U.S Dollar Posts Biggest Gain in Weeks
On Friday the U.S. Dollar posted its biggest gain in weeks against a basket of currencies. The strong up move was triggered by a better than expected Non-Farm Payrolls Report which showed a decrease in the unemployment rate from 10.2% to 10%. The pace of job losses also declined and there was a revision to the better in October.
Traders bought the Dollar on the thought the Fed would begin reducing stimulus and raising interest rates sooner than previously estimated.
Technically, the move in the Dollar was only one week up, but it did lay the groundwork for a further rally next week by taking out last week’s high at 75.66. The weekly chart is the one to watch for the best change in trend indicator. At this time the main trend will turn up when this index crosses the November top at 77.50.
The short-term range is 77.50 to 74.27. The retracement zone of this range at 75.89 to 76.27 is near-term resistance. We’ve seen this move before twice previously over the past 6 months. In June the index rallied from 79.12 to 82.25 or 3.13 points. In August the index rallied 77.80 to 79.97 or 2.27. This means that the current rally has to exceed both 76.54 and 77.40 before overbalancing the previous rallies. Basically, the shorts have to sweat until 77.50 is taken out.
The EUR USD finished the week lower. The possibility of the Fed raising rates before the European Central Bank triggered the selling pressure in the Euro. The last high at 1.5144 has not been confirmed yet on the weekly chart. The main trend will turn down on the weekly chart when 1.4625 is violated. Earlier this week, the ECB voted to leave interest rates unchanged. It also announced the end to its stimulus packages. Additional selling pressure hit this market when ECB President Trichet said he wanted to see a stronger Dollar.
The GBP USD closed lower for the week. The current daily chart pattern suggests the formation of a secondary lower top at 1.6720. The short-term retracement area at 1.6495 to 1.6442 is providing some minor support. A trade through 1.6271 turns the main trend down. Next week the Bank of England meets to discuss monetary policy. Look for interest rates to remain unchanged while the BoE leaves its asset buyback program intact.
Today’s employment report signals the Fed may raise rates before the BoE.
The reversal of carry trade positions helped send the USD JPY sharply higher. The friendly employment numbers forced traders to buy U.S. Dollars to pay back borrowed funds and short borrowed Japanese Yen. Earlier in the week, the Bank of Japan helped put in the top in the Japanese Yen when it announced another stimulus plan. Talk of a possible intervention also pressured the Yen.
Last week’s closing price reversal in the USD CHF froze the market for most of this week. This bottom was triggered by an intervention by the Swiss National Bank. Today’s rally was a confirmation of that reversal bottom. The charts indicate that a breakout over 1.0222 is possible next week. The sharp break in gold also helped fuel the rally in the Dollar against the Swiss Franc.
It was a struggle most of the day, but the USD CAD managed to close higher for the day. A bullish Canadian employment report negated the good news from the U.S. government regarding its employment, but buying forces were able to overcome the selling pressure late in the trading session. Another bullish factor is the close above a key retracement zone at 1.0459 to 1.05375. Upside momentum could take this currency pair to 1.0730 – 1.0748 next week.
Weak demand for higher yielding currencies helped the AUD USD form another lower top at .9312. This was just under a previous top at .9322. The short term range is .8946 to .9312. The market is holding support at the retracement zone at .9133 to .9089. This pair will have to get through this zone to accelerate to the downside. Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced a 25 basis point rate hike to 3.75%, but helped limit gains by saying inflation was under control because of the recent rate increases. A hike in U.S. rates will tighten up the interest rate differential between the Dollar and the Aussie. This is likely to keep the downside pressure on this currency until investors have adjusted their long positions.
A possible adjustment in the interest rate differential also helped pressure the NZD USD today. The rally earlier in the week stopped inside of a retracement zone at .7272 to .7332 created by the main range of .7523 to .7022. This led to fresh selling pressure which drove this currency pair into another retracement zone at .7160 to .7128. There was a technical bounce off of this level on Friday, but expectations are with the main trend down for rallies to attract additional selling pressure next week.