This is a Guest Post by Tom Cleveland from ForexCharts.net
Financial Markets are Tense, But the Fate of the Euro Hangs in the Balance
Financial markets are presently in a “stuck place”. Nearly every index from stocks to commodities and even to currencies has been hovering in a tight trading range for the past several weeks. Traders have been frustrated, as volatility has also remained low. There is opportunity in chaos, but not when prices are jerked back and forth in “whip-saw” like movements. Treading in these waters often results in being sliced to ribbons in a heartbeat.
Ranging markets, however, eventually morph into meaningful trends. The timing is the only issue to resolve, and, in circumstances like these, the best approach tends to be to take a longer-term outlook and try to draw insights from this broader perspective. This type of analysis combines basic fundamentals with technical data to form a basis for projecting near-term prospects. The “EUR USD” currency pair has become the current focal point for the trading community. Its fate will dictate the direction for stocks, instead of the other way around, but it presently floats at levels that seem to defy gravity.
The following diagram of the Euro versus the Greenback paints the recent “picture” for our analysis:
The hourly pricing behavior of the “EUR/USD” is presented for the past ten months, together with several indicators and other technical information. The “Ichimoku Kinko Hyo” indicator system is often helpful at longer timeframes where “noise” levels are lower and pricing patterns are more predictable. The “Kumo Cloud”, represented by the Aqua/Blue shaded regions on the chart, is the most distinctive aspect of this system.
Here are a few technical insights from the above diagram:
- The Euro has been trending downward for months within a defined channel, depicted by the parallel red lines;
- The Euro, to the consternation of all, has rebounded from the lower trend channel line on two occasions during this period. The explanation for this source of strength has been threefold. Foreign exchange reserve managers around the world have shifted their portfolio allocation back to Euros after the crisis was reduced. Central banks have also stepped in to ensure adequate liquidity in the region. Lastly, banks and corporations have repatriated foreign earnings to prepare for the oncoming recession in the region;
- A pronounced “Head-and-Shoulders” pattern has recently formed, but the “neckline” has been tested on several occasions to no avail. Traders would expect an abrupt fall down to the $1.24 level based on this pattern alone;
- The “Ichimoku” indicator speaks to two issues. The “Kumo Cloud” has mirrored the upper trend channel line, and the Euro has had difficulty each time it has attempted to penetrate the cloud. Secondly, all moving averages and current prices have converged within the cloud, uncertain as to their next move.
Basic software trading platforms provided by currency brokers can be used to create this same analytical picture. From a fundamental perspective, Europe is headed for another business downturn. Bond yields for weaker member states are rising. Iran is adding uncertainty to the oil market. China is ratcheting back its growth in response to less demand from the West. Lastly, the U.S. recovery appears to be losing steam and bringing back memories of last year’s failed recovery rally, but the possibility of a “QE3” program from the Fed has bolstered the strength of all currencies versus the Dollar.
All signs point south for the Euro. Currency experts have forecasted its fall for months, some down as far as parity. Its gravity-defying act will have to conclude at some point. The question is not “if?” but “when?” Only time will tell.