Greece agrees further austerity measures
By Michael Hewson (Senior Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK)
Yesterday proved to be a day to forget for Europe?s markets as they slumped on a multitude of concerns, however last night?s successful Greek austerity vote should help calm some frayed investor nerves in the short term at least.
Fears that Greece would fail to pass the latest round of austerity measures last night proved to be wide of the mark, but it was a close run thing as the Greek government got the 151 votes needed to pass the resolution into law, with 153 policymakers voting in favour. The vote came at a political cost, with the vote taking place against a backdrop of tear gas and unrest in the capital and prompted 18 policymakers to abstain from voting. These members were expelled from their respective parties.
This moves the drama on to Sunday?s parliamentary vote on the 2013 budget, which if passed should unlock the next tranche of EU aid.
The anxious tone was not helped by downgrades to the growth outlook for Germany and the broader euro area by the EU as well as comments from ECB President Draghi that the crisis in Europe was now adversely affecting Germany. Markets will be taking particular note of what Mr Draghi has to say in his traditional QA session after today?s ECB rate decision on whether he wishes to elaborate on some of his comments yesterday. No changes are expected to monetary policy which means that once again the press conference will be the focal point for changes of tone and nuances with respect to future policy steps.
Fears about the US fiscal cliff, a $600bn program of spending cuts and tax rises which is due to kick in at the beginning of January also weighed on markets yesterday, with concerns that a lack of agreement here could push the US back into recession.
Markets appear concerned that a similar impasse to the one experienced last year with respect to the debt ceiling could paralyse US economic policy as it almost did when the US got downgraded by S&P in 2011.
In this instance it does seem that House leader John Boehner appears more disposed to compromise than he was last year, after comments he made yesterday suggested he might be persuaded to look at higher taxes under the right conditions. His comments chimed with Mitt Romney?s concession speech where he indicated that politicians should put partisan concerns to one side and work for the good of the US. Time will tell whether this talk was simple rhetoric, but the hope is that politicians will be more inclined to be flexible given they don?t have to worry about being re-elected for quite some time yet.
Also on the calendar we have the latest Bank of England rate setting meeting, where expectations have shifted recently as to whether policymakers will act to add further stimulus to the £375bn already pumped into the UK economy.
The recent Q3 GDP number had raised hopes that the Bank might hold back, however recent poor economic data has shifted the onus back to the possibility of the MPC adding another £50bn in order to keep the Q4 numbers out of the red. Given recent comments from governor Mervyn King and deputy governor Charlie Bean, we know that there is a slow acceptance within the corridors of the Bank that QE is not having the effect the committee had hoped. This may well stay the committee?s hand for this month, but it could be a close run thing, while the committee may also assess the launch of the new FLS (Funding for Lending) program to see how well that scheme is working.
EURUSD ? yesterday?s failure to secure a rebound above the 200 day MA keeps the onus on the downside. It has currently found an element of support at 1.2740 which is 38.2% retracement of the 1.2045/1.3170 up move. The 1.2650 level remains the ultimate target and the 100 day MA.
A rebound needs to overcome the 1.2900 level to stabilise and target last week?s high at 1.3000.
GBPUSD ? the price action yesterday saw the pound fail just above 1.6040 while continuing to find support just above 1.5950.
We remain on course for a test towards 1.5910 and 38.2% retracement of the 1.5270/1.6310 up move. Below that we also have the 200 day MA at 1.5845, a break of which could well target further rapid declines.
The pound needs to get above 1.6080 to open up a move back towards last week?s high at 1.6180.
EURGBP ? without a break of resistance at 0.8030 the trend remains for a lower euro, given the invalidation of trend line support at 0.7990 from the 0.7755 lows.
The 0.7955 level which is 50% retracement of the up move from 0.7755 lows to the 0.8165 highs is now the next key support, followed by 0.7920.
A recovery above 0.8030 is needed to retarget last weeks high at 0.8075.
USDJPY ? the 79.75 level has held so far and while it does so the potential for a move back towards the highs of this week on the way to the cloud peak at 81.80 remains.
Only below 79.75 undermines the bullish scenario and retargets 79.20.
Equity market calls
FTSE100 is expected to open 24 points higher at 5,816
DAX is expected to open 38 points higher at 7,271
CAC40 is expected to open 21 points higher at 3,431