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US election: timing is everything

USD: All eyes on Florida. Markets approach election day in a rather upbeat mood - risk assets started off the week on the right foot despite more pessimistic news on the global pandemic situation. In the next 24 hours, we will be able to see the first market reactions as projections and partial results start shaping expectations around the final winner, although there is a significant chance no winner will be announced by major media outlets before tomorrow or even later in the week. Still, tonight’s results from a few states that start counting early voting in advance may be enough to form some reasonable projections. Focus will be on Florida, North Carolina and Arizona, the first of which should already start, reporting results by 19:30 EST, and that’s when we may see the first significant market reaction. Should Biden manage to secure one of those three States (especially Florida or NC) then the chances for Trump would fall dramatically. In other words, while there is a high risk of a delay in the result, there is also a material chance that Biden may have virtually secured a win by 03:00 EST if results show he’s clearly ahead in those States. Looking at the FX implications, we expect any early sign that the election is leaning in favour of Biden to put pressure on the dollar.

CAD: Is a moderate out-performer on the day, rising with its commodity cousins in a reflection of the bid for risk assets while ignoring crude oil. Gains are marginal, however, and we expect caution to prevail ahead of today’s US voting—and the risk of some delay before we get a clean read of the election outcome. The key driver for the CAD in the short run will remain risk sentiment and the US election.

EUR: Not the biggest winner in a “blue wave” scenario. EUR/USD is set to be solely driven by the early US election results (i.e. by the impact on the USD), specially considering there is no relevant data point in the eurozone calendar today. We see EUR lagging the other majors in a “blue wave” scenario, but it could still rise to/above the 1.1800 area.

GBP: Eyes on the US before the BoE. Like the EUR, GBP should lag other G10 currencies in the case of a market-friendly outcome from the election due to its lower correlation with global risk appetite. Incidentally, GBP is the currency that could see more idiosyncratic drivers this week as the BoE meets on Thursday and it’s set to expand QE.

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