Forex And Cryptocurrencies Forecast For Feb. 26 - March 1

EUR/USD: ECB Rhetoric Against the Dollar

● Data on consumer inflation (CPI) in the US, published on February 13, exceeded expectations. The Producer Price Index (PPI) also indicated a rise in industrial inflation in the country. However, despite this, the American currency failed to gain additional support. The Dollar Index (DXY) began to decline from February 14, while EUR/USD steadily climbed higher.

● The minutes of the latest FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting of the US Federal Reserve were published on Wednesday, February 21, serving as a reminder that the American regulator might not be in a hurry to lower interest rates. However, market expectations still dominate that the Fed will begin to ease its monetary policy significantly earlier than the ECB. This factor exerts serious pressure on the dollar, especially as such expectations are constantly fuelled by statements from high-ranking European officials. ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel stated that monetary policy must remain restrictive until the regulator is confident that inflation has sustainably returned to the medium-term target level of 2.0%.

A similar stance was taken by Schnabel's ECB colleague, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel. On Friday, February 23, he stated that "it is still too early to cut rates, even if this step might seem tempting to some." According to Nagel, the price forecast is not clear enough yet, and key data on price pressure will only be received in Q2, which is when it might be appropriate to consider lowering interest rates.

The Bundesbank head believes that the period of rapid inflation decrease has ended, some setbacks are possible ahead, and in the coming months, inflation will remain noticeably above the target level of 2.0%. (According to the latest forecasts by MUFG Bank, CPI in the Eurozone is expected to be 2.7% in 2024).

● EUR/USD surged to 1.0887 on Thursday February 22 and then fell to 1.0802, due to uneven business activity (PMI) data across various Eurozone countries. Preliminary estimates showed that France's manufacturing PMI jumped from 43.1 to 46.8 points, exceeding the expected 43.5. The services index rose from 45.4 to 48.0, surpassing the anticipated 45.7. Significantly exceeding expectations, these indicators ignited investor risk appetite, encompassing not only stock indices but also purchases of the common European currency against the dollar.

However, the joy of euro bulls was short-lived, halted by the publication of Germany's PMI. The manufacturing index of this powerhouse of the European economy plummeted from 45.5 to 42.3, against a forecast of 46.1. The Eurozone's manufacturing PMI dropped from 46.6 to 46.1, contrary to the expected rise to 47.0. It's important to note that all these indicators are below the key horizon of 50.0, indicating an economic downturn. Only the services sector reached this significant threshold of 50.0. Overall, the Eurozone's composite PMI increased to 48.9, the highest since June 2023, but it still remains in the negative zone for the seventh consecutive month.

Regarding the situation on the other side of the Atlantic, these indicators suggest economic growth in the US. Preliminary data showed that the business activity indicator in the services sector was 51.3 points, and in the manufacturing sector, 51.5. On Thursday, the traditional number of initial unemployment claims in the United States was also published, decreasing from 213K to 201K over the week (forecast was 217K), indicating a strengthening labour market.

● EUR/USD closed the last week at 1.0820. According to some analysts, the recent macroeconomic data suggest that the dollar's weakening is a temporary phenomenon, and the DXY is expected to return to an upward trajectory. Only extraordinary events in the economy or politics could prevent this. As of the writing of this review, on the evening of Friday, February 23, 50% of experts voted for the strengthening of the dollar and the fall of the pair. 30% sided with the euro, while 20% took a neutral position. Among the oscillators on D1, only 10% are coloured red, 15% are in neutral grey, and 75% are green, with 20% of them in the overbought zone. The balance among trend indicators is different: 35% are red, and 65% are green. The nearest support for the pair is located in the 1.0800 zone, followed by 1.0725-1.0740, 1.0695, 1.0620, 1.0495-1.0515, 1.0450. Bulls will encounter resistance in the areas of 1.0840-1.0865, 1.0925, 1.0985-1.1015, 1.1050, 1.1110-1.1140, 1.1230-1.1275.

● Key events to highlight for the upcoming week include Tuesday, February 27, when updates on US durable goods orders will be released. Preliminary data on the American GDP volume for Q4 2023 will follow the next day. Data on retail sales and consumer prices (CPI) in Germany will be published on Thursday, along with the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index and labour market statistics in the US. Significant volatility can be expected towards the end of the working week. On the first day of spring, the annual inflation rate (CPI) in the Eurozone and the final figures of the Business Activity Index (PMI) in the United States will be disclosed.

 

GBP/USD: UK Economy Gains Momentum

● Alongside business activity data from the US and the Eurozone, preliminary indicators for the United Kingdom were also released on Thursday, February 22. The UK's manufacturing sector Business Activity Index (PMI), though slightly below the forecast of 47.5, showed a modest increase from 47.0 to 47.1 points. The services sector indicator remained steady at 54.3. However, the composite PMI reached 53.3, surpassing both the forecast and the previous value of 52.9. Values in the green zone above 50.0 clearly indicate an improvement in the outlook for the British economy. It seems that the technical recession experienced in the second half of 2023 has ended or is at least close to ending.

In a previous review, we cited economists from Scotiabank's forecast that, starting from a strong long-term support zone of 1.2500, GBP/USD would begin to rise towards 1.2700. This prediction came true on 22 February, following the publication of the British PMI, as the pair reached a peak of 1.2709, returning to the very centre of the medium-term sideways channel of 1.2600-1.2800.

● Favourable data on the UK economy and the recovery of global risk appetites should have a positive impact on the pound. In such a situation, strategists from the Japanese MUFG Bank write, "if the Fed and the ECB delay the timing of the first rate cut, then the Bank of England (BoE) will delay it as well." Recall that at the conclusion of the meeting that ended on February 1, the BoE announced it would keep the bank rate at its current level of 5.25%. The accompanying statement mentioned that "before lowering rates, more evidence is needed that the Consumer Price Index will fall to 2.0% and remain at this level." Market participants expect the first rate cut to occur in August. This expectation is already priced in and prevents GBP/USD from falling.

MUFG believes, "although the pound's correlation with global stocks has begun to weaken, it remains stronger than the dollar's correlation with risk. And if risk appetite persists, this could cause some strengthening of the pound." However, the bank's experts warn that some concerns about the growth of the British economy still remain, and this could restrain the growth of GBP.

● GBP/USD closed the past week at 1.2670. As for the median forecast of analysts for the coming days, 65% voted for the pair's decline, while 35% supported its growth. Among the oscillators on D1, only 10% point south, 15% look east, and the remaining 75% point north, of which 10% signal overbought conditions. Trend indicators show a significant bias towards the British currency: 90% point north, with the remaining 10% pointing south. Should the pair move southward, it will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2635-1.2650, 1.2570, 1.2500-1.2535, 1.2450, 1.2370, 1.2330. In case of an increase, resistance will be met at levels 1.2695-1.2710, 1.2755-1.2775, 1.2825, 1.2880, 1.2940, 1.3000, and 1.3140-1.3150.

● No significant macroeconomic data releases related to the UK economy are scheduled for the upcoming week.

 

USD/JPY: To the Moon and Beyond, Mars is Next

● The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds, currently around 4.30%, continues to support the dollar against the yen, with its low yield and negative interest rates. USD/JPY once again rose above 150.00 last week and attempted to storm the 151.00 mark. Again, it was unsuccessful: the local maximum was recorded at 150.76, with the week closing at 150.52.

● The caution of bulls on USD/JPY is largely due to the fact that the 150.00-152.00 zone was where the Ministry of Finance of Japan initiated currency interventions in October 2022 and November 2023. However, every trader knows that past results do not guarantee future performance. Thus, it is not certain that the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will follow the same path this time.

It should be noted that Japan's GDP has fallen for the last two quarters. A weak national currency supports exporters by making Japanese products more attractive and competitive in foreign markets, thereby stimulating the country's economy. This explains the reluctance of Japanese financial regulators to tighten monetary policy. According to Kazuo Ueda, the head of the BoJ, the question of maintaining or changing monetary policy, including the negative interest rate, will only be considered "when there is a chance of sustainable and stable achievement of the target price level."

● As mentioned, the likelihood of a reversal in USD/JPY southward from the 151.00-152.00 zone is high, yet it remains less than 100%. Currently, the pair's rate is approximately 14% higher than a year ago. As some experts note, the financial authorities in Japan start to get nervous when this figure approaches 20% year-on-year. For now, they can feel relatively relaxed and comfortable, especially since the country's economy has already adapted to such an exchange rate over the past two years. Therefore, it's not entirely out of the question that instead of falling to 140.00 as expected by Danske Bank, we might see the pair reach heights of 160.00, as was the case 34 years ago in April 1990.

● Regarding the near future, specialists at Singapore's United Overseas Bank believe that within one to three weeks, USD/JPY is likely to trade within the range of 148.70 to 150.90. However, UOB does not rule out that a breakthrough above 150.90 could trigger a rise to 152.00. At the time of writing this review, 40% of experts sided with the dollar, while the majority (60%) voted for the strengthening of the yen. Trend indicators and oscillators on D1 all point north, yet 10% of the latter are in the overbought zone. The nearest support level is located in the zone of 149.70-150.00, followed by 148.25-148.40, 147.65, 146.65-146.85, 144.90-145.30, 143.40-143.75, 142.20, 140.25-140.60. Resistance levels and zones are at 150.90, 151.70-152.05, and 153.15.

● No significant events related to the Japanese economy are scheduled for the upcoming week.

 

CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Five Reasons for the End of the Crypto Winter

Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for February 26 - March 01, 20241

● Throughout the past week, there was a lull in the battle between bitcoin bears and bulls. Choosing $51,500 as the Pivot Point, BTC/USD moved sideways in a narrow corridor of $50,500-$52,500. Bulls' attempt to break through resistance on 20 February ended in failure, and the pair returned to its defined boundaries. However, as experience shows, any calm is not everlasting. It is inevitably replaced by thunder rolls, stormy winds, and squally showers, especially true for the highly volatile crypto market. So, what can we expect if the weather changes?

● According to Lucas Outumuro, head of research at IntoTheBlock, there's an 85% likelihood that bitcoin will reach a new all-time high within the next six months, potentially surpassing $70,000. The analyst identified five factors that could catalyse this growth.

1. Halving in April: This will be the fourth halving event, reducing the block reward from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC, leading to decreased selling pressure. Outumuro does not rule out the possibility of bitcoin reaching an all-time high (ATH) just a month after the halving.

2. Continued inflow into spot Bitcoin ETFs: While the duration of strong inflows remains uncertain, a stable inflow over time is expected to bolster the price of bitcoin by increasing demand.

3. Federal Reserve's interest rate policy: The Fed's stringent stance on interest rates in 2022 laid the groundwork for a bearish trend in risk assets, including the crypto market. With inflation dropping from 10% to 3% by 2024, many anticipate a policy shift by the Fed and the beginning of a rate-cutting cycle. "This expectation is likely the main driving force behind the recent rallies in both bitcoin and stocks... This time, bitcoin's price movement has been more closely linked with traditional assets, leading to its correlation with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reaching two-month highs," explains Outumuro.

4. US Presidential Elections: Despite the current President Joe Biden's general opposition to digital assets, election campaigns positively impact the crypto market. "The prediction market Polymarket currently gives Biden just a 33% chance of re-election, making Donald Trump, who is significantly more crypto-friendly, the most likely victor," reports IntoTheBlock. The Fed may begin to ease its monetary policy more aggressively to increase the current US President's re-election chances, benefiting stock and cryptocurrency markets.

5. Hedge Funds: Outumuro points out that when bitcoin recovered after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, traditional financial giants first recognized cryptocurrency's potential. With the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs, hedge funds have the opportunity to accumulate a new asset class, leading to increased adoption and acceptance of digital assets.

However, IntoTheBlock acknowledges that these scenarios could change due to several factors. For instance, if the Fed does not ease policy, bitcoin could face a 10% correction. Geopolitical conflicts also negatively impact digital gold's price. Unexpected selling pressure in the event of major player bankruptcies is not ruled out.

As mentioned (in point 3), the correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 is increasing, suggesting BTC could rise alongside the US stock market. Following the S&P 500 surpassing 5,000 points, investment bank Goldman Sachs revised its end-of-year forecast for the index to 5,200, potentially providing additional support for bitcoin.

● Every trader knows that determining the optimal moment to sell an asset is just as important as the decision to buy it. Dennis Liu, also known as Virtual Bacon, shared his bitcoin investment methodology a few days ago, identifying three elements designed to signal that the market may have reached its peak.

1. Specific Price Milestones: The first sign to look out for is reaching certain price milestones: $200,000 for bitcoin and $15,000 for Ethereum. Liu's assumption is based on historical cycles and diminishing returns. This is a clear, quantifiable indicator that eliminates guesswork when deciding to exit a position.

2. Time-based Exit Strategy: The second benchmark Liu mentions is time-bound. Regardless of the asset's price dynamics, the trader plans to exit positions by the end of 2025. This decision is grounded in the importance of historical patterns and is based on the analysis of halving cycles and the duration of bull markets.

3. Monitoring Price Patterns: The last element of Liu's methodology involves closely monitoring price patterns, specifically BTC's behaviour relative to its 200-day and 21-week exponential moving averages (EMAs). A fall below these support levels would signal the need to sell bitcoin.

● It's clear that $200,000 for bitcoin is a forecast, and moreover, a forecast for the relatively distant future. As for the near future, as we've noted, many on-chain indicators from Glassnode have already entered what's termed the "risk zone." They record a relatively low level of realized profit considering the active price growth in the last four weeks. According to Glassnode specialists' observations, a high risk indicator is usually seen in the early stages of a bull market. This is because, upon reaching a "significant level" of profitability, hodlers may begin to take profits, potentially leading to a sharp correction downwards.

Analyst Gareth Soloway suggested that bitcoin could potentially fall to the $30,000 mark, especially if the stock market undergoes a correction. The expert referred to the new potential support for bitcoin as the "line in the sand." "My main line in the sand is between $30,000 to $32,000. [...]. If we drop there, I'll start buying quite large volumes of BTC," he wrote.

Investor and founder of MN Trading, Michael Van De Poppe, also advises investors to wait for a 20-40% correction before entering the market. The specialist believes that a bitcoin pullback could occur upon reaching the $53,000-$58,000 zone. "However," adds Van De Poppe, "if you're buying bitcoin with the intention to hold it for two to three years, and if you believe it will rise to $150,000 during that period, then nothing should stop you from purchasing it at these [current] prices."

● While the leading cryptocurrency has been in a flat trend over the last week (a 4% fluctuation for BTC is definitely considered flat), its main competitor, Ethereum, has been significantly more active. Recovering from the previous year, this altcoin has shown excellent dynamics since the end of January, growing by more than 35% and reaching a significant level of $3,000. This is related to both a revival in the DeFi sector and hopes for the launch of ETH-based ETFs in May this year. Although previous reviews have cited several leading experts' doubts about this, there are also many optimists. For instance, analysts at Bernstein believe that the likelihood of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving an ETH-ETF in May is almost 50%, and there is almost a 100% certainty of approval within the next 12 months.

"Ethereum, with its dynamic yield rates, environmentally friendly design, and utility in creating new financial markets, has good prospects for mass institutional adoption. It's probably the only digital asset alternative to bitcoin that could receive unequivocal ETF approval from the SEC," Bernstein analysts argue. They believe that officials might be influenced by the fact that participants in the traditional stock market not only want to launch spot ETH ETFs similar to bitcoin ETFs but also express the intention "to build more transparent and open tokenized financial markets on the ETH network, where utility goes beyond simple asset accumulation." According to Standard Chartered bank estimates, with the anticipation of ETH-ETF approval, the coin's price could rise to $4,000 in the near future.

● As of the evening of February 23 when this review is written, BTC/USD is trading in the $51,000 zone, and ETH/USD is at $2,935. The total market capitalization of the crypto market has remained unchanged over the week, standing at $1.95 trillion. The Crypto Fear & Greed Index has risen to the lower boundary of the Extreme Greed zone at 76 points (up from 72 a week ago).


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