Written by Lukman Otunuga, Research Analyst at FXTM
Indonesia’s Rupiah strengthened against the Dollar on Thursday with prices trading towards 13350 after Janet Yellen adopted a dovish stance in testimony before Congress. With investors re-evaluating the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising US rates this year amid the caution, emerging markets may receive a slight boost and such may benefit the JCI. The improving sentiment towards the Indonesian economy as a whole could encourage Rupiah bulls to exploit this period of Dollar weakness to send the USDIDR below the psychological 13300 level.
Markets brace for second round of Yellen’s testimony
Equity bulls received a shot in the arm while the Dollar was under pressure after Janet Yellen caught markets unaware by striking a dovish tone in her congressional testimony on Wednesday. Although Yellen reiterated the Federal Reserve’s game plan to continue gradually tightening monetary policy, the lack of commitment to a hiking timeline and tone of caution, prompted investors to offload the Greenback. A key take away from the first round of the testimony was concerns raised over softening inflation, which may encourage market participants to re-evaluate the pace of monetary tightening this year.
With no fresh clues offered on the timings and magnitude of the balance sheet reduction on Wednesday, markets will closely scrutinize Yellen’s second appearance today for clarity. If doves make an appearance once again and nothing new is brought to the table, the Dollar is likely to find itself under renewed selling pressure, as traders reduce their bets on an additional interest rate hike this year.
Sterling rescued by a BoE hawk
Sterling bulls were offered a helping hand during Thursday’s trading session, as hawkish comments from BoE policy maker Ian McCafferty supported bets for higher UK interest rates. McCafferty was one of the hawks who voted for an interest rate increase last month and suggested that the central bank should consider unwinding its £435billion Quantitative Easing programme earlier than planned. Although the weak Dollar played a part in the GBPUSD’s impressive appreciation on Thursday, price action suggests that Sterling is becoming increasingly sensitive to monetary policy expectations.
While speculations of the Bank of England tightening monetary policy may support prices in the short term, the fundamentals pressuring Sterling still remain intact. With Brexit uncertainty deteriorating economic fundamentals and political risk all weighing heavily on the British Pound, further downside may be on the cards. From a technical standpoint, the GBPUSD remains in a wide range on the daily charts. Bears still have some level of control below the tough 1.3000 resistance.
Commodity spotlight – Gold
Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen adopted a dovish stance in testimony before Congress. A vulnerable Dollar complimented the metals upside with prices hovering around $1220 at the time of writing. With Yellen’s tone of caution prompting investors to trim their bets on another US rate increase this year, Gold, which is zero-yielding, was offered a lifeline. Although the metal remains heavily pressured on the daily charts, bulls could be given an opportunity to shine if Yellen doubles down on Wednesday’s dovish remarks when she appears before Congress this afternoon. From a technical standpoint, repeated weakness below the $1240 resistance is likely to encourage a further decline back towards $1200.