The Week Ahead: The Ghost of Market Selloffs Past

Foreign Exchange: The Week Ahead
The Ghost of Market Selloffs Past
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David Atkinson
David Atkinson
Foreign Exchange Sales Manager
Any ghouls and ghosts planning to haunt the fears and nightmares of adults this Halloween might as well pass up financial market participants. Nothing on Wednesday can match the shrieks and wails that many otherwise calm folks have been experiencing this October.
Octobers are often volatile for stocks. Whether these tremors start in equities or not, there is a well-worn path of how they play out in markets I have already gotten questions as to why the dollar strengthened last week even as we were seeing steep drops in equities. Why would anyone outside the U.S. want to sell their currency and buy dollars to invest in a plunging market?
The answer harks back, at least partially, to the risk-off behavior of U.S. corporations and investors desperate for liquidity in the credit crunch in the fall of 2008. In order to meet dollar liquidity back home, many companies and speculators had invested in riskier assets outside of the U.S. The rapid unwind of those positions boosted the dollar even as the U.S. stock market was falling.
Then there was the unwinding of carry trades pre-2008 where investors desperate for yields had borrowed funds in low interest rate economies and loaned them out in high interest economic environments. A popular one was borrowing in Japanese yen and loaning out those funds in Australian dollars. When the markets hit the skids that fall, everyone headed for the exits at the same time on these trades, meaning that folks had to sell Australian dollars and buy Japanese yen to unwind those trades. The yen has been a “safe haven” currency ever since.
Markets will still be on edge this week as we still have earnings releases and some key central bank meetings. The week will be capped off with non-farm payrolls on Friday. Good luck.


10/31 Bank of Japan Expectations for rates to remain unchanged at -0.10%
11/1 Bank of England Expectations for rates to remain unchanged at 0.75%


United States and Canada

10/31 ADP Employment Expectations for gains of 187K
11/2 Trade Balance Expectations for a deficit increase to -53.6
11/1 Initial jobless claims Expectations for claims to drop to 212K
11/2 Canadian payrolls Expectations for an increase of 12.5K
11/2 Non-farm payrolls Expectations for a gain of 193K


10/29 EZ Q3 GDP Expectations for a gain of 0.4%; YoY at 1.5%
10/30 EZ CPI Expectations for a gain of 0.6%, YoY at 2.3%
11/1 U.K. Markit PMI Expectations for a drop to 53

Asia/China, Japan, and Australia

10/30 China Mfg PMI Expectations for constant reading at 50
10/30 Japan Industrial Prod Expectations for a slight decline of 0.3%
10/30 Australia CPI Expectations for a YoY moderation to 1.9%



The EUR continues to be trapped in an endless rotation of bullish and bearish minicycles interspersed between periods of consolidation going back to May. Potential EC – Italian budget confrontations have provided near term concerns causing euro weakness and remain a volatile component for the markets. The ECB meeting next week could be important; otherwise, expect further consolidation and sideways trading for now.


The GBP too continues to mirror much of the movement of the euro colored strongly by news headlines related to the Brexit negotiations. The market seems to be pricing an eventual deal with the EC but PM May will have to face further hurdles in getting the Tory party and Parliament to sign off on any final Brexit negotiation. Expect further consolidation ahead.


The JPY remains difficult to forecast as the market shifts ground very quickly over a wide variety of variables. One week, rising U.S. interest rates causes JPY weakness followed immediately by U.S. equities collapsing sending the market into risk-off mode causing the JPY to strengthen. Expect more volatile times ahead.


The CAD continues to reflect the most recent news cycles and vacillates back and forth between periods of strength and weakness. Rising oil prices and the USMCA help to boost sentiment, but most recently, the CAD has been weakening due to weak Canadian economic data. The Bank of Canada raised interest rates by 25 bps as expected.


The CNY has stabilized but remains vulnerable to further weakness. U.S. – China trade negotiations are non-existent and tensions remain high as both sides remain extremely dug in. Continue to expect a steady to weaker CNH as this negotiation appears to be more than just a trade dispute but more about geopolitics and China’s place as a rival to the U.S.


The AUD remains weak and continues to be in a downtrend channel since January’s peak near $0.8100. There are ongoing concerns about weaker demand for Aussie commodity exports from a Chinese economy that is starting to feel the impact of tariffs has the market concerned. The Reserve Bank of Australia remains clearly on hold as uncertain times lie ahead. Expect a steady to weaker Aussie in the near term.
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