Euro rallies on Greek election outcome but gains to be short lived
June 18, 2012 — Mitul Kotecha
Mitul is the author of the forthcoming Searching Finance book Chronology of a Crisis. He works in Hong Kong for Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, where he is the head of global currency strategy.
The Greek election outcome will be met with a sigh of relief across markets. However, there is still likely to be plenty of horse trading before a new government is formed and even then Greece’s fiscal/debt/growth problems will not just miraculously go away. Market pressure will resume after a brief delay.
At least for the early part of this week markets will likely find some support however, and with events including the FOMC meeting, G20 meeting and EU Summit coming up, hopes that some solutions may be forthcoming may at least prevent sentiment for risk assets from deteriorating too significantly.
The EUR garnered support following news that pro-bailout parties have gained sufficient votes to form a government in Greece. Negotiations will begin to form a coalition government between the first placed party New Democracy and third placed Pasok but the risk remains that prolonged discussions could quickly result in the EUR erasing its gains. Indeed, Pasok leaders are talking about the need to form a ‘government of national unity’, suggesting the process of forming a government will not be straightforward.
A slightly less negative shift in EUR sentiment has been apparent from the CFTC IMM data which revealed that net short positions dropped (ie there has been some short covering) even before the election outcome. The election result will encourage more short covering although data releases this week including the June German ZEW investor confidence and IFO business confidence surveys, both of which are set to decline, will caution against becoming overly bullish EUR. Short term EUR/USD resistance is seen around 1.2750 but a move back down to around 1.2515 is more likely as the week progresses.
One of the reasons the EUR has managed to garner support over recent days has been growing speculation of Fed action to boost the economy in the wake of a rash of softer data releases. Such expectations have put the USD under pressure, with last week’s data revealing disappointing retail sales, industrial production and consumer confidence. On Wednesday the markets will find an answer to speculation of more Fed action, with the Fed FOMC policy decision.
Expectations of more quantitative easing will be disappointed but the Fed will likely increase Operation Twist buying time to evaluate incoming data releases. A combination of a relatively positive Greek election outcome together with speculation of more QE will keep the USD under pressure ahead of Wednesday’s outcome but weakness ought to prove short lived, with USD gains expected following the Fed decision not to expand its balance sheet further.