EUR/USD Drops as Slowing Growth and Elections Damp Demand
There’s mounting signs of sluggish global growth, and as a result we’re seeing a lot of these growth currencies suffer the biggest losses last week. If we continue to see political uncertainties in Europe linger, that’s something that could cap the euro’s upside. France and Greece hold elections today, spurring bets that efforts to resolve Europe’s debt crisis may falter. French voters cast ballots in the final round of the country’s presidential race, and Greeks will decide on a new parliament.
The implications of French and Greek elections for the region’s drive to impose fiscal austerity will be crucial, while March readings on industrial production in Spain, Germany, Italy and France will also highlight the challenges facing the region. Meanwhile, the disappointing 115,000 increase in U.S. non-farm payrolls in April reported on Friday has served to heighten fears the recovery in the world’s biggest economy is fading, and will put speculation about the Federal Reserve’s next move high on the agenda.
Speculative traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange doubled their bets on the continuation of the bullish trend of the UK pound, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
Traders increased their open long GBP position by 123% from a weak earlier to reach a net of $1.7 billion as of Tuesday, according to the CFTC’s weekly commitment of traders report. That bullish GBP sentiment is largely the outcome of the market’s expectation of the BoE policy stance in May. The market consensus sees no further QE in May from the MPC especially after the last MPC minutes showed that BoE policy maker Adam Posen dropped his call to extend QE. “It would be a bit odd to reverse that one month later,”says Simon Hyes, Chief UK Economist at Barclays.
Another major factor behind the recent GBP resilience was the report that the SNB had boosted its FX reserve dominated in GBP, from £7.4b to £14.5bn; that increased the GBP share of the bank’s gross FX reserve from 4.2% to 8.5%.
Traders also added heavily to their open long USD position as they increased their bets on the dollar rise by 33% from a week earlier to reach a net of $12.7 billion, according to the report.
CFTC’s data also showed that traders slightly decreased their open short euro position by 5 % from a week earlier to reach a net of $17.7 billion. They also decreased their short yen position by 9% to reach a net of $7.8 billion, the data showed.