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*USD retreated after Powell testimony, first drop in three days
*US equities closed largely higher, US bond yields fell
*Crude oil dropped more than 2% on compromise Saudi-UAE deal
*Gold boosted by falling real yields, Powell assurances
USD failed to keep its upward momentum going finding resistance at previous highs around 92.84 on DXY. Chair Powell said that the economy was still a “ways off” from levels the central bank wanted to see before tapering its monetary support. EUR is trading above 1.18 again with decent near-term support now around this week’s lows at 1.1772. AUD is little changed after a strong jobs report overnight with the unemployment rate at its lowest since December 2010 (4.9% v 5.1% expected). Employment is now more than 1% above its pre-Covid level.
US equities closed mixed after Powell soothed market nerves about any imminent withdrawal of stimulus. The S&P500 ended marginally higher while the Nasdaq closed 0.2% lower. Asia trading is mixed too with Japan lower and weighed down by another surge in Covid-19 cases. China Q2 GDP y/y came in a tick lower than expected at 7.9% with the q/q figure a tick higher at 1.3%.
Market Thoughts – Powell not budging
By staying on message about the transitory nature of inflation and that the US economy is a “ways off” the Fed’s benchmark of “substantial further progress” towards reaching its employment goal, markets breathed a sigh of relief yesterday. The dollar and US Treasury yields fell after US Fed Chair’s testimony and even as the producer price index from June showed higher than expected inflation, which followed the biggest increase in the consumer price index (CPI) since 2008 that was released on Tuesday.
Jobs are a key element of the Fed remaining ultra easy and the US still remains well below pre-pandemic levels. But the market is obsessed with tapering and is getting increasingly baffled by the lack of any urgency in taper chat, which is no more elevated than it was at the mid-June FOMC meeting, even with more bumper data. There seems little reason to continue with some of its emergency bond buying, but we await advance notice for changes with the Jackson Hole conference in late August most likely the next staging point.
Chart of the Day – Gold likes Powell’s intransigence
Gold prices reacted favourably to Jay Powell’s testimony and broke to the upside yesterday.With the central bank continuing with its accommodative monetary policy depsite a spike in inflation readings, the dollar sold off along with real bond yields, making the precious metal more attractive.
Prices had been trading around the 21-day SMA after bouncing off lows at $1750 in late June. Gold bugs are moving again this morning and trying to push past the 200-day SMA at $1825. Bullish momentum is certianly strong so if we can hold above here, especially on a weekly close, the $1850-$1900 zone comes into play. This would reverse the entire downside in the wake of the June Fed meeting. Otherwise, we drop back into the range around $1800.
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