Global markets rise as Syria tensions ease

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The combination of healthy Chinese economic data and decreased tensions over the possibility that the US may engage in military action in Syria drove risk sentiment overnight and helped prop up global financial markets.

With optimism building the USDJPY has continued to rally overnight as investors sell out of the Yen. The pair reached its highest level since July overnight as it tests the water around the psychological 100.00 level. There is a bit of congestion between 100.00 and 101.50, but if overcame it would open up a path to multi-year highs established back in May near 103.75. The Yen slide wasn’t restricted to the Greenback, the Japanese unit also retreated against the Euro & the Australian Dollar, touching its weakest level in almost 4 & 3 months respectively. One can’t talk about a weakening Yen without mentioning the British Pound however. The GBPJPY touched its strongest level since August of 2009 overnight as investors hunted for yield at the expense of the JPY.

US President Barack Obama took a decidedly more co-operative tone following reports that a Syrian representative seemed open to a Russian proposal that the Syrian government hand over its chemical weapons during talks in Moscow. Obama commented during an interview yesterday that his “preference consistently has been a diplomatic resolution to this problem” and that “if we can accomplish this limited goal without taking military action, that would be my preference.” News later broke that France had agreed to submit the Russian plan to the UN Security Council, adding further weight to the proposal.

Investor sentiment grew even more optimistic overnight following a batch of better than expected Chinese data. Fixed Asset Investment, Industrial Production, as well as Retail Sales in the world’s second largest economy all bested expectations, signaling that rather than slowing down, as many have feared, China may be experiencing accelerating growth.  The Chinese data was a particular boon to the Australian Dollar, which was already bid following a strong Business Confidence survey result. The AUD touched its strongest value against both the USD & EUR since July in overnight trading.

The unfolding events in Syria as well as encouraging Chinese economic data have also lifted investor sentiment in equities, while commodities have suffered. Global bourses were generally in the black overnight, the Nikkei leading the way in Asia, advancing 1.54%. Turing to Europe notable gains have been made by the DAX, and the Stoxx50 which are up 1.92% and 1.66% at the time of writing. In the world of commodities, oil prices are softer today as the easing Middle-East geopolitical situation allays supply worries. Gold is also softer on the day as sentiment leads investors to rotate out of gold.

Risk sentiment supported the Canadian Dollar overnight and helped pushed the USDCAD to multi-week lows. This action was despite crude, which the pair tends to have a strong positive correlation with, retreating broadly. The Loonie has garnered additional support early this morning from a strong local Building Permits result. It feels like the Loonie is benefiting from lingering optimism surrounding last Friday’s employment statistics. Normally the housing data released this morning wouldn’t have had a meaningful impact on values, especially in light of the fact that oil prices are contracting today.

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About Author

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.

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