FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BULLISH
1. Virus Situation
The successful vaccination program has allowed the UK to open up faster and sooner than peers & provides a favourable environment for GBP.
The BoE meeting on 5 August provided a flurry of comments with something for the doves and the hawks. The vote split was a tad more dovish with a 7-1 split with BoE’s Saunders to only dissenter, while the upgrades to growth and were positive but with similar comments of ‘transitory’ price pressures muting any real market impact . The reasons for the bank to remain patient right now in terms of policy normalization is the current uncertainty surrounding the virus and of course the bank waiting for the end of the furlough scheme to assess the impact on the labour market. That means, that the bank would arguably be in wait-and-see mode until at least October or November. The other change that was important to take note of was the reduction in the bank’s QT threshold from 1.5% to 0.5%, with the bank looking at a bank rate of 0.5% to stop reinvesting maturing assets and a rate of 1.0% to start selling assets and reducing the . Market participants are mixed about what this means for the bank as on the one end it’s positive since the bank has enough confidence to lower the even while rates are low, but on the other end it also means that rates can stay lower for much longer which is more negative. Arguably the most important comments to take away was their continued optimism about the economy despite the uncertainty as well as their comments that modest tightening will be required.
3. The country’s economic developments
Hopes of a fast economic recovery has seen the BOE and IMF upgrade GDP projections for the UK which has widened the growth differentials between other major economies by quite a bit. As the economy continues to rebound this should continue to be supportive for GBP as long as the data reflects that. Something to be mindful of is that a lot of these positives are arguably reflected in the price. Thus, if we start to see some disappointing data, that could mean that decent upside would be more difficult for Sterling to maintain.
4. Political Developments
Remember Brexit? Yeah, me neither, but this week the rhetoric between the two sides continued to go in the wrong direction with the UK side explaining to the EU that they are looking at all the options on the table (include article 16) if they can’t reach an agreement with the EU regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol. For now, Sterling has looked through all the rigmarole and should continue to do so as long as the cans are kicked down the road.
5. CFTC Analysis
Latest CFTC data for the GBP (updated until 17 August) showed a positioning change of -2419 with a net non-commercial position of +4651. The downside in the USD after the bad sentiment report wasn’t enough to see a further build in Sterling net-longs. Current levels for Sterling still look attractive for med-term buyers, especially with the positioning seeing quite a flush lower in the past few weeks. The miss in both retail sales and last week did see some additional pain on the Pound and in the week ahead Monday’s flash PMI will be important.
FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BEARISH
1. Safe-haven status and overall risk outlook
As a safe-haven currency, the market’s risk outlook is the primary driver of JPY. Economic data rarely proves market moving; and although expectations can prove highly market-moving in the short-term, safe-haven flows are typically the more dominant factor. The market’s overall risk tone has improved considerably following the pandemic with good news about successful vaccinations, and ongoing monetary and fiscal policy support paved the way for markets to expect a robust global economic recovery. Of course, there remains many uncertainties and many countries are continuing to fight virus waves, but as a whole the outlook has kept on improving over the past couple of months, which would expect safe-haven demand to diminish and result in a outlook for the JPY.
2. Low-yielding currency with inverse correlation to US10Y
As a low yielding currency, the JPY usually shares an inverse correlation to strong moves in yield differentials, more specifically in strong moves in US10Y . However, like most correlations, the strength of the inverse correlation between the JPY and US10Y is not perfect and will ebb and flow depending on the type of market environment from a risk and cycle point of view.
3. CFTC Analysis
Latest CFTC data for the JPY (updated until 17 August) showed a positioning change of -2551 with a net non-commercial position of -63208. The big net-short created some additional momentum to the upside for the JPY this week as risk sentiment soured and demand for safe havens rose. With positioning still the largest net-short among the majors we want to be very careful of the risks going into the Jackson Hole symposium next week. If the symposium doesn’t provide any hints of tapering though it could open up some opportunities in the battered currency pairs like NZDJPY and CADJPY etc.