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The Weekly Close Out

Luke Suddards
Research Strategist
Dec 3, 2021
Another volatile week for markets with the shift from the Fed and omicron headline news flow. Let's take a look at then dynamics below.

Omicron:

In today’s weekly I’ll be dedicating some digital ink for the latest information on the new variant omicron. Ok so what are the major points of importance. New admissions to hospitals in Gauteng increased by 144% last week (hospitalisations lag cases by around 1-3 weeks). So far the early data shows the majority of these hospitalisations are from the unvaccinated (if that trend remains that’s positive). However, a recent study released from South Africa indicates reinfection risk is 3 times higher than previous variants. In terms of the deadliness of this variant, the early data looks good with Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly stating that of the 300 cases recorded worldwide all were very mild or had no symptoms at all. However, the sample size is too small so we can’t draw solid conclusions at this stage. The major vaccine makers have offered timelines of two to six weeks for assessing the vaccine escape properties of omicron via in-vitro lab tests. Interestingly, Moderna is less optimistic than Pfizer about expecting current vaccines needing to be tweaked to fend off the omicron variant. Volatility will remain high as the market remains on tenterhooks as new information drips through.

Dollar Index (DXY):

The greenback is flat on the week, with many quite perplexed by the lack of gains (particularly against the euro) given the hawkish Fed pivot and risk sentiment remaining on edge. The dollar coming in flat is a combination of gains against high-beta cyclical companies offset by losses against traditional safe haven currencies. Just take a look at the charts of USDJPY and AUDUSD. In terms of the euro, I’ll chat more about that below in the EURUSD paragraph. The big domestic news for the dollar this week was Jerome Powell’s hawkish rhetoric. The word transitory is to be retired as he admits the threat of persistently higher inflation has grown. On the QE purchases side of things, he remains open to it being wrapped up earlier than originally expected with a discussion on a faster pace taking place in 2 weeks at their December meeting. He elucidated his thoughts on the employment side of their mandate, stating that a great labour market requires a protracted expansion and in order to achieve this price stability has to occur. I see this as inflation now taking primacy over employment goals, indicating a shift in the Fed’s thinking with regards to inflationary pressures. The hawkish commentary from FOMC members this week such as Daly, Quarles, Barkin and Bostic would certainly suggest this is the case. STIRs are showing rate lift-off for practically June 2022 (96%) and over 2.5 hikes through December 2022.

All attention now falls to the Non-Farm Payrolls number out today. The preliminary indicator such as ISM manufacturing index, ADP and jobless claims all pointing towards decent numbers from the jobs report today disappointed as NFP numbers missed expectations by a significant amount. Price moves have been muted as traders may be reluctant to place any fresh positions on and chase with the risk of adverse news over the weekend regarding omicron. Bottom line - traders should expect cross-asset volatility to remain higher over December. Next week we’ll receive November US inflation data, which is expected to remain elevated.

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)

DXY has regained the upper trend line of its ascending channel, putting some distance between price and its moving averages. The 21-day EMA continues to provide some dynamic support to price dips. The RSI has held above the key 55 level of support. Targets wise keep an eye out on the 96.5 on the upside and to the downside the 21-day EMA and former support around 95.5.

EURUSD:

So why did EURUSD strengthen on the market sell-off due to omicron on Friday and has remained fairly defensive throughout this week? It’s certainly not because the euro is a safe-haven currency in times of risk aversion. This price action has more to do with its use as a funding currency. Traders borrow euros to search for higher yield globally which is a decent strategy when risk conditions are favourable, however, when that risk dial flips in other direction we see the typical carry trade unwind, leading to flows back into the euro. Additionally, because expectations for rate hikes with regards to the eurozone are already significantly low, it’s at much less risk of a dovish repricing working favourably in terms of spread differentials with the dollar.

Political pressure is rising on the ECB to act, particularly from Germany. A Reuters article out mid-week pointed towards some members wanting to rather hold off declaring their asset purchase intentions at this December meeting due to uncertainty caused by omicron. However, the ECB's Muller stated that he doesn’t think omicron is a reason to shift the scheduled end date for PEPP. Following this line of thought just today Madame Lagarde expressed that she feels certain that PEPP will cease in March as planned, saying markets require clarity in December. On the data front we had better than expected inflation prints from Germany (5.2% YoY) and the eurozone (4.9% YoY). It’s quiet in terms of economic data next week with the ZEW survey out as we lead up to a crucial ECB meeting in two weeks.

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)

EURUSD is drifting lower from its 21-day EMA. The RSI has stalled around the 40 level. Looking at the technicals clearly EURUSD is in a downtrend. Rallies in my opinion should be short lived with sellers coming in. Key levels to monitor in both directions are 1.135 (21-day EMA) and on the downside 1.12.

GBPUSD:

With a vacuum of economic data for the UK, the words of central bankers took centre stage. Bailey didn’t provide much meat at his speech this Wednesday. However, Saunders (leans hawkish) who spoke today has caused a repricing lower in the probability of a 15bps rate hike come December (only an additional 4bps now from around 8bps pre-speech). He expressed the need for potentially taking a patient approach with the uncertainty from omicron. Cable is lower as a result. On the virus front, the UK regulator has given the green light for booster doses to be offered to all adults. Additionally, the government has signed a contract for 114 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna, including access to modified vaccines if they're needed to tackle omicron and other future variants of concern. On the political front, domestically the Tories held the seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup, however, with a reduced majority. On Brexit, it’s been quiet of late with some optimism around the granting of additional fish licences to French fisherman in Guernsey, Jersey is the more important zone though prone to flare ups in tension. However, temperatures remain high between France and the UK on issues related to immigration. Next week sees UK October GDP data released.

EURGBP has been moving higher on the back of dovish commentary (given he’s a hawk) from Saunders as well as benefiting from any souring in risk-sentiment. The 200-day SMA isn’t far aware, which has previously capped price gains.

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)

Cable continues to -plumb fresh YTD lows and is now nearing 1.32. The RSI is near to oversold territory but with some room remaining to eke out further losses. Moving averages are all pointing downwards. Targets wise, on the upside the 1.335 and above there former support around 1.34 (21-day EMA too).

USDJPY:

This pair continues to trade on US 10-year yield moves and now it’s status as a safe-haven currency has kicked back in. Early Friday morning has seen a bid coming in, which could be some pre NFP positioning on expectations of a move higher in the back end of the US yield curve. Put EURJPY on your radar, price is at a key support level around 128. USDJPY is finding support around its 50-day SMA, 113 round number and the 38.2% Fibonacci level. Price is trying to overcome resistance from the 50-day SMA. The former range support is providing some resistance around 113.5. The RSI is trying to get back into its range support around 46. Targets wise on the upside, 114 will be important and on the downside 112.5 (this week's lows).

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)

Gold:

Gold has slipped below the $1775 support level as the hawkish fed leads to higher short term rates, kryptonite for the shiny yellow metal. Fears over inflation have failed to help gold stay propped up as well as risk-off fears from omicron. Inflation data out from the US next week will be a risk event for gold traders as well as the Fed meeting the following week. Today’s NFP hasn’t ignited much excitement in gold markets.

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)


Gold is trying to reclaim the $1775 support level. The 50-day SMA has made a very minor cross above the 200-day SMA. The 21-day EMA has been capping further gains. The RSI is in no man's land around 38. Targets wise, if $1775 is cleared then $1800 opens up (moving averages just below there). On the downside, $1750 comes into view.

Oil:

Crude fell sharply into a bear market this week as risk-off, Fed tightening, fears over further lockdowns and travel bans from the new omicron variant led to a repricing on the demand side of the equation. OPEC+ the main event for crude traders this week, decided to stick to their scheduled 400k bpd for January, but caveated this with the meeting remaining in “session”, meaning changes to the supply side could be made before their 4 January meeting if omicron causes a further deterioration. This led to yo-yo style price behaviour. Until there is more clarity regarding omicron, I expect oil’s price to remain choppy without a solid price trend. Backwardation spreads have narrowed, indicating a more balanced supply and demand equation. Iranian Nuclear Negotiations began the week positively, but sentiment turned pessimistic towards the end of this week, providing further short-term bullish tailwinds to crude’s price. JPM has some very bullish forecasts with the bank expecting crude to hit $150 by 2023.

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(Source: TradingView - Past performance is not indicative of future performance.)

Oil is having a run at its 200-day SMA. The RSI has moved out of overbought territory and is a fair distance below its 50-day SMA (some mean reversion). Right now price will remain choppy within a range as omicron news flow prevents a trend from forming. Targets wise, on the upside the 200-day SMA and $73.50 dollar mark will be key. On the downside $68 support is important.

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