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Risk-on sentiment dominated the Asian trades at the start of a fresh week, as markets rejoiced the renewed trade optimism following the upbeat remarks from both the US and Chinese officials. Also, reports that China raised penalties on the intellectual properties’ (IP) theft also bolstered the trade optimism. China’s IP issue was the main sticking point that led to previous fallout in trade talks. Further, the positive outcome of the weekend’s peaceful Hong Kong election also offered some support to the risk appetite and the US dollar. The US dollar hit fresh weekly tops across its main competitors amid improved risk tones and stronger US fundamentals.

Among the Asia-pac currencies, the USD/JPY pair held the higher ground near multi-day highs in the upper bound of the 108 handle while the risk currencies, the Antipodeans, recovered ground but the further upside remained limited by dollar strength. The Aussie kissed the 0.68 handle while the Kiwi extended the recovery beyond the 0.6400 level.

Heading into the European open, both the EUR/USD pair and GBP/USD are looking to extend the latest leg higher. The Cable is supported by persistent Conservatives’ lead in the opinion polls and PM Johnson’s promise to reach a Brexit deal before Xmas. Meanwhile, EUR/USD is testing session highs on the 1.10 handle, awaiting fresh incentives from the German IFO data release.

Main Topics in Asia

China to raise penalties on IP theft in trade war compromise – BBG

ECB’s Lane: Policies are ‘in good shape’ in current scenario – Bloomberg

Officials: No ‘Phase Two’ US-China deal on The horizon – RTRS

Hong Kong pro-democracy parties take 390 of 452 district council seats – RTHK

China needs to prepare for zero interest rates – Global Times

Beijing must reassess Hong Kong situation as pro-democracy camp wins big – SCMP

Japan PM Abe-China’s Pres. Xi meeting likely to be in Spring 2020 – Reuters

OIS pricing 34% odds of an RBNZ rate cut in February

Chinese Official: China steps up IPR efforts to speed up the pace of rights protection – Global Times

Key Focus Ahead

After a data-busy last week, we have a relatively quiet week ahead in Europe, with the German IFO survey, due at 0900 GMT, to headline. From the UK docket, the second-tier CBI Realized Sales Survey will be reported at 1100 GMT, which is likely to have little impact on the GBP, as the UK political updates will continue to play a pivotal role ahead of the Dec 12 election.

The NA calendar also remains data-thin amid a few second-liner macro releases from the US and Canada. Therefore, markets will pay close attention to the US-China trade developments that continue to remain the main market motor so far this month.

EUR/USD: Weak German IFO data may bolster bearish pressures

EUR/USD established a bearish lower high near 1.11 last week.  A drop to 1.10 looks likely courtesy of trade tensions. The psychological support will likely be breached if the German IFO – Expectations (Nov) prints below estimates.  

GBP/USD: Trade/political headlines fail to impress momentum traders below 1.2900

The Tory manifesto fails to receive a warm welcome from the investors’ fraternity as the GBP/USD seesaws around 1.2850 while heading into the London open on Monday. The focus remains on trade and political headlines for fresh impetus.

GBP/USD Forecast: Corbyn comeback or Boris bull-run? Opinion polls to move markets

GBP/USD has rocked and rolled on election-related news. Additional opinion polls, gaffes, and trade-related headlines are set to determine the next moves.

Chart of the week in Analysis: AUD/JPY at a critical juncture

AUD/JPY brings in a compelling technical story that has something for both the bears and the bulls at the start of this week.