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USD JPY Tumbles as Return of Risk Aversion Rocks the Markets

James Hyerczyk from ForexHound.com at 01/22/10


The USD JPY reversed its four day rally as traders sought safety in lower yielding assets following an announcement by President Obama to curb trading at financial institutions. The immediate reaction was to sell higher risk assets after Obama called for a reduction in the size and trading activities of financial institutions. The downside reversal in the USD JPY sets up a test of a major 50% price at 89.30.


The U.S. Dollar traded mixed against most major currencies as profit-taking and volatility dominated the trade. Earlier in the session, the U.S. Dollar surged as traders took protection against a shift in China’s expansionary monetary policy.


The overnight announcement, that China’s economic growth and inflation figures exceeded expectations fueled speculation that it was poised to begin restricting loans and ending stimulus.  Fear that the economy may overheat triggered demand for lower yielding assets at the expense of higher risk stocks and commodities.


Throughout the New York session, aggressive buyers backed away from chasing the Dollar higher, leading to a profit-taking break. Overbought conditions and intraday turnarounds in the Euro and Yen were the primary causes behind the Dollar’s weakness.


The EUR USD weakened further during the New York session, but losses were limited by a persistent rumor which said the European Union was preparing to loan money to Greece to shore up its budget deficit.  The rumor was denied, but investors, nonetheless, took protection against a possible massive short-covering rally by lightening up positions.


The chart pattern suggests the EUR USD held the psychological level of 1.4000; however, 1.3800 remains the next valid downside target.  Short-covering could send this market back to the old bottom at 1.4217.


The GBP USD weakened further on the news that the U.K. budget deficit widened.  A lack of confidence in the economy could also be a driving force behind the recent weakness as investors fear that the U.K. may be falling behind its peers in the midst of the economic recovery.  The British Pound closed off its low but still finished down after testing a series of retracement levels between 1.6144 and 1.6108.


The USD CHF weakened at midday but managed to finish higher for the session and avoided a potentially bearish closing price reversal top. This market soared overnight but backed off as it approached the December high at 1.0507. A failure to hold an uptrending Gann angle at 1.0450 triggered profit-taking stops at the mid-session, but a late session short-covering rally helped regain this level.


Technical factors tried to pressure the USD CAD as it approached a 50% level at 1.0484, but these forces were not able to keep this pair down into the close, setting up the likelihood of a further rally to 1.0546.


Fundamentally, the recent action by the Bank of Canada suggests that it will defend against a rapid rise in the currency.  This creates a potentially long-term bullish scenario. Short-term conditions are overbought, which may trigger a mild correction.


The AUD USD finished near its low as investors continued to punish higher yielding currencies. This pair traded slightly better this morning before falling as traders began to factor in China’s recent tightening action and Obama’s proposal. This market failed to hold a 50% level at .9031 and is now poised to trade down to a .618 level at .8961.


The recent actions by China to tighten up its lending policies could have long-term implications on the Australian economy.  The formation of a secondary lower top will be a strong sign that a top has been formed.  The next Reserve Bank of Australia meeting is February 2nd.  Traders are leaning toward another rate hike, but have cut down the probability of the hike now that China has begun tightening.


The NZD USD continued to weaken following a break in U.S. stock markets. Demand for higher risk assets fell throughout the day, leading to the liquidation in the Kiwi.  Key Fib support at .7150 was violated which could trigger further weakness to .7075 over the near-term.

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