Currency pairs trade within tight ranges as the year draws to a close
The volume has certainly picked up as the Quad Witching expiries caused volatility to rise at the start of the US session. However, looking at the week’s closes for the London session, the currency markets have not really traded anywhere this week. Now that we have more of an idea of which central banks are doing and what for the next few months, we can probably start to position for the next trending move. My biggest bet would be on the EURUSD falling.
The forex heatmap remains risk-off with the main adjustment coming from traders moving out of the euro, though even the single currency is relatively stronger than the commodities today.
Investors remained concerned that new COVID-19 restrictions would have a negative impact on fuel demand today, causing crude futures to fall 2% between the London and US session.
The price action in Brent met solid support at the bottom of this week’s range with $72.50 once again acting like a decent level to trade-off. In response to the surge in Omicron variants in Britain, France imposed a travel ban on the United Kingdom, while New York City took measures to combat the new variant. Traders are also waiting for Baker Hughes to release the latest North American rig count later today. Total Rigs in the United States increased to 576 last week and the expectation is for the trend to continue higher.
U.S. stock markets continued their decline from yesterday, with both the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq losing more than 100 points as tech stocks continued to test lower. The Nasdaq traded around 15,750, which is 300 points below yesterday's level of interest held by the traders in London. Since it shares a similar set of stocks with the Nasdaq, the S&P500 can lead the Nasdaq higher or lower, and today the S&P500 found support at the daily 50 EMA, ready for a return to the upside as the markets settle down following the Quad Witching open.
President Joe Biden said last night Congress will not be able to pass his $1.75 trillion spending plan this year because the Senate isn't ready to approve it. As part of the ongoing discussions on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the federal government asked the Supreme Court to allow vaccine requirements for healthcare workers. Employees at several tech companies, including Google, have been told they risk losing their jobs if they refuse vaccinations.
Whether it is the anticipation of rate hikes to come from the Fed, sooner rather than later, or whether it is because $1.75 trillion won’t be added into the mix this year, the result has been for the US dollar to rise quite sharply against its peers. The ECB has been quite clear that they won’t be hiking any time soon and this is setting up for a short euro versus the US dollar and pound.
The gold bugs are joyful at the end of this week as the yellow metal rallies for the second consecutive day. The hope is that rising inflation, rising interest rates, and global disruptions due to the ongoing pandemic will make the traditional store of wealth the place to invest. Yesterday there were reports that Russia was looking to shift everything out of a crypto coin or token with the aim of banning them and moving into gold.