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December 27. Analysts predict a strengthening of the US dollar in 2023
Analysts at Danske Bank believe that the state of the global economy will be crucial for the dynamics of exchange rates in 2023. The bank's review says that all forecasts for the next year are based on the strengthening of the US dollar and the tightening of financial conditions in the world.
However, if inflation concerns quickly fade away, the prospects for the foreign exchange market will be different. Because the US Federal Reserve System may make a U-turn in its policy of aggressive rate hikes.
To date, market participants believe that the US currency will decline in 2023, but Danske Bank is still skeptical about the justification of such optimism. Analysts believe that a fair assessment of the EUR/USD pair is closer to $0.9. Experts also expect that inflationary pressure will weaken in the US faster than in the eurozone, which may put strong pressure on the single European currency.
Therefore, in the absence of any positive developments, the euro may go down. In general, analysts adhere to the «bearish» forecast for the EUR/USD pair, as many negative economic factors will continue in 2023. On the other hand, the lifting of anti-bullying restrictions in China may have a positive impact on the eurozone economy and its currency.
According to forecasts, the euro exchange rate will be around $1.05 in the next month, $1.02 – in three months. At the same time, experts raised the estimate in twelve months to $ 0.98 from the previously expected $0.93.
January 9. Oil exceeded the level of $81 per barrel
On Monday, oil quotes are steadily rising after a significant decline in the results of last week.
The current Brent quote is $81.28 per barrel. The minimum of last week was marked at $78. North American WTI crude is trading near $76.50 per barrel after falling to $73.20 last week.
Support for prices today was provided by concerns about the prospects for oil demand in China, where the number of COVID-19 diseases has sharply increased after the lifting of quarantine restrictions. Experts note that the increase in economic activity in China is the main factor that can push oil demand to growth. At the same time, serious uncertainty remains regarding the timing of the return of the PRC economy to normal activity.
In addition, there are also concerns about a downturn in the global economy in the context of the ongoing tightening of monetary policy by the world's largest central banks, which also supports the oil market.
The decline in oil prices last week was caused by the strengthening of the US dollar, falling natural gas prices, as well as the risks of recession in the world. In Europe, there is a fairly warm winter, which leads to cheaper gas. And this, in turn, weakens expectations that consumers will switch from gas to oil this winter.
January 11. The Egyptian pound has fallen to a historic low
The Egyptian currency has fallen to a historic low. The exchange rate of the US dollar against the Egyptian pound rose today to the level of 32.195, adding 16.3%. Over the past 12 months, Egypt's national currency has depreciated by more than 76%.
The weakening of the pound began after the International Monetary Fund yesterday outlined the details of a $3 billion aid package to the country. Egypt has committed itself to introduce a flexible exchange rate, strengthen the role of the private sector in the country's economy, and carry out a number of monetary and fiscal reforms.
In addition, among its obligations is to reduce investments in state and national projects in order to reduce inflation and reduce foreign currency spending.
Recall that Egypt faced a shortage of foreign currency, despite the sharp depreciation of the Egyptian pound last year. A year ago, the currency was trading in a narrow range below 16 Egyptian pounds per dollar. However, in March and October 2022, the Central Bank of Egypt allowed the pound to depreciate sharply. On October 27, the Egyptian pound fell by 15% after the announcement of a new financing package from the International Monetary Fund. Then the regulator announced that it was moving to a more flexible currency regime.
January 12. Gold exceeded $1900 amid the inflation data in the United States
The price of the February gold futures soared by 1.28% today and reached $1905 per troy ounce. Above the $1,900 mark, gold is trading for the first time since May 2022.
The driver of growth to an eight-month high was the weakening of the dollar on the eve of the release of US inflation data for December. The dollar index lost 0.79% and reached 102.09 points, which was the lowest since June 2022. And as you know, the weakening of the dollar makes gold more attractive to holders of other currencies.
According to the US Department of Labor, by the end of December, the year-on-year growth in consumer prices slowed to 6.5% against 7.1% in November, which coincided with analysts' forecasts. Core inflation (excluding food and energy prices) at the end of December amounted to 5.7% year-on-year, which also meets the expectations of experts. In November, this figure was 6%.
Analysts note that the pressure on the US currency is also exerted by a decrease in the yields of US government bonds. This suggests that fears that inflation will remain at a high level, forcing the Fed to maintain a tight monetary policy for longer, are gradually weakening.
January 13. Germany's GDP grew by 1.9% in 2022
According to the Federal Statistical Agency of Germany, the German economy grew by 1.9% in 2022. For comparison, in 2021, the country's GDP increased by 2.6%. The average growth rate for the period from 2011 to 2021 was 1%.
As noted in the agency's report, Europe's largest economy suffered last year from the energy crisis, high inflation, rising interest rates and disruptions in supply chains. The Covid-19 pandemic, though fading, is also having its negative impact on the economy.
The volume of GDP last year was 0.7% higher than the indicator of the pre-pandemic 2019. The main engine of growth of the German economy was consumer spending, which increased by 4.6% in 2022 (by 0.4% in 2021), while the rate of increase in investment in fixed assets slowed to 0.2% from 1.2%, the growth rate of government spending decreased to 1.1% from 3.8%.
Exports of goods from Germany increased by 3.2% last year, and imports increased by 6.7%. Which, by the way, had a negative impact on the country's GDP.
The total deficit of public budgets in Germany in 2022 amounted to 101.631 billion euros (compared to 134.252 billion euros in 2021). Thus, the decrease was 24%.
The negative balance of the federal budget decreased to 117.633 billion euros from 145.925 billion euros.
Throughout 2022, an average of 45.6 million people worked in Germany, which is 589 thousand (1.3%) higher than in the previous year.
January 17. The price of gas in the EU has dropped to $600/thousand cubic meters
The cost of gas in Europe fell below the level of $600 per thousand cubic meters for the first time since the end of August 2021, against the background of a warm winter and the temperature norm approaching optimal values.
The contract with the delivery «a day ahead» at the TTF hub in the Netherlands dropped to $590 per thousand cubic meters. February futures – up to $615.
Analysts note that the warm weather in October, November and January, as well as cost-saving measures, have led to the fact that at the moment the level of gas reserves in underground gas storage facilities (UGS) is the highest in the history of observations. And this strengthens the confidence of the authorities in the safe passage of winter.
According to Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) data from January 15, Europe's UGS are 81.49% full. In addition, gas quotes are affected by high wind power generation rates.
At the same time, Asian quotes remain significantly higher than European ones. In particular, the February futures on the JKM Platts index (Japan Korea Marker, reflecting the spot market value of goods shipped to Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan) is located at $957.
Recall that on December 19, 2022, the EU countries agreed on a ceiling of gas prices in the amount of 180 euros per 1 MWh, (or $ 1975 per 1000 cubic meters). This price limit will take effect from February 15. The ceiling will be activated if the price of gas for TTF exceeds the agreed mark, and the spread to the price of liquefied natural gas in the EU will be more than 35 euros per 1 MWh. It is worth noting that the price ceiling will not apply to over-the-counter transactions.
January 19. The share of the pound in international settlements fell to a June low
According to the SWIFT international system, the share of the pound sterling in international settlements by the end of December fell to 6.08%, which was the lowest value since June.
During the month, the British currency lost 1.01 percentage points, while retaining third place in the list of the most popular settlement currencies. The last time when the value was much less than the current one, it was noted in June: then the pound accounted for 5.96% of international settlements.
Analysts note that the dollar and the euro have strengthened their positions in the rating of currencies – they took first and second places with a share of 41.89% and 36.34%, respectively. The «American» for the month grew by 0.51 percentage points, and the «European» — by 0.22 points.
The Japanese yen is still in fourth place at the end of December, the share of which increased by 0.34 percentage points to 2.88% over the month.
The Chinese yuan closes the top five with a share of 2.15% and a decrease of 0.22 percentage points over the month.
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January 23. Retail sales in Britain showed a record drop since 1997
According to the UK Bureau of National Statistics, retail sales in December 2022 decreased by 5.8% compared to the same period in 2021. This was a record drop in the entire history of observations since 1997.
According to the ONS, retail sales in Britain have declined for the second month in a row. In December, they unexpectedly fell by 1%, which is twice as much as the 0.5% predicted by analysts. In November, the drop was also 0.5%.
The State Bureau also reported that the sales volumes recorded in December were 1.7% less than in February 2020 before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Total retail sales fell by 3% between 2021 and 2022.
Analysts note that after the start of the special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, the West increased sanctions pressure on Russia. As a result, the disruption of logistics chains has led to an increase in fuel and food prices in Europe and the United States. In the UK itself, the rising cost of living has hit millions of households.
Recall that the Bank of England raised the base interest rate by 50 basis points – from 3% to 3.5%. The regulator also announced the beginning of a recession in the country, which will last the whole of 2023 and the first half of 2024. Annual inflation in the UK at the end of December was 10.5%.
January 25. Microsoft shares fell amid the release of a weak report
Microsoft shares jumped 5.26% to $254.79 in postmarket trading. However, then the dynamics changed, and according to the results of the postmarket, the IT giant's securities fell by 1.02%, to $234.64.
On Tuesday, Microsoft released its financial report for the second fiscal quarter, which ended in December 2022. The company reported a 7% decrease in adjusted net profit to $17.4 billion. Earnings per share (EPS) fell 6% to $2.32. At the same time, analysts predicted EPS at $2.29.
Microsoft's total revenue grew by 2% and reached $52.75 billion, while Wall Street forecast $52.94 billion. This was the lowest increase in quarterly revenue since 2016.
Experts also note that Microsoft is increasingly becoming cloud-based. The share of various kinds of cloud services already accounts for 40% of revenue and more than 40% of operating profit. At the same time, the corporation began to earn less in other segments. Thus, revenues from PC products, including the Microsoft Windows operating system and Office software, decreased by 19% to $14.2 billion.
The corporation also gave a forecast that disappointed investors: it is expected that in the third fiscal quarter revenue will be from $50.5 billion to $51.5 billion, which is about 3% more than a year earlier. Analysts predicted that revenue in the current quarter would be $52.43 billion.
January 26. Brent crude oil exceeded the level of $87 per barrel
On Thursday, the oil market shows steady growth: Brent quotes rose to the level of $87.50 per barrel. The North American grade of WTI oil is trading today near the level of $81.50 per barrel.
Traders continue to evaluate data on fuel stocks in the United States. According to the report of the Ministry of Energy, commercial oil reserves increased by 533 thousand barrels last week. The growth of reserves was recorded for the fifth week in a row.
Gasoline inventories increased by 1.76 million barrels, while distillate inventories decreased by 507 thousand barrels. Analysts predicted an increase in oil reserves by 1.5 million barrels, an increase in gasoline reserves by 1.5 million barrels and a drop in distillate reserves by 1.6 million barrels.
Experts note that the data of the Ministry of Energy reflected what the market has been putting into quotes in recent weeks: the growing premium of Brent compared to WTI since the end of December leads to an increase in exports, which limits the growth of stocks, despite the weak workload of American refineries.
Investors are also assessing the risks of a recession in the global economy and the prospects for fuel demand in China. Fears of a recession and the weakening of hopes for a «soft landing» for the economy remain negative factors for the market. At the same time, analysts expect that optimism about a sharp recovery in demand in China will support oil quotes in the near future.
January 27. Central banks are buying gold at the fastest pace in half a century
According to a report by economists of the International Monetary Fund and the University of California at Berkeley, gold not only did not leave the international reserve currency, but also significantly increased its performance, as the gold reserves of the world's central banks increased after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
Experts note that in the third quarter of 2022, leading central banks bought more gold than in any other quarter for 55 years. The main buyers at the same time were banks of developing countries, such as Russia, China, India, Turkey, Argentina, Hungary and Belarus.
Among the main reasons for the increase in purchases, analysts note the popularity of gold as a traditional and safe means of saving at a time when a number of countries are subject to financial sanctions.
An interesting fact is that Russia, Iran and other countries that are subject to US sanctions can now combine blockchain technologies with gold to launch a digital currency that can compete with the dollar. Blockchain will allow these countries to make transactions with gold without actually redirecting coins or bullion.
Moreover, gold today is the only significant asset that is not controlled by any country and that cannot be forged. It is also the only asset that largely guarantees financial confidentiality.
January 30. The main economic events of the day: January 30, 2023
At the end of last week, the dollar managed to finish trading in positive territory, and its DXY index showed a modest increase of about 20 points. Last week, which was the last full trading week of the month, turned out to be extremely volatile and saturated with the publication of important macro statistics.
The current week promises to be no less interesting: meetings of the three largest world central banks (Fed, Bank of England, ECB) are expected at once, at which decisions on rates will be made. Market participants expect an interest rate increase of 0.50% from the ECB and the Bank of England, but only 0.25% from the Fed.
The week will end with the publication of key data from the US labor market: the US Department of Labor will present a monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report with data for January.
The main and only event of Monday, January 30, will be the publication of preliminary data on German GDP for the 4th quarter. Since the German economy is the locomotive of the entire European economy, a high value of the GDP indicator is considered a positive factor for EUR, and a low one is considered a negative factor.
Analysts predict that German GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2022 amounted to 0%, and in annual terms – 0.8%. The previous values were marked at the levels of 0.4% and 1.2%, respectively. The data is better than the forecast may strengthen the euro in the short term.
February 1. Experts predict an increase in ECB rates by 50 bps
Tomorrow, February 2, the first meeting of the European Central Bank in 2023 on the rate will be held. Market participants are confident that the ECB will raise key interest rates by 50 basis points, to the highest since 2008.
If the market forecasts come true, the base interest rate on loans will be raised to 3%, the deposit rate to 2.5%, and the rate on margin loans to 3.25%. At the previous meeting, the ECB increased all three rates by 50 bps. In total, they were raised by 250 bps in 2022.
Following the results of the December meeting, the head of the central bank, Christine Lagarde, said that the regulator intends to continue raising rates at a rate of 50 bps, and already in January, some representatives of the Central Bank confirmed the relevance of these plans. Now the main question for investors is whether the ECB will continue to increase rates by 50 bps in March, or will consider it necessary to slow down the pace of their increase.
It is worth noting that the European regulator usually makes a decision on rates not in advance, but directly at each meeting, taking into account the emerging data.
Today, data on inflation in the eurozone were published, according to which the growth rate of consumer prices in January slowed significantly – to 8.5% in annual terms (from 9.2% in December). This indicator has become the lowest since May last year, but it still significantly exceeds the ECB's 2% target.
February 6. Oil has stabilized after a sharp drop last week
At the end of last week, oil prices showed a sharp drop from the level of $84 per barrel to $79.70. On Monday, Brent managed to stabilize, settling within the narrow sideways range of $80.00-$80.30 per barrel.
North American WTI oil shows similar dynamics: the current quote of the asset is $73.60 per barrel. Last Friday, WTI was trading at $77.75. At the end of last week, Brent fell by 7.5%, WTI – by 7.9%.
Pressure on the market was exerted by the weakening of investor optimism about the growth rate of demand in China after the lifting of anti-bullying restrictions, as well as strong data on the labor market of the United States. According to the report of the US Department of Labor, the number of people employed in the non-agricultural sector increased by 517 thousand, which is significantly higher than the forecast of 187 thousand and December growth of 260 thousand.
At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to the lowest since 1969 (3.4%). Data from the US Ministry of Labor showed that the Federal Reserve System still has room for maneuver in terms of tightening monetary policy.
Additional pressure on oil quotes was exerted by the statement of the head of the International Energy Agency that the economic recovery in China after the rejection of strict quarantine measures may be more powerful than expected. According to the IEA forecast, the Chinese economy will account for about half of the growth in oil demand this year.
It is also worth recalling that on February 5, the decision of the European Union and the G7 to impose an embargo on the import of petroleum products from Russia came into force. Market participants are closely monitoring the consequences of these measures.
February 8. The oil market is on the rise in the middle of the week
Oil quotes accelerated growth on Wednesday amid hopes for a recovery in demand in China and fears of supply disruptions due to earthquakes in Turkey.
In addition, risky assets, including oil, were supported by statements made yesterday by the head of the US Federal Reserve System Jerome Powell, which turned out to be not as «hawkish» as the market expected.
The current price of Brent crude oil is $84.80 per barrel. Yesterday, the asset quotes were located at $81.60 per barrel. North American WTI crude is trading near $78.30 after yesterday's decline to $74.80 per barrel.
Additional support for the oil market is provided by the words of the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, that the recovery of China's economy may proceed at a more active pace than expected. And this, in turn, will lead to a global increase in demand for oil and natural gas.
Today, data from the US Department of Energy on crude oil reserves in the country will have an impact on the market. Analysts predict an increase in oil reserves by about 2.5 million barrels. Yesterday's report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated a reduction in reserves in the United States by 2.18 million barrels per week.
February 15. The Floki token rate jumped by 46% after Elon Musk's tweet
The Floki token (FLOKI) exchange rate increased by 46% after the head of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, published photos of his Shiba Inu dog named Floki.
On February 15, the billionaire posted a photo of his pet on the social network and called him the new CEO of Twitter, noting that Floki is well versed in numbers. «The new CEO of Twitter is amazing,» the billionaire wrote.
As a result, Floki – the management token in the ecosystem of the same name, which includes the gaming metaverse, the NFT marketplace, the FlokiFi DeFi project and the educational crypto platform – has sharply jumped in price.
Other meme «dog» cryptocurrencies also reacted with a slight increase. Dogecoin has risen in price by 6% over the past day, Shiba Inu – by 4.5%.
Elon Musk announced that he will name his puppy Shiba inu Floki on June 25, 2021. Then the billionaire's tweet caused the Shiba Inu cryptocurrency quotes to rise by 9%. In December of the same year, after the billionaire published a photo of Floki, the value of the Santa Floki token increased by 4000%, but since then it has fallen to zero values.
March 1. Oil began to decline on signals of rising stocks in the US
On the first day of March, oil quotes began to decline after the release of data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on another increase in fuel reserves in the United States.
The price of Brent crude oil fell from the level of $84.10 to $82.70 per barrel. North American WTI oil shows similar dynamics: a decline to $76.20 after yesterday's growth to $77.65 per barrel.
According to API statistics, crude oil inventories in the United States increased by 6.2 million barrels last week. Today, we should pay attention to similar data from the US Department of Energy. Analysts assume that the official report will indicate an increase in reserves by about 500 thousand barrels.
Yesterday, oil showed strengthening amid optimism about the recovery of the Chinese economy. In particular, the Purchasing managers' Index (PMI) in the processing industry of China rose in February to 52.6 points (from 50.1 points a month earlier), reaching a record high since 2012. Analysts on average expected a more moderate increase, up to 50.5 points.
The PMI of the service sector in February rose to 56.3 points from 54.4 points in January. The indicator has updated the maximum since March 2021.
February 28. The IMF refused to ban cryptocurrencies
The International Monetary Fund intends to abandon the idea of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies. This was stated by the Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva during her speech at the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Bangalore, India.
Instead of a ban, the fund plans to differentiate and regulate crypto assets. «We are in favor of regulating the world of digital money, and this is a top priority, despite the fact that there is still a lot of confusion in the classification of digital money,» Georgieva said.
To date, the IMF's first goal is to distinguish between government-backed digital currencies of central banks and publicly issued crypto assets and stablecoins.
The head of the fund also stated that fully secured stablecoins create a fairly good space for the economy, and unsecured crypto assets are speculative and high-risk assets that require more regulation. The IMF still believes that crypto assets cannot be legal tender, since they are not secured by anything.
Moreover, if states fail to develop a mechanism to combat money laundering through cryptocurrencies and protect investors, the IMF does not rule out a complete ban on the use of an innovative tool in the global economy.
March 6. Gold is declining in anticipation of the speech of the Fed’s head
On Monday, gold prices are mostly declining, moving away from the maximum in 2.5 weeks. Pressure on the precious metal is exerted by expectations of the speech of the head of the US Federal Reserve System Jerome Powell, which will take place later this week. Market participants hope to clarify the prospects of the central bank's monetary policy.
The current quote of gold paired with the dollar is $1856.45. During the day, the asset fell from the level of $1863 to $1854 per troy ounce. At the same time, the dollar index increased by 0.1%, making dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
In addition to Powell's speech, investors are waiting for Friday's data on the US labor market. At the end of the week, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report on the number of new jobs in the non-agricultural sector will be published. A weaker than expected indicator will indicate that the US Federal Reserve rate will not rise too rapidly, and this will support gold.
Spot silver prices declined to the level of $21.17, recovering during the day to the current level of $21.23 per ounce. Platinum fell by 1% to $968.09, and palladium fell in price by 1.8% to $1,426 per ounce.
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