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Middle East tensions set to see lower European open


US markets finished the week higher after the latest September jobs report showed the US economy added a staggering 336k jobs in September, while August was revised up to 227k, pushing long-term yields sharply higher, and the US-10 year and 30-year yield hitting fresh 16-year highs.

Having spent most of the last few weeks fretting about the prospect of another rate hike and higher rates for longer the thinking now appears to be that a resilient economy and jobs market could mean that companies will be able to deliver better revenues and earnings growth, even with yields at current levels.

While that logic comes across as sound on the face of it that rather precludes the idea that rates can’t go higher from here. Before the horrific events in Israel at the weekend, the market was pricing in the probable prospect that we may get another 25bps rate hike in November, however what happens if the decline in oil prices that we saw at the end of last week takes another sustained leg higher, if those events morph into a wider crisis across the Middle East?

Consumers may well be resilient now and able to absorb a few more months of rising prices, but the recent pay settlements agreed in recent weeks have yet to feed through into the wage numbers which might mean the US central bank has to raise rates by more than is currently priced.

In a sign that the US consumer is already reaching its limits when it comes to spending on credit cards, US consumer credit for August declined by -$15.6bn, the most in 3 years, against an expectation of an increase of $11.7bn. Some of that decline may be down to the resumption student loan repayments, while auto-loan payments also fell.

That said the events over the weekend and the Hamas atrocities in Israel, and the latter’s reaction to them and subsequent declaration of war, have prompted a move into the US dollar, gold as well as a modest bid into bonds, as concerns over escalation risks move to front of mind.

With the US Columbus Day holiday likely to keep US trading activity subdued, we expect to see European markets open sharply lower this morning, while oil prices have rebounded from the lows of last week.  

For now, the market reaction has been fairly contained as we look towards this week’s release of the latest Fed minutes, as well as the September CPI report, but attention will never be far from events in Israel given the risk we could escalate further if Iran gets drawn into the fray, which is entirely possible if Israel decides that it bears responsibility for the attack.

EUR/USD – continues to pull away from the lows of last week, with support at the 1.0400 level which is 50% pullback of the 0.9535/1.1275 up move, followed by 1.0200. To stabilise we need to move through 1.0620 for a retest of the 1 0740 area.  

GBP/USD – the rebound off the lows last week at the 1.2030/40 area, needs to overcome the 1.2300 area to signal a move back to the 1.2430 area and 200-day SMA. A move below 1.2000 targets the 1.1835 area which equates to a 50% retracement of the move from the record lows at 1.0330 to the recent peaks at 1.3145.    

EUR/GBP – still range trading with resistance at the 0.8700 area and resistance at the 200-day SMA at 0.8720, which is capping the upside. A break of 0.8720 targets the 0.8800 area, however while below the bias remains for a move back to the 0.8620 area.

USD/JPY – has managed to hold above the spike lows of last week. With no official confirmation that intervention took place, any further moves back to the 150.16 highs could be choppy. Below 147.30 signals the top is in and a possible move towards 145.00.


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