Markets Lackluster Before The End Of The World
According to Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, the end of the world is at drawing near. Today, 21 May, to be precise. That’s the date when Camping is confidently predicting the Second Coming of the Lord. At about 6pm, he reckons 2 per cent of the world’s population will be immediately “raptured” to Heaven; the rest of us will get sent straight to the Other Place.
If Mr Camping were speaking from any normal pulpit, it would be easy to dismiss him as just another religious eccentric wrongly calling the apocalypse. But thanks to this elderly man’s ubiquity, on America’s airwaves and billboards, his unlikely Doomsday message is almost impossible to ignore.
Against such somber and ominous prognostications, performance in most major asset markets this past week was notably lackluster and saw currencies essentially consolidate around recent lows following the sell-off in the first half of May.
A recap of the incoming data reports suggest increasing sluggishness in the major economies.
In the US, housing data weakened further, both the Philadelphia and Empire manufacturing indexes declined, industrial production flattened, and the index of leading indicators dropped for the first time in 10 months. In Europe, the ZEW outlook survey of investors and analysts declined more than expected for Germany and the Eurozone as a whole, and, the Bundesbank warned that German growth would likely moderate after the strong surge at the start of the year.
On Friday, investors in Europe and the US dashed for cover as yet another round of euro zone peripheral debt fears rattled the markets. Fitch’s three-notch sovereign downgrade of Greek debt has accompanied a raft of tough talk from ECB members weighing on sentiment. There was chatter that Finland may follow suit with similar independent aid programs. In the background are various reports that new provincial governments installed after the upcoming Spanish local elections could unearth billions of euros in hidden debt.
In a not un-related matter, on Wednesday, following accusations of attacking a housekeeper in his $3,000-a-night New York hotel suite, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director of the IMF. At the IMF, Strauss-Kahn played a key role in structuring and funding the bailouts of the eurozone’s peripheral economies.
Given the foregoing, it came as no surprise in Fridays trading session, the EUR/USD fell rapidly from around 1.4350 to nearly 1.4150.
Charts(s) of the Week
Armed with the hindsight of this week’s raft of (seemingly) bearish news for the EUR-USD, it is not difficult to explain its latter stage sell-off. However, to us the recent weakness in the EUR-USD was already “baked-in-the-cake”.
In our technical analysis of the EUR-USD (in last weeks newsletter), we noted this currency pair was in the process of tracing out a discernable Head-and-Shoulders price pattern. A Head-and-Shoulders pattern is a technical analysis term used to describe a chart formation believed to be one of the most reliable trend-reversal patterns.
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