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Market predictions and forex forecasts for the week of 21 March 2022.
Week starting 21-03-2022
We have excluded the Russian Ruble from the analysis in our report due to the extreme volatility associated with the currency.
- The US Dollar weakened against 16 of its top 19 currency pairs last week. The only notable upside moves were against the Japanese Yen (JPY) (0.92%) and the Turkish Lira (TRY) (0.16%) whilst the largest downside moves were against the Norwegian Krone (NOK) (-3.22%) and the AUD (-2.81%).
- This downside movement came off the back of a classic case of “buy the rumour, sell the fact” relating to the hiking of interest rates by the US Fed. Everyone knew that they were going to start hiking interest rates. These rate hikes, coupled with the flight to safety in recent weeks with the ongoing war in Ukraine, put the USD on an extremely strong footing. On Wednesday, when the Fed hiked interest rates, the focus was on the FOMC press conference after the fact. There the tone was cautious with a definite warning that the war in Ukraine could impact the economy and that the Fed would continue to monitor that situation as it progressed.
- There is minimal US data expected this week. The focus will shift from the Fed and the hiking cycle to developments in geopolitics. The world markets are on fragile footing as it stands, and the uncertainty of energy prices and fears of full-blown war is keeping participants hesitant to choose any set direction.
- The Euro strengthened against 10 of the top 19 currency pairs. The most notable upside moves were against the JPY (1.83%) and the TRY (1.08%), whilst the downside moves were seen against the NOK (-2.34%) and the AUD (-1.95%).
- The European Central Bank has cooled market expectations of interest rate hikes in the short term. Thus, the EUR’s buoyancy in relation to the other major currencies is dampened slightly.
- There is minimal data expected from the EU this week. The war in Ukraine remains the focal point for the members of the EU.
- A mixed performance from the Pound with the currency strengthening against nine of the top 19 currencies over the past week. The most notable upside moves were against the JPY (2.08%) and the TRY (1.34%) whilst the significant downside moves were against the NOK (-2.08%) and the AUD (-1.70%).
- The Bank of England raised interest rates, but the tone from this meeting was more dovish than anticipated, thus leading many to believe the pace of rate hikes in the UK might slow down. This, coupled with the known fact that the Fed will be raising rates, has led to the GBP being sold off slightly.
- This week, there will be a lot of data coming out of the UK. The inflation data for February will release, where it is expected to increase yet again to the highest since about 1992. Increased energy prices will continue to influence this as well. On Friday, the UK’s retail sales data will release, and it is expected to moderate – not all that positive for the GBP.
- The South African Rand has remained resilient over the past few weeks. Last week, the ZAR strengthened against eight of the top 19 currencies. The most notable strengthening was against the JPY (1.73%) and the TRY (1.01%) whilst the Rand weakened the most against the NOK (-2.39%) and the AUD (-2.03%).
- Data wise, the past week has not held much. The ZAR continued to benefit from higher gold prices, like other gold producing currencies. The ZAR is sitting at its technical support levels, and not doing much on the trading front. The currency is trading in quite a narrow band as we await some form of catalyst to move it in one direction or the other.
- This week, inflation data will release on Wednesday. Inflation is expected to come in at 5.8%, remaining in the 3-6% target range of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). On Thursday, the SARB will release its interest rate decision. We expect that it will follow the major currencies and increase interest rates by 25 basis points – any diversion from this expectation will result in volatility.
- The Australian Dollar had another stellar week. The AUD weakened against only one of its 19 peers, and that was against the NOK (-0.36%). The currency strengthened most notably against the JPY (3.87%) and the TRY (3.10%).
- Last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) released its meeting minutes. This showed the market how the RBA will move with respect to interest rates and the economy going forward. So far, the RBA is one of the few reserve banks that has not raised interest rates.
- This week, there is minimal Australian data. Therefore, we will watch to see if the AUD can hold on to its gains from the past few weeks.
- The New Zealand Dollar had a positive week overall, strengthening against 16 of its 19 top peers. The NZD weakened against the NOK (-1.09%) and the AUD (-0.65%), whilst strengthening against the JPY (3.23%) and the USD (2.28%).
- Last week, the NZD GDP growth data released. The growth rate was positive, which was favourable for the NZD.
- With no significant data releasing from New Zealand this week, we will look to the global markets for direction.
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