USD - The dollar has consolidated within its recent ranges as stocks and commodities look to rebound after trading through one of the worst weeks of 2012. The USD does, however, remain towards the top of its recent broad ranges with investors still concerned over a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone, slowing global economic growth, and the brewing political battle over the US budget. As such, the US economy's general outperformance continues to support the dollar's safe?haven status. For the week ahead, investors will take note of Richmond Fed and existing home sales data on Tuesday. The middle of the week sees the release of new home sales and the house price index on Wednesday, and durable goods orders and weekly jobless claims both due on Thursday. The week closes out with U. of Michigan confidence on Friday. Readings are generally expected to be flat with a notable rebound expected in durable goods after last month's sizeable 4.2% contraction. Investors will look for signs of weakness in the economic recovery, but the effects of several disappointing data points are unlikely to be profound as the Fed appears to be generally more bullish on the economy than even the most optimistic economist with a projected growth range of 2.4% ? 2.9%. As such, further rounds of monetary easing appear unlikely, at least for the time being.
EUR - The euro is back to the middle of its ranges from last Friday, erasing early gains on signs that the region's debt and political crises are worsening. Fresh Greek political polls conducted over the weekend are mixed with some showing that the New Democracy party is leading while other show that Syrzia is ahead. Either way, both party is pro?bailout, and as such, the next round of elections slated for June 17th will be closely watched. Nevertheless, whatever the result may be, a Greek exit from the Eurozone appears increasingly inevitable. After reports of a spike in bank withdrawals late last week as Greek's anticipate an immediate depreciation in any currency replacing the euro, regional finance officials are mulling a plan to guarantee deposits throughout the currency bloc. Nevertheless, with debt yields again on the rise in Spain and Italy and with the Franco?German political/economic alliance greatly weakened with new leadership in France, the common currency remains vulnerable to further deprecations in the near term.
GBP - The pound has consolidated within its new lower ranges against the USD while remaining supported against the EUR. Investors continue to turn to the sterling as a relative safe alternative to its mainland European counterpart despite concerns of the hit British banks may absorb should Greece exit the EUR. BoE policymaker Michael Cohrs assured reporters this morning that banks are prepared in case of an exit and that their liquidity is strong and they have enough capital to withstand shocks from Greece. Investors pay particularly close attention to Tuesday's CPI report with an expected drop likely paving the way for further monetary policy easing. Also of note, retail sales and GDP data are both due later in the week.
JPY - The yen begins the week on the defensive as rising stocks and commodities boost risk appetite and as speculation mounts that the BoJ
will further ease monetary policy later this week. However, these expectations may be unwarranted after last week's surprising GDP report that showed the Japanese economy expanded at a 4.1% annualized pace in Q1. Moreover, after expanding its asset purchase program by 10T JPY at the end of last month, further easing may not be at hand. However, with the yen well supported below the key 80.0 handle against the USD, policymakers could look for ways to ease the pressure of a strong currency.
Commodity Currencies - The commoditylinked currencies are the best performing group so far this morning, but remain well entrenched towards the lower end of their annual ranges. Raw goods have posted a modest rally with oil gaining to $92/bbl, gold flat at $1590/oz, and copper rebounded to $350/lb. The CAD is relative flat this morning despite the higher price of oil, Canada's main export, as investors remain reticent to embrace riskier positions en masse. The AUD snapped a six?day slide amid speculation that the recent sell?off has been overdone, but it remains towards the bottom of its recent ranges on the growing concerns of a slowdown in the Chinese economy. A news report this morning cited several key Chinese consumers of coal and iron ore, Australia's two main exports to the mainland, as deferring orders and in some cases defaulting on their contracts all together. However, Chinese Premiere Jiabao told reporters over the weekend that he is putting stabilizing growth in a more important position, which could help underpin the Aussie in the coming months. The economic data slate is rather light for both the CAD and AUD this week with Canadian retail sales and Australian leading indicators the only releases of note.
MXN - The Mexican peso remains under pressure despite solid growth releases in the region as negative headlines from Europe's dampened risk appetite. Mexico posted positive growth figures for Q1, with q/q growth rising by 1.30% vs. the 1.0% expected. Annual GDP rose by 4.60%, above the 4.50% expected. On the downside, IGAE (Global Economic Indicator) increased by only 3.59% y/y for March, vs. the previous 6.24% and 4.00% expected. With little signs of risk?relief, the peso will likely remain weak in the near term.
RMB - The yuan pushed higher against the dollar following the euro's modest gains, fixing at 6.3279 up from 6.3284. The People's Bank of China (PBoC) continues to set a series of midpoints stronger than the yuan's trading level, as it looks to keep the exchange rate stable and trade within the new 1% daily trading range. Look for the yuan to trade between 6.29?6.33 as the currency has seen some depreciation due to the Eurozone crisis,
as well as, expectations of slower growth.