News for USD/TRY
Today, Turkey’s citizens and the financial world received astonishing news: Turkey’s central bank, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT), decided to lower interest rates amid an inflation rate just shy of 80% year-over-year. The CBRT cut rates by a full percentage point, down to 13% from the previous 14%. Most orthodox economists appear to be baffled by this act of stimulus as Turkey grapples with a years-long economic crisis that has burdened the country with stagflation and a rapidly depreciating lira. Thus, it is almost universally regarded as a complete monetary misstep, as reflected in USD/TRY currently soaring 0.62% intraday.
This dovish decision appears to be due to a concerted effort by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to influence the CBRT and deter them from their policymaking responsibilities. He has frequently tried to force their hand into preventing hawkishness, referring to interest rates as “the mother of all evil.” There are multiple factors contributing to this unique position of his, including esoteric views on the effects of interest rates (it is well documented that he believes interest rate hikes somehow cause inflation) and religious convictions. Given the ideological rationale behind these stances, as well as his increasingly authoritarian leadership, it is unlikely the CBRT will be able to pivot towards practical hawkishness anytime soon.
According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s helpful market scanner for those desiring supplemental analysis, USD/TRY remains the top-rated pair for bulls. Earning a score of 5, or a ‘buy’ signal, USD beats TRY in every listed category besides GDP growth and interest rate divergence. However, given Turkey’s rampant stagflation issues that have only been exacerbated by recent high energy costs, as well as ‘real’ interest rates in Turkey being estimated at -16%, USD/TRY appears to have buying potential for the foreseeable future.
This week the public received startling news: on Wednesday morning, month-over-month CPI (a proxy for inflation) in the United States had unexpectedly remained static, clocking in at 0% whereas a moderate 0.2% increase had been forecast. Core CPI (which excludes food and energy prices) likewise came in lower than anticipated at 0.3% month-over-month, while Thursday saw the Producer Price Index surprisingly decline 0.5% month-over-month. This prompted a mass selloff of USD across major pairs on Wednesday and Thursday, with the US Dollar Index (DXY) temporarily plummeting by 1.8% from the start of the week while stock indices soared. While demand for USD has recovered a bit since, with the DXY now down only 0.87% from Sunday, it is worth asking: has everything changed for major pairs?
Argument A: The Bearish Case for USD
A 0% month-over-month inflation rate may signal that the worst of price increases is finally over in the US. Annual inflation might have peaked, and consumers can breathe a sigh of relief now that three key events have occurred: 1) energy prices have dropped significantly due to a dip in demand, while US natural gas storage and oil barrel inventories also exceed expectations. 2) The Federal Reserve has embraced monetary policy hawkishness, and their rapid 50-75 bp rate hikes have worked, successfully restricting borrowing and thus curbing demand. 3) Despite a tight labor market, the US unemployment rate consistently hovers around 3.5%, granting a subtle degree of price stability.
Argument B: The Bullish Case for USD
Unfortunately, despite 0% month-over-month inflation being a welcome respite from high inflation, this one piece of data does not capture the full economic picture. Here are three reasons to expect high inflation to continue in the US: 1) though having fallen, energy prices could likely remain volatile and high because underlying global energy supply problems (e.g., mutual sanctions on Russian exports, OPEC’s unreliable output, energy dependence) have not been resolved. 2) Considering the scale of monetary stimulus over the course of the pandemic, and the double-digit federal funds rate that was historically implemented to stamp out high inflation, it would be shocking if these past few rate hikes were enough for the Fed to bring 40-year highs to an end. 3) The hot labor market may cause wages to further play catch-up, contributing to core inflation.
My Bias: Bullish (With a Grain of Salt)
Despite this particular cooling CPI report, I am retaining my bullish bias on USD, though admittedly with less confidence than before. The international and domestic economic conditions at work do not appear to have changed in a significant fashion as consumers still grapple with the consequences of an unprecedented money supply, labor shortages, and energy instability. However, if US inflation data continues to fall behind market expectations, I will certainly reassess this bias.
Best Pairs to Trade
According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s market scanner that helps traders conduct economic and sentiment analysis, here are two optimal pairs to trade for USD bulls: 1) GBP/USD, which has a score of -7, earning a ‘strong sell’ signal; and 2) USD/TRY, which has a score of 4, earning a ‘buy’ signal.
While there are many currency pairs worth buying and selling in the foreign exchange markets, often pairs worth watching fly under the radar of retail traders. The EdgeFinder, an A1 Trading tool for traders aiming to holistically bolster their analysis skills, is helpful for identifying such opportunities for trade setups. As we wait for tomorrow afternoon’s big FOMC news, today we will look at a unique pair: USD/TRY, the US Dollar Turkish Lira pair. It is the only one that the EdgeFinder currently evaluates as being strongly worth buying, and we will discuss why. We will employ fundamental, technical, and sentiment analysis as we assess this 1 pair worth buying.
In terms of fundamental analysis, data is disproportionately bullish. Although Turkey has experienced recent GDP growth while US GDP has contracted, the Turkish lira has suffered a near-collapse in value, with year-over-year inflation currently at an unbearable 73.5%. Although the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) currently has interest rates around 14%, this has not been enough to successfully mitigate economic suffering, as stagflation persists and unemployment hovers in the double digits. Tensions between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the CBRT regarding monetary policy have not helped. Thus, in this unusual and tragic case, substantially higher interest rates than the US is not a bearish signal for this pair.
Technical & Sentiment Analysis
In terms of technical analysis, the pair has been trending upwards for years. 2021 saw a staggering breakout to the upside, reaching a high over 18, then selling off to below 11 before price action found support and resumed trending upwards. Price action is currently testing these previous resistance zones again, with weighted moving averages functioning as support while a breakout to the upside seems likely. In terms of sentiment analysis, according to the latest COT data, over 75% of institutional traders are long on USD, while such information is not available for TRY. Meanwhile, only 25% of retail traders are long on this pair, another bullish signal. In light of the economic pessimism in Turkey due to the lira’s instability, sentiment for the pair seems strongly bullish.
Potential Trade Setups
The Edgefinder gives USD/TRY a score of 6, earning it the software’s only ‘strong buy’ signal. However, I hope everyone will nonetheless be careful trading this pair, as it has often been extraordinarily volatile. Using small positions and careful stop losses would be particularly wise here. In terms of possible points of entry, conservative traders could wait for tomorrow’s FOMC news as a potential bullish fundamental catalyst.
Even if the news unexpectedly means a surprisingly bearish turn for USD, you could still potentially use the new selling pressure to wait for a retest of the 16.5 zone as support. Given the unfortunate economic circumstances influencing TRY, even bearish news for USD would likely not have the same long-term implications for this pair as for others.