A lot of maybes are now swirling around in the air of the financial markets. Speculation is now rife that the Fed may spring a surprise interest rate cut as they are concerned about the widening spreads in the credit markets. Should that become true, the US dollar would be one of the first to take a hit, and that would be a setback to the currency's ongoing strong uptrend.
On Friday, weakness showed up in the dollar as traders took the opportunity to take profits of long USD positions against the Euro, Swiss franc and the British pound. However, its weekly performance is still a standout. This week the US dollar has finished higher again against its major rivals such as the Euro, Swiss franc, Australian dollar and New Zealand, but down versus the Japanese yen and British pound (a surprise).
Not a bad week considering that the financial markets have been bombarded non-stop by news about Lehman (LEH) - Lehman's impending doom, banks rejecting Lehman, banks showing some interest in Lehman, the US Treasury trying to hard-sell Lehman to other banks (like the Bank of America (BAC)) and so on.
Other bullets that the US dollar has had to dodge were disappointing economic reports from the US. Friday's release of US retail sales data wasn't as positive as the market had expected; sales fell 0.3% in August, worse than the 0.2% rise expected, and sales excluding autos dropped 0.7%, much more than a forecast 0.2% fall. However, a much-better-than-forecast consumer confidence survey (which rose to 73.1 versus 64.0 expected) has taken away some bitterness from the poor retail data.
Below you can see at a glance how the major currency pairs have fared over the week:
EUR/USD: 3rd week of decline
USD/CHF: 9th straight week of advance GBP/USD: 1st week of recovery in 8 weeks USD/JPY: 4th straight week of decline
NZD/USD: 3rd straight week of decline
AUD/USD: 8th straight week of decline
Tehnically, Euro has a high chance of rebounding versus the US dollar next week in forex trading. Nearest topside targets are 1.4230, 1.4280 and 1.4320-30. 1.3880 should serve as a safety net for the time being. The Euro is also being boosted by EU's Juncker's comments that Europe is not on the verge of a recession. And contrary to the latest European Commission report and economic data, he said Germany 's economic growth is quite robust and it is "far from" recession.
Next Tuesday, the Fed will announce its rate decision on the interest rates, and the greenback's near-term sentiment will hinge on that.
updated Aug 21, 2014
Grace Cheng is co-founder and editor in chief at GET.com, a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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