FX Strategy Weekly by Lloyds TSB

Dollar weakness continues to characterise G10 fx markets as doubts over the US economy multiply and all-time lows for US yields boost the attractiveness of carry. With the Fed running out of policy options and evidence of macro economic decoupling in the G10 prevailing, we look for the AUD to remain a desirable G10 destination. Tactical view:

= Risk of snap back in GBP/USD and USD/JPY

= Long AUD positions outpace CAD

Dollar weakness continues to characterise G10 fx markets as doubts over the US economy multiply and all-time lows for US yields boost the attractiveness of carry. With the Fed running out of policy options and evidence of macro economic decoupling in the G10 prevailing, we look for the AUD to remain a desirable G10 destination. A test of 85.0 in USD/JPY now looks probable. Though next week will be dominated by the FOMC, all eyes in the UK will be on the latest BoE Inflation Report (QIR) on Wednesday. The QIR has proved a hurdle for GBP in the past and could again prove the proverbial ‘bridge too far’ that forces GBP/USD bulls to rein in their exuberance.

Special notes on GBP/USD and AUD/ZAR are included in this week’s publication.

Recap

• GBP/USD closed up 1.7% at 1.5962 and just fell short of 1.60. GBP lost 0.04% vs the EUR as EUR/USD (+1.7%) kept track of GBP/USD. GBP/CAD burst through the 1.64 level (1.65 target) after a shock 139,000 drop in Canadian employment in July. The MPC left Bank Rate on hold at 0.50% and the APF at £200bln, but suspense is set to stay elevated over the next two weeks and leaves GBP vulnerable to possible profit taking after a stellar run. Elsewhere, we note the gains for the JPY and the fall in USD/JPY blow 0.8550. A test of the Nov-09 low now looms, prompting possible intervention to weaken the yen.

• US payrolls dropped 131,000 in July, double the consensus estimate. Data for June was revised down to -221,000 from -125,000. The unemployment rate held unchanged at 9.5%. UK data highlights were the 4.3pt drop in the construction PMI in July, and smaller falls in the manufacturing (-0.2pts) and services (-1.3pts) PMIs. The three PMIs have now declined simultaneously for two consecutive months, pointing to a slower rate of expansion in Q3. The NIESR reported a rise in GDP of 0.9% in the three months to July vs 1.1% in June. The ECB left its interest rate on hold at 1.0% but reined in optimism over the economy and declared no recovery victory. Strong Q2 GDP data are expected from Germany next week.

• Backed by bullish seasonals and weaker macro data, gilts logged an impressive week with yields dropping markedly across the curve, but with the long end outperforming. 10y yields descended below 3.25% to a 3.23% close. Support for a further decline towards 3% could be on the cards. 5y swaps dropped 7bp to 2.35% and the 10y closed 11bp down at 3.27%, causing the 2y/10y spread to flatten below 190bp. The 2y/10y gilts spread tightened below 250bp and closed the week at 245bp. The 3mth Libor/Ois spread held steady at 25bp. The 10y swap spread was also unchanged at 5bp. The 5y gilt auction drew solid demand and was covered 1.99 times (0.7bp tail).

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