Eurozone debt crisis dominated headlines last week and the highly anticipated EU summit delivered new measures to fund Greece and stabilize the situation. The results gave the common currency a strong boost towards the end of the week but Euro is so far limited below near term resistance level against dollar, yen and swissy and thus, there is no confirmation of a return to confidence. Improved risk sentiments, though, helped commodity currencies rally across the board together with strength in equities. New Zealand dollar and Australian dollar were both strong while Canadian dollar pared much of the earlier gains on weak inflation data. The greenback was broadly lower except versus swiss franc and dollar index's breach of 74 level suggested more downside to come ahead.
The EU summit ended with new measures to fund Greece and stabilize the sovereign crisis in the Eurozone as a whole. he leaders also agreed on an ambitious reform of the EFSF, making it more flexible and effective. However, markets were somewhat disappointed with the lack of details on reform of the EFSF. The new bailout package for Greece by EU/IMF will total EUR 109B. Involvement in private sector will be on a 'voluntary basis' and the total contribution will be around EUR 50B (the net contribution of EUR 37B and EUR 12.6B from a debt buy back program). The document stressed that the private sector involvement arrangement is an 'exceptional and unique solution' for Greece only. Interest rates are lowered to 3.5%. Maturity of the loan, as well as other loans from the EFSF in the future, will be extended 'from the current 7.5 years to a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years with a grace period of 10 years'. Rate reduction and maturity extension should also benefit Portugal and Ireland on their current debts, too. Greece is required to accelerate implementation of fiscal consolidation measures including privatization of Government assets worth of EUR 50B. The leaders also reached a common position to enhance the importance of ESFS, giving it the ability to buy Eurozone debts in secondary markets. This, however, can only be done upon approval of the ECB and under 'mutual agreement' of the EFSF/ESM member countries. The fund can also give countries 'precautionary' credit lines and recapitalize financial institutions through loans.
In the US, hopes that the White House and the Republicans would reach an agreement soon faded after the news that Obama met with Democratic leaders from the House and Senate at the White House for about two hours as some of them rejected the plan proposed by the 'Gang of Six' on July 19, aiming to cut spending by 3.75 trillion over 10 years. House Speaker John Boehner said after Friday market close that he will instead talk with Senate leaders on a way to avoid a U.S. default. Meanwhile, S&P issued a new warning that it would downgrade US' credit rating if a deal failed to be reached by August 2. The rating agency said there's at least 50% chance that it would cut the country's AAA rating for the first time.
BOC left interest rate unchanged at 1% in July. GDP growth forecast was revised to +2.8% for 2011, down from +2.9% projected in April, while estimates for 2012 and 2013 stayed unchanged at +2.6% and +2.1% respectively. Policymakers saw higher inflationary pressures with core inflation slightly firmer than expected, due to 'temporary factors' and 'more persistent strength in the prices of some services'. Core CPI is expected to 'remain around 2%' through 2013 while total CPI should return to the 2% by the middle of 2012. Concerning monetary policy outlook, the BOC concluded that 'to the extent that the expansion continues and the current material excess supply in the economy is gradually absorbed, some of the considerable monetary policy stimulus currently in place will be withdrawn'. The reference this month, with the term 'eventually' being taken away, sent the market a signal that a rate hike may come earlier than previously anticipated. Canadian dollar surged after the statement but later pared much of the gains on Friday as CPI dropped more than expected to 3.1% yoy in June. while core CPI also unexpectedly moderated to 1.3% yoy.
Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar were the two biggest winners last week and fear on European debt crisis eased and risk appetites came back. The Aussie lagged behind other commodity currencies in July on talk that RBA might cut rates in the next twelve months. But the idea, as proposed by Westpac, didn't gain many followers and the Aussie jumped as Gold reached new record high above 1600, as well as on strength in global equities. New Zealand dollar was even stronger as Q2 CPI accelerated more than expected to 5.3% yoy, highest number since 1990. Along with the better than expected GDP figure released a week ago, markets are now expecting RBNZ to start tightening again in Q4.
Dollar index's break of 74.13 support suggests that rise from 73.35 has finished at 76.71. Also, the consolidation pattern from 72.69 might be completed with three waves up to 76.71 too. Bias is cautiously bearish this week for a test on 73.50 support. Break there will affirm the case the the down trend in dollar index from 88.70 is resuming for another low below 72.69. Ideally, that should be accompanied by a break of 1.4577 in EUR/USD.