The level of anxiety and confusion has ratcheted higher at the dealing desk over the past 24 hours as traders are busy dissecting the current administration's intentions. While all roads are pointing to a definitive shift in US FX policy, it’s just too early to pass that judgment, let alone give into verbal intervention due to the short-term hysteria it usually causes. But as we try to understand the complexities of local EM FX markets in these trying times, the level of uncertainty increases tenfold.
If headline driven uncertainty wasn't enough, traders will be seeking clarity from the FOMC on monetary policy which will be released later in the New York session. But given the recent disruptions in financial markets, not to mention the run of tepid US economic data, I struggle to envision any significant hawkish shift. Even if they did, I’m not sure it would be the elixir to cure the USD of its recent executive order driven funk.
While the USD continues to trade defensively in risk off fashion, we need to be vigilant of the contagion effect locally, which could negatively affect regional bourses. While SGD KRW and TWD have benefited from the recent USD capitulation, we may only be viewing the tip of the iceberg on this recent risk capitulation so caution should continue to be the rule of the day.
It’s clear that Investors in regional currencies have flattened their base-case reflationary views, and whether the FOMC or Friday's NFP can move the USD needle is debatable at this juncture. However, in the EM APAC space, we need to remain vigilant for sudden whipsaws in USD sentiment as it’s only one executive order or headline away from occurring.
China official January non-manufacturing PMI came and went with little fanfare -- t 54.6 versus 54.5 previous.