of 0.00%/0.25%. The interest will be in how the FOMC accounts for the new average inflation targeting in the statement, and the FOMC dot plots. Fed chair Powell has his press conference at 1930BST.
Chart of the Day – EUR/JPY
Is the euro rally hitting the buffers? In recent weeks since the ECB began to jawbone the euro lower, the Euro/Yen drive higher has fallen over at 127.05 to consolidate between 124.40/127.05. This consolidation has now broken a four month uptrend support and the bulls have lost control. With the deterioration in momentum indicators there is a real risk that this range could begin to turn corrective now. The support at 124.40 is key to this. The old key June high is now a key floor that is coming under growing pressure. A closing breach would complete a top pattern that would imply -265 pips of corrective move. More importantly, it would be the first breach of a key higher low since recovery began. The Stochastics rolling over again and RSI back under 50 is a concern for the bulls now and after yesterday’s decisive negative candle, the downside pressure is mounting. The hourly chart shows growing negative momentum near term, whilst initial resistance is at 125.25/125.75.
Are the cracks starting to show in the euro bull run? Positive candles have formed in recent sessions, but they have been relatively muted, and now yesterday’s negative candlestick (with a close towards the session low) shows EUR/USD starting to roll over again. This time, the resistance at 1.1915 (from last week’s post ECB spike high) has held. The four month uptrend rises at 1.1815 today but is under pressure. An uptrend breach does not necessarily mean a big sell-off, more immediately that the bulls have lost control. The lack of drive through momentum indicators reflects this, as Stochastics and MACD lines tail off again. This is all coming ahead of the FOMC meeting today and it could just be that the market is ranging within 1.1695/1.2010. The hourly chart shows 1.1810 as the initial support to watch to the downside, whilst 1.1915 is a barrier to gains. Closing either side of these levels will drive the next move.
Coming into the Fed meeting today, we see Cable once more at a key crossroads. Overhead resistance is a key barrier this morning. Initially the trendlines, with a confluence resistance of a two week downtrend and the underside of the old six month uptrend coming in around 1.2900/1.2930. Just overhead sits the key medium term overhead supply starting around 1.2980. There has been a notable improvement in the daily candlesticks in the past few sessions coming into the FOMC meeting, as the selling pressure on Cable has stabilised. However, given the breakdown of the six month uptrend, we see a far less positive medium term outlook now. A failure to recover back into the 1.30s will sustain what we see as a neutral outlook between 1.2650/1.3000. Expect elevated volatility today and how Cable sits when the dust settles will be key.