US Iran Tensions Shake Currency Market

The EUR/USD pair is moderately declining, developing a “bearish” momentum formed yesterday. Tuesday’s EU macroeconomic statistics slightly supported the instrument; however, the market remains unstable amid the intensification of the crisis in US-Iranian relations after the death of a high-ranking Iranian military commander as a result of a US Air Force military operation. In November, EU Retail Sales accelerated growth from +1.7% YoY to +2.2% YoY, which was significantly better than market expectations of +1.3% YoY. Also, the index grew by 1.0% MoM after a decline by 0.3% MoM last month. Consumer inflation data were more restrained. In December, CPI accelerated from +1.0% YoY to +1.3% YoY, which coincided with analysts’ forecasts.


Today, during the Asian session, the GBP/USD pair develops flat trading dynamics in the short term. There was a lack of UK key macroeconomic statistics on Tuesday, so the news from the United States prevailed. Also, the market continues to closely monitor the development of the conflict in the Middle East, fearing the onset of full-fledged military clashes between the US and Iran. Yesterday, it became known that Iran launched missile strikes on two US facilities in Iraq, attacking the Ain al-Assad airbase and Erbil airfield. USD position was supported by data on business activity. In December, according to ISM, the Service PMI grew from 53.9 to 55.0 points, ahead of forecasts by 54.5 points. Today, investors are focused on the UK Halifax House Price Index release for December and the US ADP Nonfarm Employment Change publication for the same period.


The AUD/USD pair is growing uncertainly, being corrected after yesterday’s record decline. Now, the instrument has added about 0.08%, testing the level of 0.6871 for a breakout. The price is moderately supported by the data from Australia. Thus, Building Approvals for November rose by 11.8% MoM after a decrease of 7.9% MoM last month. Analysts expected a more modest increase in the rate of +2.0% MoM. In annual terms, the index slowed down the decline from –22.9% YoY to –3.8% YoY.


During the Asian session, the USD/JPY pair is falling, correcting after growth at the beginning of the week. Now, the instrument is trading at 108.33, while at the opening it fell sharply to 107.64 (a local low since October 10, 2019), which was caused by conflicting reports from the Middle East. After the US missile attack in Iraq, where a high-ranking Iranian general died, the relations between the countries deteriorated sharply, and the market even started talking about the possibility of a large-scale war. Yesterday, there was information that Iran launched two missile attacks on US military facilities in Iraq. Published Japanese macroeconomic statistics affected JPY ambiguously. Thus, Average Cash Earnings for November fell by 0.2% YoY after zero dynamics last month. Analysts expected a significant increase of +0.6% YoY. At the same time, the consumer confidence index in December unexpectedly increased from 38.7 to 39.1 points against the forecast of 38.0 points.


Gold prices are again actively rising, renewing record highs. At the opening of the trading session on Wednesday, the instrument managed to reach the level of 1611.06, above which gold was previously traded in March 2013 but later the rate was noticeably corrected. The reason for such a powerful growth is the US-Iranian conflict in the Middle East, which could develop into a full-fledged war. A meeting of the UN Security Council is due to take place in New York on Thursday, at which, as expected, ways to resolve the situation will be discussed. However, previously, the media reported that the United States refused a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif, which could only increase tension between the countries.

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