EUR/USD turns quiet with US NFP and French elections in focus

July 4, 2024 9:34 am

  • EUR/USD trades in a tight range as investors shift focus to the US NFP and French elections outcome.
  • Investors remain uncertain about when the ECB will cut interest rates further.
  • US labor market conditions appear to have started releasing heat.

EUR/USD consolidates in a tight range slightly below the round-level resistance of 1.0800 in Thursday’s European session. The major currency pair shifts to the sidelines amid uncertainty ahead of United States (US) Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) data for June, which will be published on Friday, and the second round of French legislative elections on Sunday. Also, the trading volume appears to be light due to a holiday in the US markets on account of Independence Day.

The US Dollar Index (DXY), which tracks the Greenback’s value against six major currencies, looks fragile near 105.30 ahead of the US NFP data. Cooling strength in the US labor market conditions has weighed heavily on the US Dollar (USD). 

On Wednesday, US ADP Employment data showed that labor demand in the private sector unexpectedly cooled in June. Private employers hired 150K job-seekers, while economists estimated that the number of fresh payrolls would be higher at 160K from the prior release of 157K, upwardly revised from 152K.

Signs of easing labor market conditions were also exhibited by Initial Jobless Claims data for the week ending June 28. The number of individuals applying for jobless claims for the first time came in higher at 238K than estimates of 235K and the former release of 233K.

Also, the economic health of the US economy appears to be deteriorating as the ISM Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of service sector activity, contracted to 48.8 from expectations of 52.5 and the prior release of 53.8. A figure below the 50.0 threshold is itself considered as contraction in service activities. Other sub-components such as Prices Paid and New Orders Index were weaker than their former readings.

Daily digest market movers: EUR/USD consolidates while the US Dollar remains on the backfoot

  • EUR/USD hovers below 1.0800 as investors stay on the sidelines ahead of the second round of legislative elections in the Eurozone’s second-largest economy. After suffering a defeat by the Marine Le Pen-led-far right National Rally party, a coalition by the Central Alliance led by French President Emmanuel Macron and the left wing moved to a tactical withdrawal of at least 200 candidates from Sunday’s parliamentary elections in an attempt to thwart the far right from gaining an absolute majority.
  • An attempt to block the far right from winning a majority in the legislative elections has limited the downside in the Euro. Investors worry that the formation of a new government would favor expansionary fiscal policies, which will widen the already vulnerable financial crisis in France.
  • On the monetary policy front, International Monetary Fund (IMF) European Department Director Alfred Kammer said on Wednesday that the latest Eurozone inflation figures confirm that disinflation remains on track to the European Central Bank (ECB) target of 2% and the bank has more room to cut interest rates further. However, investors are more interested in knowing whether the ECB will extend the rate-cutting cycle in its next meeting, scheduled for July 18.
  • Preliminary Eurozone inflation report for June showed that annual headline Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) softened expectedly to 2.5%. While the core HICP that excludes volatile items grew steadily by 2.9%.

Technical Analysis: EUR/USD hovers near 1.0800

EUR/USD trades inside Wednesday’s trading range near 1.0800. The major currency pair has climbed above the 20-day and 50-day Exponential Moving Averages (EMAs), which trade around 1.0750 and 1.0770, respectively, suggesting a steady near-term outlook. The long-term appeal of the shared currency pair has also improved as it has jumped above the 200-day EMA, which trades around 1.0800.

The Symmetrical Triangle formation on the daily timeframe exhibits a sharp volatility contraction, which indicates low volume and narrow ticks.

Also, the 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) oscillates in the 40.00-60.00 range, suggesting indecisiveness among market participants.

Euro FAQs

The Euro is the currency for the 20 European Union countries that belong to the Eurozone. It is the second most heavily traded currency in the world behind the US Dollar. In 2022, it accounted for 31% of all foreign exchange transactions, with an average daily turnover of over $2.2 trillion a day. EUR/USD is the most heavily traded currency pair in the world, accounting for an estimated 30% off all transactions, followed by EUR/JPY (4%), EUR/GBP (3%) and EUR/AUD (2%).

The European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, is the reserve bank for the Eurozone. The ECB sets interest rates and manages monetary policy. The ECB’s primary mandate is to maintain price stability, which means either controlling inflation or stimulating growth. Its primary tool is the raising or lowering of interest rates. Relatively high interest rates – or the expectation of higher rates – will usually benefit the Euro and vice versa. The ECB Governing Council makes monetary policy decisions at meetings held eight times a year. Decisions are made by heads of the Eurozone national banks and six permanent members, including the President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde.

Eurozone inflation data, measured by the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), is an important econometric for the Euro. If inflation rises more than expected, especially if above the ECB’s 2% target, it obliges the ECB to raise interest rates to bring it back under control. Relatively high interest rates compared to its counterparts will usually benefit the Euro, as it makes the region more attractive as a place for global investors to park their money.

Data releases gauge the health of the economy and can impact on the Euro. Indicators such as GDP, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, employment, and consumer sentiment surveys can all influence the direction of the single currency. A strong economy is good for the Euro. Not only does it attract more foreign investment but it may encourage the ECB to put up interest rates, which will directly strengthen the Euro. Otherwise, if economic data is weak, the Euro is likely to fall. Economic data for the four largest economies in the euro area (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) are especially significant, as they account for 75% of the Eurozone’s economy.

Another significant data release for the Euro is the Trade Balance. This indicator measures the difference between what a country earns from its exports and what it spends on imports over a given period. If a country produces highly sought after exports then its currency will gain in value purely from the extra demand created from foreign buyers seeking to purchase these goods. Therefore, a positive net Trade Balance strengthens a currency and vice versa for a negative balance.

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