Good German confidence and 'woeful' US data pushes around the majors, but the NZD comes through relatively unscathed

Good German confidence and 'woeful' US data pushes around the majors, but the NZD comes through relatively unscathed

By Raiko Shareef

The majors have had a very mixed performance against the USD overnight.

Given the mix of incoming data, EUR and its compatriots sit pretty at the top of the leader-board. NZD and AUD sit at the bottom of the rankings, along with the emerging-market cast of carry trade favourites.

Germany’s IFO survey pleasantly surprised, with the swing higher in the headline index driven by optimism about future conditions. This is likely to keep German on track for a solid Q1 growth result of around 1.5% y/y.

On the other, the US durable goods report was woeful. The core (ex-aircraft) measure fell by 0.4% m/m, the fifth consecutive month of contraction. In each one of those months, the consensus had expected gains.

The business investment numbers were worse, falling 1.4% m/m against expectations of a 0.3% gain. This will have analysts downgrading their expectations of US Q1 GDP further.

That poor report provided the impetus for major currencies to hit their overnight highs against the USD.

EUR/USD made a couple of attempts to find a foothold above 1.10, but has settled back down at 1.0970. Short-term investors appear to readying for a sustained push higher.

But we would warn that the lack of clear resolution on Greece’s imminent cash crunch could instigate a sharp downward correction. Greece is set to run out of cash in early- to mid-April, by most estimates. 

NZD/USD took a look at 0.7700 after the US data, but that was only a brief respite in a session where it has traded very heavily. It tested support at 0.7600 twice overnight, before finally slipping below this morning.

Fonterra’s affirmation of a $4.70kg/MS had little influence on NZD (despite a lowered dividend payout). We also wouldn’t blame the smaller-than-expected monthly trade surplus for NZD’s heaviness.

We think it is more a combination of higher US bond yields and higher volatility that has dragged NZD lower, along with the usual carry trade suspects. It seems unlikely that the move higher in bond yields and volatility will extend significantly in the near-term. As such, we expect NZD/USD to find some support.

Tonight’s data calendar is exceptionally light. The focus should turn to Fed Chair Yellen’s speech in the early hours of Saturday morning, entitled “The New Normal for Monetary Policy”.

 


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