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A Return to Normality Points to Further USD Downside this Year

USD: The rebound in stock markets on the first day of President Joseph Biden in office lifted G10 currencies and weighed on the dollar. The message of reconciliation from the new President underscored a clear shift away from the Trump administration and should reduce hurdles for currencies to benefit from the global economic recovery vs the dollar and should, along with a non-reacting Federal Reserve to rising inflation, help to facilitate the broad-based USD decline.

CAD: USD/CAD has traded through support at 1.2630 and most analysts and opening up the April 2018 low at 1.2528 next. Markets latched onto this line from the BoC yesterday in the statement, “if the economy and inflation play out broadly in line or stronger than we projected, then the amount of [QE] stimulus needed will diminish over time” though they “also agreed that it is too early to consider slowing the pace of our purchases”. We think it’s a statement that is (a) stating the obvious (if the economy recovers, QE will be withdrawn over time) and (b) not something specific to Canada – but putting it in the opening statement gives it prominence. It’s something the Fed couldn’t do without scaring markets.  We expect CAD strength to accelerate vs USD by implication over the short term.

EUR: The markets don’t expect any fireworks from the ECB today as the material adjustment to monetary policy set-up was made at the December meeting. The main focus will be on comments on the exchange rate and possible verbal interventions as the currency has recently been getting more attention from the Council. With no surprises from the ECB today, the effect on the euro should be negligible and EUR/USD should hover around the 1.2100 level.

GBP: Cable is benefiting from the reduced odds of rate cuts and better vaccination prospects vs most EU countries. We look for GBP slow grind lower.

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