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Euro dollar  is slipping below the round number of 1.30, trading choppily in a steep narrow channel. The not-so-dovish words from the Federal Reserve and especially the ongoing standstill around Greece weigh on the pair. Has Greece met all the requirements? It depends on who you ask. The decisive Eurogroup meeting is now scheduled for Monday. Will the EU settle for bridge loan instead of a full bailout package?There’s a growing feeling that Greece is shown the door. The US calendar is packed today with important indicators.  

Here’s an update on technicals, fundamentals and what’s going on in the markets.

EUR/USD Technicals

  • Asian session: A quiet session after the blow from the FOMC meeting minutes saw the pair sliding gradually under 1.3060. The move lower began in the European session..
  • Current range:  1.2945 to 1.30.EUR/USD Chart February 16 2012
  • Further levels in both directions: Below:   1.2945, 1.2873, 1.2760, 1.2660 and 1.2620.
  • Above:  1.30, 1.3060, 1.3145, 1.3212, 1.3280, 1.3333 and 1.3450.
  • Note the downtrend narrowing channel on the hourly chart.
  • 1.2945 is the next support line.
  • 1.3212 proved to be the decisive point that started the fall.

Euro/Dollar falling in a steep channel  – click on the graph to enlarge.

EUR/USD Fundamentals

  • 9:00 Euro-zone  ECB Monthly Bulletin.
  • 9:40 Spanish 3 and 7 year bond auctions. Spain quickly covers its 2012 funding needs with cheap cash, thanks to Draghi.
  • 13:30 US Unemployment Claims. Exp. 364K.
  • 13:30 US  Building Permits. Exp. 0.68 million. Housing is important for QE3.
  • 13:30 US Housing Starts. Exp. 0.68 million.
  • 13:30 US PPI. Exp. +0.3%. Core PPI exp. +0.1%.
  • 14:00 US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks.
  • 15:00 US  Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. See how to trade this event with USD/JPY.
  • 15:00 US  Mortgage Delinquencies.

For more events later in the week, see the  Euro to dollar forecast

EUR/USD Sentiment

  • Has Greece met conditions?: German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, said that ¨Greek promises are not enough”, after so many have already been broken in the past. The Dutch finance minister also said that Greece hasn’t met conditions. Greek finance minister said Greece has done everything it needed, and released a bitter statement that some members want to see Greece out of the euro-zone.  The leading candidate to lead Greece after the elections, Antonis Samaras, finally signed the commitment to continue with austerity after the elections, after refusing at first. Samaras is probably looking at the opinion polls, which show more power for anti-austerity parties.
  • Bridge Loan: Among the ideas that are gaining traction is providing a bridge loan for Greece in order to avoid a disorderly default. Greece needs to repay nearly 15 billion euros of bonds on March 20th (+ 7 days grace). The EU might supply this money and wait for after the elections for the rest.
  • Federal Reserve Not So Dovish: Contrary to Ben Bernanke’s dismissal of positive job figures and his sad face, the FOMC is a more balanced. It seems that QE3 has a low chance in March. This pushed the dollar higher after Bernanke pushed it lower in recent weeks.
  • Milder recession:  According to the initial release, the  French economy surprised and continued growing. It’s important to note that Q3’s growth was revised tot he downside. And while Germany suffered contraction, a return to growth has good chances in Q1, so an official recession will likely be avoided. For the whole euro-zone, the contraction of 0.3% was better than expected.
  • ECB opens door to Greek haircut:  The pressure for Official Sector Involvement succeeded.  Mario Draghi made a “one more thing” last moment Steve Jobs style statement  and opened the door to a contribution by the ECB to the Greek bailout. But this depends on politicians first.
  • Portugal awaits Greece: Portuguese yields remain on high ground. The path chosen for Greece will likely be followed by the small Iberian country in the infamous “contagion” effect that is feared.
  • Positive US figures:  The fresh Empire State Manufacturing Index was very good. It’s important to note the Philly index, which is more important, and  especially  its job component. The  excellent NFP  in January was doubted by many. Also the fresh jobless claims figure should provide more clarity. While employment shows positive signs, housing is still shaky.
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