Market Update – January 19 – USD & Yen Slide


The Dollar and Yen have come under pressure today after rallying yesterday. A bullish sentiment in global stock markets has boosted other currencies, particularly the dollar bloc and other cyclical units. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index rose over 1.5% and clocked a new record high, buoyed in the wake of strong GDP and production data out of China yesterday. Europe’s Stoxx 600 fared less well, and was showing a modest 0.2% gain as of the late London morning session. US Index futures were up by over 0.5%. Commodities, in contrast, were lacklustre. Oil prices lifted moderately, rising above Monday’s highs, but remained off the 11-month highs that were pegged last week. Base metal prices were mixed.

Biden administration

The USDIndex dropped below yesterday’s low to a nadir at S3 and 90.36. The index had yesterday printed a one-month high at 90.95. The dollar’s recent correlation with US Treasury yields broke, with the currency declining despite a concurrent 2 bp lift in the 10-year T-note yield to levels back above 1.10%. After rising on every trading day, except one, since January 6th, the Dollar had perhaps been looking ripe for a correction. Of interest, the latest Economist Big Mac index, which is a measure of 56 currency valuations according to the theory of purchasing power parity, shows the Dollar to be the fourth most overvalued currency, behind the Swiss franc, the Swedish krona, and the Norwegian krone. By this measure, the Euro is 9% undervalued relative to the Dollar, and the Pound 22% undervalued. This gives some insight into why the market has been so bearish of the Dollar in the beyond-Covid global reflation trade, which has the dominant macro investment thesis over the last couple of months.

Ahead today, Ex Fed chair Janet Yellen will testify before Congress for her nomination as Treasury Secretary, where she will reportedly call for the US to “act big” on stimulus. Regarding the Dollar, she is expected to argue for market-determined exchange rates. Given the Fed’s inflation tolerant, lower-for-longer rubric on interest rate policy, alongside prospects for sharp rises in the budget and trade deficits, US economic policy under the incoming Biden administration is sure to be accepting of, if not wanting, a weaker Dollar.


EURUSD – breached 1.2100 and trades north of R3 at 1.2144, Cable holds over 1.3600 having tested 1.3625 earlier, and USDJPY continues to rotate through 104.00.


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Stuart Cowell

Head Market Analyst

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