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Old 24-09-2023, 10:45
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Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for September 25 - 29, 2023

EUR/USD: Verbal Interventions by the Federal Reserve Support the Dollar

In previous reviews, we extensively discussed the verbal interventions made by Japanese officials who aim to bolster the yen through their public statements. This time, similar actions have been taken by FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) officials, led by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell. At their meeting on September 20th, the FOMC decided to maintain the interest rate at 5.50%. This was largely expected, as futures markets had indicated a 99% probability of such an outcome. However, in the subsequent press conference, Mr. Powell indicated that the battle against inflation is far from over, and that the 2.0% target may not be achieved until 2026. Therefore, another rate hike of 25 basis points is very much in the cards. According to the Fed Chairman, there is no recession on the horizon, and the U.S. economy is sufficiently robust to sustain such high borrowing costs for an extended period. Furthermore, it was revealed that 12 out of 19 FOMC members anticipate a rate hike to 5.75% within this year. According to the Committee's economic forecast, this rate level is expected to persist for quite some time. Specifically, the updated forecast suggests that the rate could only be lowered to 5.1% a year from now (as opposed to the previously stated 4.6%), and a decrease to 3.9% is expected in a two-year outlook (revised from 3.4%).

Market participants have mixed beliefs about these prospects, but the fact remains that the hawkish assertions from officials have bolstered the dollar, despite the absence of tangible actions. It's possible that the Federal Reserve has learned from the mistakes of their European Central Bank (ECB) counterparts, who have led market players to believe that the monetary tightening cycle in the Eurozone has concluded. As a reminder, ECB President Christine Lagarde made it clear that she considers the current interest rate level to be acceptable, while the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, stated that, in his opinion, interest rates have peaked, and the next move will likely be a reduction. A similar sentiment: that the September act of monetary tightening was the last, was also expressed by Stournaras's colleague, Boris Vujčić, the Governor of the National Bank of Croatia.

As a result of the Federal Reserve's verbal intervention, the Dollar Index (DXY) soared from 104.35 to 105.37 within just a few hours, while EUR/USD declined to a level of 1.0616. Economists at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) believe that, given the Fed's decision to retain flexibility concerning another rate hike, it is not advisable to anticipate a dovish turn in the foreseeable future.

Danske Bank strategists opine that "the Fed was as hawkish as it could be without actually raising rates." However, they contend that "despite the ongoing strengthening of the dollar, there may be some upside potential for EUR/USD in the near term." Danske Bank further states, "We believe that peak rates, improvements in the manufacturing sector compared to the service sector, and/or a reduction in pessimism towards China could support EUR/USD over the next month. However, in the longer term, we maintain our strategic position favouring a decline in EUR/USD, expecting a breakthrough below 1.0300 within the next 12 months."

Data on U.S. business activity released on Friday, September 22, presented a mixed picture. The Manufacturing PMI index rose to 48.9, while the Services PMI declined to 50.2. Consequently, the Composite PMI remained above the 50.0 threshold but showed a slight dip, moving from 50.2 to 50.1.

Following the PMI release, EUR/USD concluded the week at 1.0645. Seventy percent of experts favoured further strengthening of the dollar, while 30% voted for an uptrend in the currency pair. In terms of technical analysis, not much has changed over the nearly completed week. All trend indicators and oscillators on the D1 timeframe are still unanimously supporting the American currency and are coloured red. However, 15% of them are signalling the pair's oversold condition. The nearest support levels for the pair lie in the 1.0620-1.0630 range, followed by 1.0490-1.0525, 1.0370, and 1.0255. Resistance levels will be encountered in the 1.0670-1.0700 zone, then at 1.0745-1.0770, 1.0800, 1.0865, 1.0895-1.0925, 1.0985, and 1.1045.

As for the upcoming week's events, Tuesday, September 26 will see the release of U.S. real estate market data, followed by durable goods orders in the U.S. on Wednesday. Thursday, September 28 promises to be a busy day. Preliminary inflation (CPI) data from Germany as well as U.S. GDP figures for Q2 will be disclosed. Additionally, the customary U.S. labour market statistics will be released, and the day will conclude with remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. On Friday, we can also expect a slew of significant macroeconomic data, including the Eurozone's preliminary Consumer Price Index (CPI) and information regarding personal consumption in the United States.

GBP/USD: BoE Withdraws Support for the Pound

The financial world doesn't revolve around the Federal Reserve's decisions alone. Last week, the Bank of England (BoE) also made its voice heard. On Thursday, September 21, the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee left the interest rate for the pound unchanged at 5.25%. While a similar decision by the Federal Reserve was expected, the BoE's move came as a surprise to market participants. They had anticipated a 25 basis point increase, which did not materialize. As a result, the strengthening dollar and weakening pound drove GBP/USD down to 1.2230.

The BoE's decision was likely influenced by encouraging inflation data for the United Kingdom published the day before. The annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) actually declined to 6.7%, compared to the previous 6.8% and a forecast of 7.1%. The core CPI also fell from 6.9% to 6.2%, against a forecast of 6.8%. Given such data, the decision to pause and not burden an already struggling economy appears reasonable. This rationale is further supported by the United Kingdom's preliminary Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for September, which hit a 32-month low at 47.2, compared to 49.5 in August and a forecast of 49.2. The Manufacturing PMI was also reported at 44.2, significantly below the critical level of 50.0.

According to economists at S&P Global Market Intelligence, these "disheartening PMI results suggest that a recession in the United Kingdom is becoming increasingly likely. [...] The sharp decline in production volumes indicated by the PMI data corresponds to a GDP contraction of more than 0.4% on a quarterly basis, and the broad-based downturn is gaining momentum with no immediate prospects for improvement.".

Analysts at one of the largest banks in the United States, Wells Fargo, believe that the BoE's decision signals a loss of rate-based support for the British pound. According to their forecast, the current rate of 5.25% will mark the peak of the cycle, followed by a gradual decline to 3.25% by the end of 2024. Consequently, they argue that "in this context, a movement of the pound to 1.2000 or lower is not out of the question."

Their counterparts at Scotiabank share a similar sentiment. New lows and strong bearish signals on the oscillator for short-term, medium-term, and long-term trends indicate an elevated risk of the pound dropping to 1.2100-1.2200.

Economists at Germany's Commerzbank do not rule out the possibility of a slight recovery for the pound if inflation outlooks significantly improve. They believe that the Bank of England has left the door open for another rate hike. The vote for maintaining the current rate was surprisingly close at 5:4, meaning four members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted in favour of a 25 basis point increase. This underscores the high level of uncertainty. Nevertheless, due to the weakness in the UK economy, the outlook for the pound remains bearish.

GBP/USD closed the past week at 1.2237. Analyst opinions on the pair's immediate future are evenly split: 50% expect further downward movement, while the other 50% anticipate a correction to the upside. All trend indicators and oscillators on the D1 chart are coloured in red; moreover, 40% of these oscillators are in the oversold zone, which is a strong signal for a potential trend reversal.

If the pair continues its downward trajectory, it will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2190-1.2210, 1.2085, 1.1960, and 1.1800. On the other hand, if the pair rises, it will face resistance at 1.2325, 1.2440-1.2450, 1.2510, 1.2550-1.2575, 1.2600-1.2615, 1.2690-1.2710, 1.2760, and 1.2800-1.2815.

In terms of economic events impacting the United Kingdom for the upcoming week, the highlight will be the release of the country's GDP data for Q2, scheduled for Friday, September 29.

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