Greek anti-austerity party Syriza won a decisive election victory and may hold a parliamentary majority. The stronger-than-expected result sent the euro a half cent lower in early Asia-Pacific trading. Japanese trade balance is due later and Australia is on holiday. The 2 AUDUSD Premium sh0rt trades from mid December have hit their final targets for 210 and 230 pips.
Syriza will win 149-151 seats in the 300 seat parliament, according to the Interior Ministry. It may take another 6-8 hours to see if they have achieved the 150 seat threshold but either way, they will have a strong mandate based on rejecting bailouts and austerity.
In his victory speech, Syriza leader Alex Tsipras didn't soften his rhetoric and he said the Troika era is over. The euro was down 48 pips to 1.1156 in early trading and EUR/JPY down 82 pips to 131.12.
Even if Syriza is able to form a slim majority, they may look to form a coalition to strengthen their hold on power. The most-likely partner appears to be the Communists and they openly favor a Eurozone exit. Headline risk in the remainder of the week will be paramount as the balance of power is decided.
Other key weekend news included a renewal of aggression in Ukraine with pro-Russia forces launching an assault on the key port of Mariupol in the deadliest move in months.
At the ECB, the Bundesbank remained defiant with Weidmann saying he has doubts QE will be effective. Overall, however, his comments didn't signal open hostility and that's slightly dovish for the euro because it shows the Germans aren't willing to risk any kind of scorched earth policy to avoid QE.
Looking ahead, Japanese trade balance is due at 2350 GMT and expected to show a healthy 11.2% y/y rise in exports and a 2.0% rise in imports. The minutes of the Dec 19 BOJ meeting are also due.
|Merchandise Trade Balance Total (DEC)|
|¥-660.7B||¥-740.3B||¥-891.9B||Jan 25 23:50|
|Adjusted Merchandise Trade Balance (DEC)|
|¥-712.067B||¥-925.010||Jan 25 23:50|
|Merchandise Trade Exports (DEC) (y/y)|
|12.9%||11.2%||4.9%||Jan 25 23:50|
|Imports (DEC) (y/y)|
|1.9%||2.3%||-1.7%||Jan 25 23:50|
The ECB unleashed a 1.14 trillion euro QE package to exceed market expectations. The euro was the laggard on the day as it suffered its sixth-worst loss on record but it wasn't the only currency to suffer as the US dollar ripped higher. The China HSBC PMI is next amidst reports the PBOC could ease further if January data is soft.
Draghi pledged 60 billion euros in asset purchases until at least Sept 2016. Leaks a day earlier suggested 50 billion a month with an end date of either December or Dec 2016. The ECB also lowered the borrowing rate on TLTROs.
The euro initially fell a full cent to 1.1510 but recovered most of the losses when Draghi revealed asset purchases would be made by the national central banks. But the rebound didn't last long and it was a straight shot lower from there to as low as 1.1315.
The pain wasn't restricted to euro bulls as cable fell more than 2 cents and broke 1.5000. The Australian dollar fell below 0.8000 and USD/JPY touched above 1.2400. Early in US trading, USD/JPY was under pressure and fell to 117.75 but it quickly turned around and is nearly a cent higher.
Some of the technical levels taken out Thursday were key long-term barriers and it seems as if the US dollar rally is gathering momentum. When the euro didn't slide on the euro leaks yesterday, the idea of a sell-the-fact sort of market reaction entered the discussion but it was anything but.
Technically, the Australian dollar break of 0.80 may be particularly notable because it also represented the 2010 low and talk of rate cuts is spreading.
There are also short-term risks with HSBC set to deliver its January preliminary manufacturing PMI at 0145 GMT. The consensus is 49.5 and the prior was 49.6. The China Securities Journal reports today that the PBOC may ease liquidity further if data disappoints in January so a soft reading may turn out to be a blessing for the Aussie but not right away.
|Markit Manufacturing PMI (JAN) [P]|
|54.0||53.9||Jan 23 14:45|
|49.8||49.5||49.6||Jan 23 1:45|
|Eurozone Markit PMI Composite (JAN) [P]|
|51.8||51.4||Jan 23 9:00|
|Eurozone Markit PMI Manufacturing (JAN) [P]|
|51.0||50.6||Jan 23 9:00|
|Eurozone Markit Services PMI (JAN) [P]|
|52.0||51.6||Jan 23 9:00|
The ECB finally announced the much anticipated the outright monetary transactions (OMT), involving the purchase of €1.1 trillion in private and public debt at the rate of €60 bn per month starting in March into September 2016. Full chart & analysis
If the warm-up is any indication then the ECB main event will be epic. The Canadian dollar had its worst day since 2011 after a surprise BOC cut and the Swiss franc continues to rally following the SNB. The market is eyeing the RBA as well with inflation expectations data due next. The 2 Premium shorts in CADJPY hit both targets for a total of 490 pips, while 1 of 2 GBPNZD shorts hit the final for +290 pips--the other trade was stoppped out. 1 of the 2 EURCAD longs issued minutes before the BoC decision pocketed +200 pips, while other trade missed the fill. Attached a is snapshot of the SMS on going long EURCAD 30 mins before the BoC decision.
Starting with the BOJ on Oct 31, nearly every major central bank has delivered some kind of surprise. Nothing will top the SNB but the Bank of Canada rocked markets Wednesday with a surprise rate cut. No economist was predicting a cut although Ashraf mulled the possibility on twitter shortly before the decision and has been a noted CAD bear.
The loonie instantaneously fell 200 pips, pushing USD/CAD up to 1.2270 on the headlines. It would continue all the way to 1.2394 before paring back. In the press conference and statement, Poloz didn't offer any clear forward guidance but left the door open to more cuts by saying they have the “ability to take out more insurance” against risks. Oil is clearly the chief risk as it was mentioned 10 times in the statement.
The BOC forecasts assume WTI at $60 and with prices at $47.46, oil might not even need to fall further to inspire another cut. Technically, USD/CAD has very little in the way of resistance to 1.30.
In Europe, a preview of the ECB volatility came after a trio of leaks suggested the Executive Board proposed 50 billion euros in monthly QE. All the reports suggested it will run at least from March until year-end but BBG sources said through 2016, which would bring the tally to 1.1 trillion euros – much more than markets were expecting.
Yet the euro was a confused mess after the reports and squeezed up to 1.1680 before falling back to 1.1570. Traders should be very aware that no matter what the headlines on Thursday, the positioning risks are extreme and market moves may not be driven by fundamentals until the dust settles.
A signal of how touchy markets have grown is Australia. RBA rate cut implied probabilities rose to 36% from 21% directly after the BOC. AUD/USD also dropped 140 pips. It goes without saying that they're separate central banks but nerves are frayed. They may be even more frazzled if Jan Australian consumer inflation expectations fall at 0000 GMT. The prior reading was 3.4%.
|Consumer Inflation Expectation (JAN)|
|3.4%||Jan 22 0:00|
|Eurozone ECB Monetary policy statement and press conference|
|Jan 22 13:30|
Today's onslaught of dovish surprises from the world's major central banks is a stark reminder of deflation realities creeping into policymakers' priorities, regardless of multi-year lows in unemployment rates in the US, Canada and the UK. Our Premium trades issued a long EURCAD and added to CADJPY shorts. Full charts & analysis.