Greenback is Knocked Down by the Swine Flu in Mexico

The U.S. dollar fell on Monday to its lowest in a month against the Yen as worries about the spread of the swine flu from Mexico prompted investors into perceived safe-haven currencies such as the Yen and the CHF. Crude oil was also pushed down toward $50 a barrel on fears that the global flu pandemic that could give the world economy another knock.

Economic News

USD – Swine Flu puts Downward Pressure on the USD and Tourism

The U.S. Dollar appeared to be losing ground against all of its major currency counterparts towards the end of last week’s trading. It dropped to one-week lows against its rivals, falling to 1.3300 against the EUR, 1.4750 against the Pound, and 96.65 against the JPY last Friday. Apparently a number of news events, not wholly related to economic fundamentals, made an impact on the value of the USD last week.

With Ecuador claiming that they will continue to use the USD as their currency, the greenback received a modest level of support from the southern Hemisphere, not necessarily unrelated to President Barack Obama’s recent meeting with South American leaders.

In other news, fears of the recent outbreak of swine flu put a major dent in the Dollar as traders began speculating that U.S. tourism would drop in the coming months as a result, and therefore pulled out from the greenback in exchange for an alternative safe-haven. Also, the run-up to the latest round of G7 and IMF meetings put a slightly positive spin on world stocks and the idea of a balanced investment portfolio. This lent weight to the notion of pulling money away from the USD.

The good news for the USD is that it has begun an across-the-board correction during today’s early trading hours due to a number of Dollar-positive news events. Recent announcements that Chrysler, an American auto giant, may not need to declare bankruptcy has returned some confidence to the U.S. currency. The impending light news week also has the Dollar prepared to take a seat on the bench for the days ahead. Without driving its own market, the USD is more susceptible to world trends and may therefore be at the mercy of the EUR and JPY this week. With a few potentially damaging reports due, the USD may climb back towards 1.3000 against the EUR and 97.50 against the Yen over the next few days.

EUR – EUR Positive After PMI and Ifo Provide Surprising Results

The EUR gained steady momentum against most of its currency rivals last week. Hitting a one-week high against most of its currency counterparts, the EUR climbed above 1.3300 against the Dollar and near 0.9100 against the Pound Sterling. The question remains as to whether the 16-nation currency can hold onto these advances throughout the coming week.

Startling news emerged from the Euro-Zone as the European Union (EU) made overtures towards the idea of Iceland joining the union. After its national bankruptcy last year, the small island country has been struggling to catch up.

In economic news, the staggeringly high PMI numbers from the Euro-Zone regional economy generated a strong movement towards the EUR at the end of last week’s trading; no doubt adding to the EUR’s bullish run. Supporting this bullish momentum was the additional news from the German Ifo Business Climate report which signaled that the Euro-Zone may actually have bottomed and is beginning its steady road to recovery.

With the moderate news week ahead for the EUR, we may see the recent strength continue so long as economic fundamentals produce better than expected results like they did last week. However, the optimism which was soaring high at the end of last week, may have corrected itself downward as the realization of an economy hitting rock bottom sank in. While a good signal that the Euro-Zone is starting its recovery. The long road ahead may indeed stymie this bullish movement. Traders may want to look for a downward-correcting EUR this week.

JPY – JPY’s Recent Gains Set to Reverse

The Japanese Yen was set to advance itself throughout this week, after gaining steadily against most of its rivals, especially the USD. However, as the Nikkei index opened lower at the start of this week, the Yen’s safe-haven move may have ended abruptly this morning. Growing as high as 96.65 against the USD and 127.50 against the EUR, the Yen may now see a correction throughout the impending hours due to poor stock performance and a USD-positive trading session.

With the recent scare over the swine flu outbreak in the United States, the JPY was bought up as an alternative safe-haven against the USD as tourism in the U.S. was expected to drop. Nevertheless, the JPY now appears to be paring off its recent gains as stock markets indicate a lack of confidence in the Japanese currency. Traders may look to the Yen depreciating against most of its currency rivals throughout the next few days, especially with a heavy news week for the JPY which may illuminate the inherent weakness of the island economy.

Crude Oil – Is OPEC Planning Further Production Cuts?

After failing to breach the resistance level of $52 a barrel last week, the price of Crude Oil appears to be coming back down. Recent press releases from the various oil ministers in member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have stated that the latest price volatility has been damaging to the future of the oil industry. Such volatile price swings as those seen over the past 8 months can cause irreparable carnage to an industry in need of heavy foreign investment.

Without clear data regarding the current supply and demand levels in the world’s energy supplies, organizations such as OPEC have little to go on but recent price levels. If prices don’t find strong support in the coming weeks, the cartel may be forced to call for further production cuts in order to boost prices back to levels where investment becomes feasible. If oil prices continue where they are, this move may be more likely. Traders need to keep an eye on hawkish statements such as these from members of OPEC as it could signal a shift towards further production cuts, and the possibility of an increase in the value of Crude Oil.

Technical News

The Slow Stochastic and the RSI on the daily chart are showing a continuation of the current bearish correction. There is a very accurate bearish channel forming on the hourly chart. In addition all indicators on the 4 hour chart are pointing down. Going short might be the right choice today
After experiencing a mild bullish correction on Thursday, the cable has fully resumed its general bearish trend. The RSI on the 4 hour chart is now floating around the 50 line, indicating that the bearish momentum still has more steam in it. Going short seems to be preferable.
The sharp bearish move that took place during the past couple of days seems to have more steam in it. The RSI on the hourly charts is crossed above the 40 line, suggesting that the pair may fall further. The bearish move on the daily’s Slow Stochastic also supports this notion. Next target could be 96.20
Our preference: Long @ 1.139 with targets @ 1.1475 & 1.15 in extension.
Alternative scenario: Below 1.1385 look for further downside with 1.135 & 1.1305 as targets. The RSI is bullish, the pair is on the upside and is challenging its intermediary resistance. Pivot: 1.1385

The Wild Card

The momentum that was created yesterday by the bearish breach through the bottom of the channel in the hourly chart is growing stronger. The 4 hour chart is supporting a strong bearish notion as well, creating a great opportunity for forex traders to join.

Written by: