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US Dollar strengthens as US moves closer to military

It’s a good day for the Greenback, which outperformed its peers overnight, on concerns that foreign governments might engage in military action in Syria. The Dollar Index, which tracks USD activity against its 16 most traded counterparts strengthened overnight.  The Big Dollar even making headway against other traditional safe heaven currencies like the Japanese Yen & Swiss Franc, with investors viewing the USD as safest place for their funds in these uncertain times.

Tension surrounding Syria also had a significant impact on other asset classes during overnight trading sessions. Gold climbed as high as USD 1,433.31 per ounce overnight, its highest level since May of 2013. The overnight action in the lustrous yellow metal brings the rally to its 5thconsecutive day and puts the Daily Relative Strength Index into overbought territory, indicating that a correction or a period of consolidation might be in the cards. In energy, Syrian concerns pushed West Texas Intermediate to 2-year highs at USD 112.24 per barrel. Brent is also trading higher, breaching USD 117.00 per barrel at one point overnight. The epic rally that has occurred in the last couple of sessions has pushed Brent to its highest level in 6-months.

World stock prices have also taken notice of the growing Syrian crisis and bourses around the world are in the red. Major Asian indices were led lower by The Japanese Topix, which contracted 1.76%, following closely by the Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng shed 1.60% of its value. The Nikkei and Australian ASX were also down 1.51% and 1.05% respectively, rounding out what was a bit of a bloodbath in Asian trading. European stocks also slid overnight, the German DAX down 1.36% and the British FTSE lower by 0.57% at the time of writing. US stock futures were little changed overnight, hovering near multi-week lows, and pointing to an underwhelming open of the North American session today.

Looking away from Syria, Bank of England chief Mark Carney is currently making his first public speech at a conference hosted by the Confederation of British Industry in Nottingham. Expectations are that Carney will remain dovish on rates despite recent data out of the UK which has been constructive. Carney has been pretty clear that he wants to see borrowing rates remain low for the foreseeable future to help the British economy survive the infant stages of any possible recovery. This sentiment has put the British Pound on the defensive, the Cable temporarily violated its 200-day Moving Average, which it struggled with yesterday, but has since pulled back above it. Versus the Euro, the GBP continued to slide overnight, falling to its weakest value since Carney officially unveiled his intentions 3-weeks ago during the Inflation Report press conference.

Turning to North America, US Pending Home Sales for the month of July is the only meaningful data on the docket for today and are slated for  10:00AM  New York time. Expectations according to a Reuter’s survey are for a contraction of 0.5%. Given that the markets are preoccupied with Syria at the moment, it feels like the result would have to deviate significantly from expectations for anyone to take notice.

Despite all of the activity overnight in global markets, the USDCAD continues to trade at the same level it has all week following last week’s meteoric rise in the pair. Looking forward the pair seems well supported at these levels given recent global geo-political concerns and Tapering sentiment.  Another interesting observation worth noting is the recent breakdown in the correlation between USDCAD and Oil. Normally the Loonie outperforms the USD when Oil rallies. However Canadian unit has been broadly softer over the last few weeks, while at the same time Oil has gone a big bullish run. It will be interesting to see if this phenomenon is temporary.

Further reading:

Report: Strike on Syria to start on Friday, after markets close

EUR/USD Aug. 28 – Steady as US Consumer Data Sparkles

David Starkey

David Starkey

David Starkey is a currency options dealer and market analyst for Cambridge Mercantile Group. A fascination with the everyday impact of globalization on society led David to pursue a degree in International Business from the University of Victoria. From there Forex was a natural fit. He has worked as a currency trader, risk manager, and hedging expert in both Canada as well as the United States for several non-bank brokers. Cambridge Mercantile Group.